Earlier this year I wrote about Fairphone, an experiment in producing a fairly traded phone handset. The project includes fair prices paid to those assembling the phone, but also those mining the resources. That latter category is easily overlooked. When the electronics companies are in trouble over their ethics, it is almost always over worker conditions.
A photo series in the National Geographic highlights why we need to pay more attention to the materials behind out electronics too. The Congo has some of the world’s biggest reserves of metals like cobalt and tantalum. Mines are often small scale, unregulated, and sometimes under the control of warlords. Health and safety is non existent, and children work alongside adults.
The photo essay is from photographer Marcus Bleasdale, and is well worth checking out.