A group of Stanford University students is urging the school to take the lead in pushing technology companies to act on so-called "conflict minerals" -- such as tin, tungsten and gold -- used in electronics.
The New York Times reports:
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, armed groups force villagers to mine minerals like wolframite and cassiterite. Metals processed from such minerals are used in consumer electronics products, including laptop computers, MP3 players, cellphones and digital cameras.
On Thursday, a committee of Stanford's trustees considered a resolution to create a new proxy voting guideline for the university's investments. The guideline would support shareholders' efforts to make companies trace the supply chain of the minerals used in their products.
The trustees' decision is forthcoming. As the Stanford Daily reports, a grassroots student group, STAND, brought the issue to the administration's attention in February:
The group expressed its concern over a growing body of evidence showing that consumers and investors indirectly fuel ongoing violence in the Congo by purchasing electronics that are made from minerals sold by armed rebel groups in the country's lawless eastern region.
Debilitating rape has become commonplace there, and an estimated 5.4 million people have been killed in the past 15 years, according to the Enough Project, an anti-genocide advocacy group.
According to the Daily, Stanford is the first university to consider the issue.
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