The following statement was written following the approval of the Motion Regarding the Procurement of Products Containing Conflict Minerals that specified that the SSMU was to “issue a statement of its website supporting the sourcing of conflict-free minerals from Congo, and that this statement include what actions the SSMU will take to support this fight.”
The SSMU constitution specifies our commitment towards demonstrating leadership in matters of human rights, social justice and environmental protection, while being mindful of the direct and indirect effects Society’s businesses and organizations have on their social, political, economic, and environmental surroundings. As such, the SSMU cannot be complicit in the illegal exploitation of minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has contributed to ongoing violence for decades. We recognize the importance of sourcing our electronics from ethical sources and thus commit to joining the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative.
We believe that student societies and universities can strongly aid in an international effort to encourage electronics companies to responsibly invest in Congo’s minerals sector. As both consumers of electronics and as advocates for change, the SSMU has a responsibility towards aligning our purchasing policy to comply with our values. Through the Financial Ethics Research Committee (FERC), the SSMU will update their purchasing guidelines to consider the extent to which electronics suppliers are making efforts to source conflict-free minerals from Congo for their products. In addition, conflict minerals will be considered as a negative factor for investment consideration and the use of conflict-free minerals from the Congo as a positive screen.
The SSMU calls on electronics companies and other industries to implement the necessary steps to remove conflict minerals from their supply chain. We specifically ask the electronics industry to make sure that their minerals are sourced from mines where armed group are not present in order to cease money going to fund violence, but rather towards miner livelihood. We recognize that a conflict-free trade will not be accomplished by action by the electronics industry alone, but we demand that they show leadership and will update our purchasing and investment policies in accordance with this demand.