Corporates may ignore the cobalt children, but school children in Brotton take it seriously

So, Apple got back and told me they had “strict standards” regarding child labourers and artisanal cobalt miners  in DR Congo. When I downloaded Apple’s latest PDF report on due diligence – I realised their standards are not so strict. It’s not good enough. What I want is a company (Apple?) to set an example and sponsor our efforts to help Congolese children who need support. There are ordinary people doing their bit. Corporates need to do their bit. After all, we buy their smartphones and contribute to their profits.

Today I met some lovely teachers, staff and children at St. Peter’s Primary School in the coastal village of Brotton. I shared the story of Dorsen and Richard, the Sky News Team, Ian Harvey and the Congo Children Trust, and Kimbilio, the children’s sanctuary in Lubumbashi, DR Congo. They were so interested and offered support. I’ll keep you posted on how this develops. These children in the UK are reaching out to the children in DR Congo. Wonderful. Their motto? Truthfulness. Courage. Friendship. Responsibility.

Apple. Could you embrace this motto too? Please help us.

I’m an ordinary, non-corporate woman, and I want to help. I’ve been sewing for Kimbilio, the children’s sanctuary in Lubumbashi, DR Congo. The charity helps children who have been rejected, or are alone, or have struggled in one way or another. Congolese fabric was sent to me and I’ve stitched quite a bit of it for the Congo Children Trust Spring Fair, which will take place soon. I’ll provide details later. I’ve made tote bags, beach bags, mobile and spec cases, hair bands and bobbles and bunting. And I’ve made some stationery from recycled paper. I’ve cut up maps and artisan paper. I’ve printed, cut and stuck.  My dining room table is a tad chaotic, but that’s OK. We can eat off a tray!

Here’s some envelopes made from Sabrina Ward Harrison’s musings. Her thoughts, scribbles and drawings are intriguing. I love them.

I’ve also used paper from the beautiful book, Rooms: photos by Derry Moore, text by Carl Skoggard (I love the way Carl writes – it’s unpredictable and surprising – the photos are mysterious and engaging).

And these writing sets have been made from wallpaper. They’re so cheerful. I put a packet of envelopes together with some extra bits and bobs (surprise stickers and labels) – ideal for scrapbooks, journals and smash books.

Also added copies of my Ellie Booton adventures: Trouble at the Crab Shack Café, and The Lighthouse Code. They’re suitable reading for children 9 and up. Exciting adventures set at the seaside. I grew up by the sea. The books are not autobiographical. Ellie is much smarter and funnier than I ever was as a kid.

A packet of 12 handmade envelope of various sizes, (and some extra bits)  suitable for scrapbooks, smash books and journals. I love stuff like this. I would buy this. 🙂

 

 

Please show your support for Dorsen

Doing something practical. Sound bites don’t feed children. Lovely things to buy

DORSEN AND RICHARD: Doing something practical pays off

[Header image: Sky News] When I saw the Sky News film of Dorsen and Richard in February, I was distressed. I wanted to do something – not sure what – to help. I took their story personally. I have a smartphone, a camera, a laptop – I use lots of things with rechargeable batteries. Children had mined cobalt in the things I owned and that made me complicit. Everyone who saw Alex Crawford’s film wanted to tranform the boys’ lives from this…

to this…

Dorsen and Richard: A brave start to a new life

Just a mention of the videographer, whose work was sensitive, poignant and profound. Alex Crawford’s report was succinct, moving and memorable. This meaningful report reached millions.

Sky News film, one: Dorsen and Richard, child cobalt miners
Sky News film, two: Three months later… Dorsen and Richard

I decided to act. I threw together a website. I conferred and shared concerns with lots of people on Facebook, including Annemiek Macco, Alex Harris and Lisa Maheshi. I got some advice from Congolese journalist Serge Mabele.   I called the website Children Play.og (children should play, not work). Serge said the website name was wrong. Annemiek suggested something specific – Cobalt Children.  Much better! I changed the name: www.cobaltchildren.org.  Searching Facebook, I came across Ian Harvey, director of the Congolese children’s charity, Kimbilio. What luck! I wrote to cobalt, smartphone and car corporates asking for help. NO LUCK THERE.  (Do all corporates suck? I ask myself daily.) In desperation, I wrote an email to the Sky News planning desk and was lucky again – it was read by someone prepared to send it on to Nick Ludlam, Africa Editor, who works alongside Alex Crawford Sky News. Nick cared enough to contact Ian and me to discuss the possibilities of trying to relocate Richard and Dorsen.  I threw a pebble in the pond and saw the ripples spread.  Throw pebbles! You just don’t know what it will lead to – and in this case, it is something good.  Thank you Nick Ludlam for getting in touch with us. Thank you Alex Crawford and her team, for going back to #DR Congo. Thank you Ian Harvey for being on this earth. Thank you Alex, Annemiek, Lisa and so many others for being friends and colleagues in this quest.

