By on September 30, 2016

BMW i3 and i8

A day before the Paris Auto show opens to the public, Amnesty International has accused manufacturers of clean, green electric cars of having dirty hands.

The human rights organization threw a wet blanket over the large crop of EVs exhibited in Paris, issuing a release targeting certain automakers for indirectly employing child labor in the construction of its vehicles.

Using data drawn from its own report on the issue, Amnensty International claims that many lithium-ion battery pack suppliers use children as young as seven to mine cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Cobalt is a key component of the batteries, and 20 percent of it is mined by hand, the organization claims. Fatal accidents and lung disease are common in the crude mines, where laborers are paid as little as one dollar a day. Between September 2014 and December 2015, 80 miners died in underground mines in southern DRC, the organization claims.

Companies drawing cobalt from the DRC include Korean manufacturer LG Chem, which supplies batteries for the Chevrolet Volt, Renault Twizy and ZOE, and upgrades to the Tesla Roadster. Another Korean supplier, Samsung SDI, uses DRC-sourced cobalt in batteries bound for the BMW i3 and i8, as well as the Fiat 500e.

According to the organization, “investor documents to show how cobalt mined in the DRC is bought by a Chinese company, Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt (Huayou Cobalt), which supplies battery component manufacturers in China and South Korea. In turn, these component manufacturers sell to battery makers including LG Chem and Samsung SDI, that supply many of the world’s largest car companies.”

In its January report, Amnesty International claimed that other manufacturers, including Volkswagen, Daimler and Chinese brand BYD, might source batteries containing DRC cobalt.

Amnesty International recently challenged the car companies, demanding to know what they planned to do about the troubling connection to child labor. The organization gave BMW and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles good marks for their response, but others fell short.

“General Motors (GM) and Tesla did not reply to a request from Amnesty International to provide evidence of how they identify and address  human rights abuses in their cobalt supply chains, particularly in relation to child labour,” the organization claims. “Renault said it would respond to Amnesty ‘at the earliest possible time,’ but provided no other information.”

Despite their detailed responses, BMW and Fiat-Chrysler “failed to provide sufficient proof that they were meeting international standards applicable to mineral supply chains,” the organization added.

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidelines states that companies using cobalt mined in high-risk areas should identify their smelters or refiners and disclose any human rights infractions.

[Image: BMW]

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97 Comments on “Electric Vehicles: Loved by Environmentalists, but What about the Child Labor?...”


  • avatar
    Corollaman

    And here I thought we finally had a reason why BMW’s have such bad quality and reliability issues!

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Is it a human rights infraction if the country doing the mining doesn’t have said human rights? I seriously doubt there are child labor laws in DRC.

    This is a serious question, by the way. I realize ethically it’s wrong for those children to be miners, but it might be perfectly legal.

  • avatar
    FAHRVERGNUGEN

    It should be illegal to have a democratic republic. it’s certainly confusing.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Republic – People Represent others in a voting system for laws.
      Democratic – People choose their leaders or directly institute laws.

      Democratic Republic – People choose other people to lead the country and institute laws. It’s really not that confusing. :P

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      I can see it being confusing if one is used to those words used only in the context of political parties.

      Sort of like trying to use: “popularity, Trump, Clinton, and President” in the same sentence and still sound sane.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Oh, well, time to scrap my Chevy Volt.

    And my cell phone, cordless drill, etc. etc. and countless other devices that either use NiCds ot LiIon, and probably craploads of other devices.

    And what of all the Chevy Cobalts on the road?

    I guess that “green weenies” may start the ball rolling on changing this, as opposed to the contractor that just LOVES his new 20 Volt drills…

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    DRC Cobalt is a problem but these kinds of news stories are like migratory birds and wind turbines. It’s an issue, it should be addressed but it becomes ammo for the opposition as if it’s of equal consequence or value. This just becomes another false dichotomy issue…

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      This is why your side makes such horrible choices. All you care about is winning. You don’t care at all if what you’re doing is bad for everyone and everything.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Wee Todd – I get the impression that you don’t understand what Xeranar said or is it a case of “it becomes ammo for the opposition as if it’s of equal consequence or value. This just becomes another false dichotomy issue”.

