In the Democratic Republic of Congo, some mines known to use child labor are benefiting from the electrification of our economy.
Backstory: The world wants lithium-ion batteries. But one of their key ingredients, cobalt, is in short supply. That makes prices high, meaning people will go to great lengths to unearth it.
The news: Bloomberg reports that production in “artisanal” mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo has increased by 50 percent in the last year. Don’t be fooled by the name. As we’ve explained, these mines are dangerous, and some even exploit child labor.
Bouncing back: Congolese cobalt production actually declined in 2016, after an Amnesty International report describing exploitative working conditions in artisanal mines caused a clampdown. It hasn’t lasted.
Bottom line: Our thirst for batteries has a dark side. Until companies throughout the supply chain start demanding better conditions in mines, that will remain the case.
Climate change and energy
Think that your plastic is being recycled? Think again.
Plastic is cheap to make and shockingly profitable. It’s everywhere. And we’re all paying the price.
Decarbonizing your data strategy
Companies need to invest in energy-efficient infrastructure and optimize data practices, says Ian Clatworthy, director of data platform product marketing at Hitachi Vantara.
The University of California has all but dropped carbon offsets—and thinks you should, too
It uncovered systemic problems with offset markets and recommended that the public university system focus on cutting its direct emissions instead.
The power of green computing
Sustainable computing practices have the power to both infuse operational efficiencies and greatly reduce energy consumption, says Jen Huffstetler, chief product sustainability officer at Intel.
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