Two little boys now eat every day and sleep in a bed. They are learning to read and write, wear clean clothes and play like children. Their story will also help other children.

The film had a downside. Their fathers’ sad resignation that they should let their sons go, so they could survive. Their community is crushed by poverty – it needs some support. This is something to think about and plan for. How can we help? Seeds? Chickens? A well? Building materials? What could be done? [Image below: Sky News]

Sound bites don’t feed children. Dusting off my sewing machine 🙂 

Networking and practical work continues.  The BIG QUESTION is: will the corporates @Apple, Samsung Mobile, Sony, Volkswagen. Daimler AG, Lenovo, Acer, Nokia, and more, stop sending me politically correct statements (which sicken me, quite frankly)  and do something PRACTICAL to help? A gift of money, a product sold to benefit children who’ve been abused in the cobalt industry? Investment in artisanal mines so that workers have a hope of fair pay and safe practice? Something??? I write back to them and say: Children cannot eat politically correct statements – please will you help? They ignore me or send standard brush-off responses. 

I’ve been brushed-off by: Nokia, Samsung, Lenovo, Vodafone, Volkswagen and Daimler.

I’ve been ignored by: Huayou Cobalt, LG, Doro, Sony, Acer, Apple, Archos, Google, Blackberry, HP Inc., Microsoft and Dell.

They’ve all had paper letters sent to their CEOs and follow-up emails. None of the corporates have had the good grace to answer my questions, or to mention Dorsen and Richard, two little boys who have laboured 12 hours a day in the cobalt industry for as little as 8p.

This issue won’t go away unless we say STOP. There are thousands of children like Dorsen and Richard who need our help, and who are part of the #smartphone industry, helping companies to profit with their starvation and suffering. Donate. Follow. Comment. Buy one of  our lovely handmade products. (Practical action = something tangible.) 100% is donated to helping Dorsen and his friends, child miners in Democratic Republic… Here are some things that have been recently made. They’ll be uploaded SOON to our Folksy shop on cobaltchildren.org – or just message me on Facebook, Twitter or email hello@cobaltchildren.org

 100% of  money raised is sent to @Kimbilio where Dorsen and Richard now live. There is still so much to do.

Please note… the fabric below was sent to me by Gill Venton, a voluntary worker for Kimbilio. It is Congolese and absolutely gorgeous. I received it a couple of days ago and am making up some samples: mobile phone cases, hair bands, brooches, book bags…  Buying lovely things from a charity helps.  I’ve also made some quirky envelopes out of Graham & Brown wallpaper. Love stationary!

Volunteers work for free. 100% goes to charity.

Kimbilio website
Kimbilio JustGiving page for donations (so gratefully received) 

Please show your support for Dorsen

Volkswagen – you’re a brilliant company. Why such an unhelpful, cautious, unimaginative response? Children cannot eat reports. Ja?

Oh dear. Volkswagen come back with a typical politically correct response with no offer of practical help for the cobalt children. I write back. Have you any intention of helping in a practical way? I point out that children cannot eat reports.

CEO of Volkswagen

Our follow-up email to Volkswagen, 10 May 2017. This is the afternoon before Dorsen and Richard where shown on Sky News being offered a place by the charity, Kimbilio.

From: Flinty Maguire, Cobalt Children [mailto:hello@cobaltchildren.org]
Sent: 10 May 2017 12:21
To: ‘customercare@volkswagen.de’ <customercare@volkswagen.de>
Cc: ‘mark.dummett@amnesty.org’ <mark.dummett@amnesty.org>; Kimbilio Ian Harvey (ian@congochildrentrust.org) <ian@congochildrentrust.org>; ‘ambassade.britannique@fco.gov.uk’ <ambassade.britannique@fco.gov.uk>
Subject: RE: Ref. no.: VW-2017/05-008417
Importance: High

Dear  Maurizio Meloni  and Karl-Heinz Straub

Thank you for your response.

May I make this point: the children have already been hurt. The evidence is documented and filmed.

May I ask if you have any intention of making a practical gesture to support them?

