Target: Gregg Steinhafel, CEO of Target Corporation
Goal: Stop selling products made with materials that support armed conflict and human rights abuses in Africa.
Most American companies have recently been required to disclose if their products contain “conflict minerals” from the Democratic Republic of Congo, which are mined under conditions of extreme human rights violations. Through extensive lobbying, Target stores have secured an exemption from the rule and will continue to sell a range of products containing the controversial materials. Target Corporation CEO Gregg Steinhafel needs to fully disclose his product sources and end the use of conflict minerals.
Mineral mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo serve as a funding source for various armed rebel groups, as well as the Congolese National Army. Profits from mined minerals smuggled out of Africa are used to fund the continent’s ongoing and deadly civil wars. The process of mining itself is highly unregulated and marred by unsafe working conditions, child labor, and prostitution rings. Unbeknownst to many consumers, these blood-stained minerals eventually make their way into manufactured products that are sold in stores across the United States.
The law that requires disclosure of these sales, which was finalized recently by the Securities and Exchange Commission, is part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law. The loophole that Target managed to finagle allows that companies that don’t directly manufacture their own products are not required to regulate or disclose the origins of their goods. The exemption removes all responsibility from several major retailers and supports the continued selling of conflict minerals to the American people.
Consumers have the right to know what their money is supporting, and corporations have a responsibility to practice honest and ethical business. By signing the petition below, you can demand that Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel practice full disclosure of material resources and stop selling conflict minerals in Target stores.
Dear Mr. Steinhafel,
It is truly disappointing that the Target Corporation has chosen to opt out of the SEC financial reform law requiring disclosure of conflict minerals in products. This law has been put in place as a crucial effort to end the atrocities in African mineral mines. These mines not only support ongoing and deadly civil wars, but are also breeding grounds for unsafe working conditions, child labor, and prostitution rings. These activities could not continue without support from buyers like Target. In essence, your decision to avoid conflict mineral regulations directly funds human rights abuses partway across the world.
Target has a responsibility as a modern, forward-thinking business to work towards a positive world impact. It also has a responsibility for transparency in manufacturing so that consumers can make informed decisions regarding what their money is supporting. Please do your part by disclosing the origins of your products and ending the use of conflict minerals in Target stores.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: hdptcar via Flickr.