A panel discussion titled “Changing the World One Purchase at a Time” at this year’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, which was led by Rolling Stone’s Mark Binelli, brought together activists and musicians to tackle some big issues. An engaged group of festivalgoers gathered to listen.
Annie Callaway, who is the advocacy and activist manager for the Enough Project, discussed conflict minerals. “These minerals that come from Congo – tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold – are helping to sustain the deadliest conflict in the world since World War II,” she said. “Over 5.4 million people have died as a result of the conflict and one of the main reasons that the various warring parties are able to continue their acts of violence is because they can gain money through these minerals that are extremely lucrative on the international market.”
After introducing what conflict minerals are, Binelli turned the discussion to Linda Qian, who works in executive communications at Intel Corporate Affairs Group, who discussed how a major corporation like Intel could avoid using conflict minerals. “Once we became aware that this problem was in our supply chain, we couldn’t just sit by idly,” she said. “We had to do something about it. And it did take, I would say, probably five or six years before we were able to work together with nonprofits like the Enough Project and with other industry partners like Apple and HP and Dell to really find a solution where we can confidently say that our microprocessors are conflict free. And actually today, all of our microprocessors are conflict free, which I think is fantastic.”
Lucius frontwoman Jess Wolfe also discussed how they became conscious of the sourcing of their food and how they had to work around that on the road. And rapper Lizzo spoke to how she was just getting into learning about conflict-free sourcing and how she was transitioning her spending habits.