In his pre-show keynote at CES 2014, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich discussed, among other things, how Intel is addressing a critical issue plaguing the consumer electronics industry — conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) — and challenged the entire electronics industry to join Intel in becoming “conflict-free.” The CEO said Intel had achieved a critical milestone and the minerals used in microprocessor silicon and packages manufactured in Intel's factories are "conflict-free" as concluded by third-party audits or direct validation by Intel's supply chain organization.
Now, returning to the main stage at CES two years later (amidst a grand spectacle that featured athletes, drones, robots and Lady Gaga), Krzanich announced in his address Tuesday night that Intel is moving beyond microprocessors and aiming to validate its broader product base as conflict-free in 2016. With this milestone, Intel is again aiming to inspire other companies to join its mission. And if ethics aren’t motivation enough, Intel backs up its efforts with the business case: A recent Intel-commissioned survey indicates that conflict-free electronics influence the buying decisions of millennials — arguably the most discerning and influential market, which research suggests will hold consumer product companies accountable for responsible production and supply chain practices.
Among the survey's findings:
- 69 percent of millennials care about conflict minerals once they’ve been educated about the issue.
- 67 percent of millennials say they are more likely to buy conflict-free products the next time they shop.
- 69 percent of millennials say this issue influences their decision on which companies to buy from.
- More than half of millennials believe technology companies have the most responsibility for taking action on the issue of conflict minerals — more than mineral suppliers, governments, consumers or NGOs.