        You believe that if someone from the “left” makes a comment it cannot be valid if you happen to exist on the other side of the isle.

        No wonder why Trump and Clinton are the only choices you got!

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          Do you remember when a false study was used by environmentalists to establish that thinner birds’ eggs’ shells were more important than millions of human lives lost to malaria? I do. Was that a real dichotomy; killing millions v. (falsified)thinner bird eggshells? Is killing lots of endangered raptors not reason to use cheap energy, but picking delta smelts over our food supply is a legitimate dichotomy? I guess being brainwashed lets you live with yourself.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Toddie,
            The study you cite does not exist. At no point was there a study that weighed the importance of eagles vs. humans. At no point did environmentalists halt production of DDT.

            You don’t know the facts, so you make stuff up that suits your purpose. Just because your idol does it, doesn’t mean it will work for you here.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            True, VoGo. Unlike what TA is saying, American companies still manufacture DDT for use in other countries. And those countries still had enormous death rates from mosquito borne illness. And the decline of eagles was tightly linked to the reproductive harm caused by DDT. And a link between human harm was linked to DDT. And some pests became tolerant of it such as houseflies and bed bugs. Simply put there were better choices to be made for fighting the problems “solved” by DDT.

            Funny, with Zika such a threat, Congress found it better to spite Obama and go on vacation this summer instead of voting on a Zika bill. Talk about screwed up priorities. Politics over people for all to see.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Wee Todd – citations required!

            I’d prefer something NOT from the Rush Limbaugh Library Wing of the trailer park.

            Trailer parks and right wing……

            hhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

            That does explain why tornadoes seem to be drawn to them ;)

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            You’re a paramedic, aren’t you Lou? I lived with a paramedic, who insisted that I learn all about her altruistic choice of profession and the sacrifices she made, which contributed to her death last year. I’d given up on her over a decade ago. To have heard her tell it, there are no old paramedics. When she died, there were lots of posts on her facebook page about how she faced challenges, she could hopefully find peace, she was complicated…etc, euphamism, blah, blah, blah. Are you one of those paramedics that looks down on firemen? That complains about how much they’re paid by the public for serving as a taxi service to diabetic leeches? That can bore a DMV staffer talking about their stress injuries?

            Another woman I knew died a few weeks ago. I’d heard many stories of her life being far more sordid than the paramedic’s, but all anyone said upon her death was what a generous soul she was, how loving she was, how she’d be missed, ad infinitum. It’s funny how awful you have to be viewed to have people not shower you with praise upon your premature death, but the paramedic’s paramedic I knew achieved it. I don’t know if you’re as highly thought of by everyone that knows you as you are by me, but you probably ought to try to be the first old paramedic.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Does Joel Bitman of the Department of Agriculture mean anything to you meat puppets? He fed Japanese quail low calcium diets accompanied by DDT and then blamed DDT for reduced calcium levels in their eggs. His results were published in Nature magazine in October of 1969. When his falsified methods were revealed, he reluctantly repeated his research with a normal diet for the quail. The result was no reduction in eggshell calcium for birds exposed to DDT, but Nature refused to print the new results. It worked on people with complete truth filters like yourselves.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @wee Todd ????????

            “Are you one of those paramedics that looks down on firemen? That complains about how much they’re paid by the public for serving as a taxi service to diabetic leeches? That can bore a DMV staffer talking about their stress injuries? ”

            Answer:
            I was getting to that point but realized that all of the right wing blather that I had in my head was turning me into a cold uncaring burnout.

            I realized that by embracing caring and compassion as Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you” made all of that baggage disappear.

            I’ve seen first hand how cruel and unfair life is. We will be judged by how we chose to face that reality. I chose passion and compassion.

            People do not remember how technically sound you are but they do remember a kind soul when going through hell.

            It is too bad for that woman you had known.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Wee Tood -about your quail egg DDT story. You said that the left only cared about winning BUT you chose DDT to prove that the ENTIRE environmental movement is wrong.

