Following through on a pledge to avoid using conflict minerals in its processors, Intel announced in its latest corporate responsibility report that it plans to release one microprocessor completely free of conflict gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten by the end of 2013.
But before that happens, the company hopes to have a chip validated conflict-free for tantalum by the end of 2012. The goal is part of a broader effort to reduce its environmental footprint by 2020, as outlined in the report.
Intel has begun to address what is admittedly a difficult and complex issue by carrying out on-site reviews of nearly 50 identified smelter sites in 16 countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, whose deadly decades-long conflict has been exacerbated by the trade of minerals.
This is clearly an issue that consumers feel strongly about. In 2011, a petition addressing Tim Cook and requesting that Apple manufacture a conflict-free iPhone garnered some 65,000 signatures on the petition site Change.org.