It’s a shame that no corporation has come forward to actively support these children. What a missed opportunity for positive publicity.

Frankly, a gesture of support is needed from corporations. It would be welcomed and praised. We need just one corporation to show some responsibility and compassion for what has happened in the past to these children, and what is still happening.  A corporation has a golden opportunity to set a great example.

Please note: there is a Sky News report to be aired, hopefully tonight around 8pm. It revisits a recent report featuring the children Richard and Dorsen, who are the inspiration of this campaign.

It would be wonderful if you responded with some form of practical help. Academic talk is appreciated, but a practical approach actually helps children. Children do not eat reports. They need respite and  food.

All good wishes
Flinty

Flinty Maguire
www.cobaltchildren.org

 

A reminder…  Dorsen and Richard have been helped. Their fathers are still starving and struggling to mine cobalt. There are thousands of children still in the mines.

 

SIGH. And here is Volkwagen’s standard, PC reply with no practical help offered.

From: customercare@volkswagen.de [mailto:customercare@volkswagen.de]
Sent: 10 May 2017 07:57
To: hello@cobaltchildren.org
Subject: Ref. no.: VW-2017/05-008417

Ref. no.: VW-2017/05-008417

10 May 2017

Dear Ms Maguire,

Thank you for your e-mail addressed to the Board of Management of the Volkswagen AG. As the responsible department for customer affairs, we have received your correspondence for further attention.

We can reassure you that we are just as concerned as you are about the reports regarding the working conditions in cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

We are in contact with our suppliers concerning the topic of cobalt. However, on the basis of the information available to us, we cannot confirm the delivery relationships presented in the news.

An important task for the Volkswagen Group is the integration of environmental and social standards into its Supplier Management Guidelines, whereby each agent in the value chain acts independently. With the contractual integration of the concept “Sustainability in Supplier Relationships”, the company and its business partners have assumed ecological, economic and social responsibility.

If it is suspected that direct suppliers or their subcontractors may not comply with our sustainability requirements, we ask them for a written statement. They are given an opportunity to present the matter and any corrective action to resolve the issues. If the answers are not satisfactory, further appropriate action is taken. This may include site visits to suppliers and other individual qualification measures for suppliers.

Volkswagen welcomes the proposition of improving transparency in the raw materials sector and we are active in several initiatives to remedy child labour or adults working in hazardous conditions. Since 2013, Volkswagen has participated in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) alongside governments and non-governmental organizations. Furthermore, we are currently an active stakeholder in the NamiRo research project for “sustainably extracted mineral commodities”
(www.namiro-projekt.org).

We hope this has answered your questions in a sufficient manner.

Yours sincerely,
i. V. Maurizio Meloni i. V. Karl-Heinz Straub

Volkswagen AG
38436 Wolfsburg
Tel +49 (0) 1806 890000**
Fax +49 (0) 1805 329865*
Mail to customercare@volkswagen.de
Homepage http://www.volkswagen.com

** 0,20 €/Verbindung aus dem dt. Festnetz, max. 0,60 €/Verbindung aus dem Mobilfunknetz
* 0,14 €/Min. aus dem dt. Festnetz, max. 0,42 €/Min. aus dem Mobilfunknetz

VOLKSWAGEN AG
Sitz/Domicile: Wolfsburg
Registergericht/Court of Registry: Amtsgericht Braunschweig HRB Nr./. Commercial Register No.: 100484 Vorsitzender des Aufsichtsrats/Chairman of the Supervisory Board: Hans Dieter Poetsch Vorstand/Board of Management: Matthias Mueller (Vorsitzender/Chairman), Karlheinz Blessing, Herbert Diess, Francisco J. Garcia Sanz, Jochem Heizmann, Andreas Renschler, Rupert Stadler, Hiltrud D. Werner, Frank Witter

Wichtiger Hinweis: Die vorgenannten Angaben werden jeder E-Mail automatisch hinzugefuegt und lassen keine Rueckschluesse auf den Rechtscharakter der E-Mail zu.
Important Notice: The above information is automatically added to this e-mail. This addition does not constitute a representation that the content of this e-mail is legally relevant and/or is intended to be legally binding upon VOLKSWAGEN AG.

Please show your support for Dorsen

Sky News went back and found Dorsen and Richard

It’s bitter sweet. It’s profound. It’s a story of love and loss.  #DorsenRichard

In February 2017, Dorsen, 8 and Richard, 11, were filmed by Sky News mining cobalt in the DR Congo. It was traumatic to watch. Alex Crawford said, “This is what hopeless looks like,” and it was true. Hopelessness was in their eyes. On their face. In their lives. That night, I didn’t sleep.  The suffering of children haunts every decent person.