            “From 1970 to 2014, aggregate national emissions of the six common pollutants alone dropped an average of 69 percent while gross domestic product grew by 238 percent. This progress reflects efforts by state, local and tribal governments; EPA; private sector companies; environmental groups and others.”

            “Whereas the developments in oil production have been widely reported and appreciated, far less attention has been paid to US petroleum consumption’s remarkable decline relative to both recent levels and past projections — one of the biggest surprises to have occurred in global oil markets in recent years. Petroleum consumption in the US was lower in 2014 than it was in 1997, despite the fact that the economy grew almost 50% over this period.”

            I’m not seeing a down side here.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Lou, FWIW… I’ve had two meatwagon rides and I hold nobody, but nobody, in higher esteem than EMTs. Not even firefighters.

            Today’s Theological Thought:

            How many angels could dance on the head of a Todd?

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Kenmore – thanks.

            Poor “Wee Todd” has a lot of anger in him. Whom ever sits in White House isn’t going to fix that unfortunate issue.

            His attempt at pizzing me off shows that in abundance.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Good point, Xeraner. The vast majority of large multinational companies are working to ensure the sustainability of their supply chains. Groups like Amnesty International do great work in raising these issues so they can be responsibly addressed.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Exactly! This is probably my most middle-of-the-road even-handed statement I can make on it and little toddy couldn’t handle it. I know he seeks out my comments to try and lambaste them but he really should pick his battles more carefully.

        I fully support stopping all trade of rare earth metals from the DRC and even to some extent from China. Making these batteries more expensive does suck for everybody but we should be better people. The problem this is the kind of thing that makes some people say ‘well that’s why I roll coal, for the people!’ and we know that doesn’t hold up even under the most mild scrutiny.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    If environmentalists cared about people, they wouldn’t be environmentalists. Nothing to see here.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Thanks for reminding us that all environmentalists are actually murderous sociopaths, ToddAtlas. Don’t change for anyone!

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      When Trump gets elected, he’ll fix that very issue.

      Children will be mining cobalt in the good ol’ USA.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        shaker – gotta put all of those illegals to work once that wall gets built.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “Children will be mining cobalt in the good ol’ USA.”

        But think of the Country songs that will engender. Too bad cobalt is two syllables.

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          We are CO-BALT-KIDS… 10 million strong… and grow-ing.

          Probably not a mineral in Flintstones vit-a-minks, though.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            You are a Worthy Citizen.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I wouldn’t be surprised given what else is in it.

            http://www.happilyunprocessed.com/2014/07/14/flintstones-vitamins-safe/

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Shake on.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            http://www.happilyunprocessed.com/2014/07/14/flintstones-vitamins-safe/

            Hmm- I suppose we should always be careful what we give our children, and we can only assume that there will be no immediate harm contained in most of our food and drugs.

            The number of Flintstones ingredients that she cites as harmful (especially the artificial flavorings) would probably cost the FDA millions of dollars to investigate; we just don’t have the funds to do it. Many businesses rely on this to release products that even they haven’t fully studied, so, CAVEAT EMPTOR

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m not the most read on the subject, but from what I understand there are a number of substances which fall under the category of safe for human consumption but really aren’t so “safe”.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      …..If environmentalists cared about people, they wouldn’t be environmentalists. Nothing to see here…..

      Might as well say “if mothers cared about children they wouldn’t be mothers”. But hey you answered a question that has been bugging me and that is how is it possible that Trump could have any traction. Now I know.

      But the issue here is the use of child labor, not environmental protection. The fact that said labor is used to make batteries for EVs is incidental to the issue being discussed. But, I forgot. “Make America Great Like it was during the Industrial Revolution Again!!!!” What a win-win. Fat cats can trash the planet AND people all at once. Just think of the Power Point in the executive conference room!

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      A.) Amnesty International is a human rights group, not an environmentalist group.

      B.) That’s a completely silly statement, why would that make sense at any level? You live in the environment, you probably live in some exurb no less, made possible by environmentalists keeping them safe then ending some of the worst polluters. It just seems like a knee-jerk reaction.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Just eliminate the word “knee” from your last sentence…

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          golden2husky – good point.

