Microsoft using less "conflict minerals" in its devices

It's a little known fact that the materials used to make electronic devices such as PCs, smartphones, and game consoles can come from some war-torn parts of the world. This week, a human rights advocacy group released a report that ranked how many "conflict materials" come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo that are later used by major electronic companies.

The Enough Project's report is actually a follow up to one the group issued in 2010. In the new report, it shows that Microsoft has improved its ranking from the previous 2010 list. Microsoft's score for the 2012 list was 38. The Enough Project says that a score of 30 or above on this list shows that a company has "taken proactive steps to trace and audit their supply chains, pushed for some aspects of legislation, exercised leadership in industry-wide efforts, started to help Congo develop a clean trade."

The Enough Project says that Microsoft was one of four companies, out of the 24 companies listed in the rankings, to include conflict minerals in their supplier audits. However, The Enough Project adds that Microsoft can improve its stance "by requiring its suppliers to source from only conflict-free smelters when enough are available and enforcing this policy through audits," among other efforts.

Intel was ranked the highest in The Enough Project's list, with a score of 60. Other companies that are "in the green" include HP, AMD, Dell, Apple and Nokia. However, other companies such as HTC and Nintendo are ranked near the bottom of the list. In fact, Nintendo received a zero score.

Source: The Enough Project

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Tantalum caps can be virtually entirely replaced by comparably priced ceramic caps, these days. Better ESR performance, too.

Also, they don't burst into flames when you overvolt them by a couple percent.

"taken proactive steps to trace and audit their supply chains, pushed for some aspects of legislation, exercised leadership in industry-wide efforts, started to help Congo develop a clean trade."

None of this implies that they were using conflict minerals before, or that they are using any less conflict materials now.