          A “knee-jerk” response implies a motor reflex that is dealt with only in the spinal cord and does not require “higher” cognitive input.

          Mind you,on second thought, one could use that definition and say that Xeranar is correct.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Hmm, so many numbers.

    Were the 80 dead miners all children?

    20% of this work is done by hand; does this correlate to the deaths?

    Exactly how many children are doing such work? “as young as seven years old” tells me that one child somewhere in a mine is 7 years old.

    I can’t actually draw any conclusions from this story. But I do know that Amnesty International believes the US is a serious human rights violator.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    So now its blood batteries instead of blood diamonds?

    Just another day of death in the DRC, which has been f***ed up since King Leopold’s greed butchered 10 million natives a hundred and twenty years hence.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    No question exploiting child labor is unacceptable and should end.

    But probably if you dug thus deep into the resources used in any parts of any cars, you’d find equal outrages. The selective theme of this article is thus the usual anti-ev, anti-environmental concern spin.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Maybe Amnisty thinks that in the ocean of $4it that child labor is, this trd is one they have leverage to do something about. Unless you have some evidence that Amnisty is for hire to damage one industry to support a different part of that same industry I’m not buying your assertion.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Just another case of social justice warriors eating their own.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      brandloyaty – I don’t think the story is anti-EV or anti environment. Yes the headline was selected to get the planet haters to their keyboards – and it seems to have worked to some degree. But it is important that people realize what is behind the products that they use. I don’t know if the lithium being mined is available elsewhere, but crippling those suppliers who commit such atrocities by refusing to buy their materials can be a very effective tool in helping force change.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Covered in more detail in today’s Washington Post, probably part of a concerted effort to bring this to the world’s attention:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/business/batteries/congo-cobalt-mining-for-lithium-ion-battery/?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_no-name%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

    Child labor is legal as long as the guys with guns keep anyone from filming it.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Child labor was legal here until the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Most states made kids stay in school until age 12 before then, and reformers like Lewis Hine, working for the National Child Labor Committee, documented American kids as young as 7 working in dangerous jobs before and during World War One .

      My own father dropped out of school at age 12 to work in a textile mill in liberal Massachusetts, and his kid sisters followed. The girls were spinners at 10 cents an hour, and my dad was a doffer at 25 cents, big money at the time. There were lots of kids in the textile industry (google doffer), but there were kids in American mining too.

      My point is, we should be careful with our criticism, we’re not that far removed from similar conditions, just one human lifespan away.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Theme for 2016: I’m angry but need to know where to express my outrage. EV makers for using battery innards mined by 7 year olds? AI for focusing on human rights abuses in some areas and not others?

    TrumpClinton? Health insurers? Global warming/cooling/change? NRA? PTA?

    I’m nearly out of popcorn, and the store has no more Fair Trade popcorn. Non-GMO, of course.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      It’s not PC to be angry about certain topics.

      I could be angry about the murder of 40 million American babies since 1973, but it’s safer to discuss cobalt mining practices.

      You have to be angry about the *acceptable* things.

      I probably just fulfilled a corollary of Godwin’s Law.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “the murder of 40 million American babies since 1973”

        That represents at least three AFDC/TANF generations so be careful what abhors for.

        #ExponentialGrowthMatters.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        “It’s not PC to be angry about certain topics.”

        Sort of like how no one is a Genesis fan yet they sold millions of albums, err, cd’s.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Hey, I’m a Genesis fan! Of all three phases, even! Well, maybe three of the four. I haven’t tackled anything older than Nursery Cryme yet.

          When people say they hate Genesis, what they’re really saying is that they hate Phil Collins, who as an artist seems to be low-hanging fruit when it comes to criticism. But listen to the Duke suite or “Dance on a Volcano” and try to hate the guy.

          If you’re gonna hate any classic rock icon, hate Rod Stewart. This melonfarmer went from “Every Picture Tells a Story” and “(I Know) I’m Losing You” to “Tonight’s the Night” and “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” in less than a decade!

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “I’m a Genesis fan!”

            I was with you here…

            “Of all three phases, even!”

            …until you said that.

            In any case, I would submit that there were four phases:

            -Peter Gabriel
            -Good Phil Collins
            -Evil Phil Collins
            -Some other dude on the vocals

            Of the four, only two are worthy.

            Rod Stewart was a pioneer among rock musicians who unabashedly sold out (although I suppose that Elvis might have been the first when he transformed himself into a lounge act.) Stewart paved the way for many of his peers to follow, so you could say that he was, er, inspirational.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            I divide it differently:

            The really early stuff that’s hard to get into: All albums before Nursery Cryme.

            Peter Gabriel’s Genesis: Nursery Cryme through TLLDoB.

            Interim Phil Collins Genesis: ATotT through Duke. The most interesting and varied period, IMO.

            Pop Genesis: Abacab through We Can’t Dance.

            There are no Genesis albums after We Can’t Dance. None! Nope, nuh-uh!

            Anyone trying to pin Genesis’s “pop sellout sound” on Phil Collins would be better off blaming Mike Rutherford, who went on to form Mike + the Mechanics.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Genesis existed after Peter Gabriel left?

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Godwin’s law intact. Nazi’s not mentioned.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Referring to a fetus as a “baby” and to abortion as “murder” are yet more examples of right-wing Orwellian speak.

        Without overwrought hyperbole and factual errors, the American conservative movement could not exist.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Without overwrought hyperbole and factual errors, the American fill-in-the-blank movement could not exist.

          Fixed it for you.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            Quick reply – Unless you want to take care of all those children you need to shut your mouth and keep in your lane.

            Following that: Malthusian population growth isn’t real. Stop repeating it. It has never been true.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Lorenzo – correct.

            Fetus versus baby.

            Talk about a debate.

            Partial birth abortions which are now illegal raised a lot of questions in that realm.

            “20 to 35 percent of babies born at 23 weeks of gestation survive, while 50 to 70 percent of babies born at 24 to 25 weeks, and more than 90 percent born at 26 to 27 weeks, survive.”

            A fetus can be viable as early as 20 weeks.
            Statistically “89-92% of all abortions happen during the first trimester, prior to the 13th week of gestation.”

            When does a new life start?

  • avatar
    dwford

    Is it really a corporation’s job to chase the supply chain back that far? Do we need to know if the janitor for the mine’s bathroom was paid a living wage? Maybe the donkey’s that carry Juan Valdez’s coffee beans down the mountain aren’t fed GMO free grass? Where does it end?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      The donkey’s what? Or did you mean donkeys?

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Maybe not but what should a corporation do when the abuses are brought to light? Do they just keep doing business as usual or investigate the abuses and modify their business accordingly?

      I suppose such practices become justifiable due to the importance of the technology. A sort of corruption of that line Spock said in Star Trek II – The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.

  • avatar
    mcs

    By the way, here’s an interesting article about a long-term 200k mile Tesla. There was a firmware issue related to the range meter when it turned 200k. The battery had only lost 6% capacity, but Tesla replaced it under warranty to work around the firmware issue:

    https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/29/tales-from-a-tesla-model-s-at-200k-miles/

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      200K miles stuffed into an S?

      And I thought the Mercury astronauts were heroes!

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      And yet Consumer Reports can’t recommend the Model S due to its below-average reliability, while Plug In America’s study of the Roadster found that about one in five required battery pack repairs and replacements.

      Data beats anecdotes and shilling.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        In the hands of truly gifted obfuscators, data, anecdotes, and shilling can become one and the same. Why, I just heard an argument that science itself is sexist, because it’s not subjective. We live in intellectually perilous times.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        So 20% of Tesla roadsters required battery replacement? How does that compare with the IMS failure rate of its competitor? Anecdotally, I’ve heard 50%. Does Porsche support its customers like Tesla does? I doubt it.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Tesla provides some of that range that gets you excited by overutilizing the battery in ways that other OEMs would not.

          I am willing to bet that if Toyota built Tesla vehicles to Toyota standards that their range would drop by about half because Toyota would not allow the user to either charge or discharge the battery pack to the same degree. That would result in a more reliable and durable battery pack, but the reduced range wouldn’t excite the ignorati as Tesla does now.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            If Toyota powered Teslas, they would have less range.

            If Toyota powered Porsches, they would be complex Elises without the lightness added.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            But it is Tesla that built the EV components for Toyota’s second gen RAV-4 EV.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Yeah, it’s funny how the 42 kwh RAV-4 EV ended up having less range than the original 40 kwh Model S, even though it weighed less.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Wasn’t the RAV EV model just a compliance exercise, and they only made 500 or something?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            That doesn’t change the fact that a Tesla-powered EV had less range when Toyota helped to oversee its production. And since Toyota isn’t run by idiots, that should tell you something.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Why not just say “I don’t know the answer to your question?”

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I don’t doubt that Toyota is very conservative in its use of batteries – when the Prius was introduced, the internet was alive with naysayers telling everyone the batteries would soon fail and owners would have to pay $10K to replace them.

            The reality has been that the Prius has been about the most reliable vehicle one could buy, with exceptionally low running costs.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            “I don’t know” isn’t in PCH’s vocabulary.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Tesla quotes range figures based upon the use of maximum charging and discharging, which compromises battery longevity.

            You will note that the ranges cited on Tesla’s website exceed those claimed by the EPA. Then again, this is the same company that claimed that the Model S had a 5.4 star rating even though there is no such rating, so exaggeration is par for the course.

            Toyota recommended using its standard charging mode that topped the battery at about 80%, which gave the RAV4 92 miles of range.

            Meanwhile, Tesla was claiming that the 40 kwh S had a range of 160 miles. Perhaps you would attribute the difference to magic pixie dust or real dedication to the cause.

  • avatar
    DearS

    Thanks for the story. I will make a real effort to lower my negative involvement with companies that support such horrible practices. I will continue to educate myself on how I can make a difference or at least lower my impact.

    I plan to keep my phone for another year, it does a good job and the battery is running well. I will also increase my charity donations to give directly so people have more options in 3rd world countries.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Actually child labor and slave labor are two things that inspire blood curdling rage in me. I would never in a million years adopt a blase attitude about either or willingly contribute to the practice. At the same time, I think it’s bizarre to put responsibility for this on manufacturer’s vending products that are multiple steps removed from the practice. Now, if someone said gm or bmw engaged directly, or sent advisers to encourage, the process that would be a different story. That’s not what I’m reading from summaries of AI’s own report.

    AI has a laudable goal here. But their tactics suck, and more than border on unethical themselves. Samsung et al clearly are not receptive to pressure on this issue, governments themselves have also proven resistant (probably because they’ve assessed the fix at extremely high, possibly war grade ethical and monetary costs) so AI is trying to put the screws on manufacturers so tied into national economies and dependant on public goodwill that this presure will force state department or military level intervention.

    They’ve got such a good goal that they’ve forgotten how to be the good guys. That sure as hell sounds familiar.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      The biggest issue is that DRC & other violators have tons of friends in the supply chain willing to ship it to a third party country, change the shipping ID marks and send it on. The argument AI is making (and I get this is a publicity stunt) is to make the big makers stop being so eager to accept cheaper resources when they know it’s coming from the DRC and such.

      It’s an issue all around and you’re right, for governments to step in to stop the DRC would be war-grade affairs. We can barely get Americans to accept that stopping ISIS is a good thing, do you think we could get them to care about Africans killing other Africans? I’m willing to take on the burden even if I was drafted for that fight though I’m pushing the limits at WWII-aged draftee but most Americans are blaise about the issue, for good or bad.

      It’s depressing to think how little we care about others in these situations so AI is hoping to pressure the big makers to stop feeding the DRC blood machine. It’s atleast a start.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “I’m willing to take on the burden even if I was drafted for that fight”

        *nyuk!*

        And what’s being drafted got to do with willingness?

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        It may comfort the children of these mines to know that their cobalt finally found its way into the battery pack of my Chinese-made laptop which has helped enlighten me to their plight.

        Message Received!

        And now, I’ll proceed to age gracefully, collect my SS and Medicare and probably forget all about these poor souls…


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  • EBFlex: Actually this is very good news. The sooner Tesla becomes water under the bridge the better.

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