These children were the subjects of a terrible story and I knew I was part of their misery. I own a smartphone, a laptop, a camera – various products powered by lithium ion batteries, containing cobalt, which could have been mined by children.

I felt I had to help, somehow. Through Facebook and a bit of Googling, I made contact with Ian Harvey, the director of the registered charity: Congo Children’s Trust which manages a project called Kimbilio (meaning “sanctuary”) in Lubumbashi, DR Congo. Ian had seen the Sky News film and was concerned about the boys. With his years in Congo, and his work there, he knew all too well the plight of Congolese children. He offered them a place at the Kimbilio home if the boys could be relocated. We asked Sky to go back and find them. Nick Ludlam, Africa Editor got in touch and a team, with reporter, Alex Crawford, went back to Congo last week and relocated the boys on 2 May 2017.

Images: Sky News and Kimbilio

The boys were mining cobalt alongside their fathers in a situation of terrible poverty and hardship. Both boys have lost their mothers. With little notice, the boys fathers agreed to let Dorsen and Richard go with the Sky team to start a new life at the children’s sanctuary, Kimbilio. This is a profound and loving sacrifice made by these dads. Dorsen’s dad said, “You know you’re my best friend.” He bathes Dorsen to send him on his way, saying, “Dorsen, go and study hard. Don’t fight with anyone. Don’t worry. I will come to see you. Don’t think I’m going to stay here and die, no. I’ll be here for you.” What a dilemma for a parent to be faced with.

Dorsen and his father.

Separating gives the boys a chance of a childhood, of food and education. Surely there’s a way to help the fathers and this community? We have no conception of the poverty they endure.  Thank God, the boys will have love, friendship and nurturing from other children and their carers. This is an opportunity that they never thought they could have. The Sky News film was aired tonight,  10 May.  Here’s the website link: http://news.sky.com/…/cobalt-mining-boys-given-hope-but-man… It’s moving and is the beginning of their story.

I want the corporates to step in with some practical help. Wouldn’t they get positive publicity if they did? So far, all I’ve got from corporates (Nokia, Volkswagen, Samsung, Lenovo), is politically correct statements. None have bothered to answer my questions, stated so clearly, or to mention Dorsen and Richard by name. It seems they just don’t want to be involved. What do I think – shame on them. They are desperately disappointing. Their products don’t seem so great to me now.

We will continue, my friends and colleagues, to campaign and fundraise.  I’m new to this. Others have been working hard for so long. Together, we must support Dorsen and Richard, and help other children escape the crushing and dangerous labour of the mines. Kimbilio is a trustworthy and proactive registered charity. You can donate via their fundraising page. We have donated £600 + £100 Gift Aid, to Kimbilio. This will directly help Richard and Dorsen. To all of those good people who have donated – THANK YOU for your support. You were kind enough to trust me and it worked out.

It would be wonderful if you could continue your support. You can find the link to Kimbilio’s fundraising page, and our shop, on our website. www.cobaltchildren.org

100% of everything sold goes to help Congolese children.

Thank you. THANK YOU for your concern and your kindness. Thank you for every donation. When people slave 12 hours for pennies, £1 makes a difference. Every penny is appreciated. The money has reached these children. When a child is rescued from abject misery, it is life changing for all concerned. This has changed my life and I will continue this work – one child at a time, as they saying goes.

Let’s celebrate Dorsen and Richard and their fathers. They did good. With their bodies and few words, they told their story. It is a story of exploitation and abuse, of endurance and survival. We, as consumers, are the problem. We are also the solution.

Corporates – you are part of the solution also. I’ll post the PC statements online tomorrow. They make me feel desperately disappointed in them. I will give respect where it’s due.

Any progress on behalf of the children and adults who have had such a raw deal is worthwhile. Small steps are part of big journeys.

Good luck, Dorsen and Richard. We send our love and support. Thank you for the cobalt in my smartphone. I’m ashamed you had to mine it. I will try to make reparation.

Flinty

 

Please show your support for Dorsen

Letter send to Dutch entrepreneur organisation VNO-NCW, Mr Streekstra accountable for raw material industry

Van: <amacco@hotmail.com>
Datum: 2 mei 2017 16:17:46 CEST
Aan: <streekstra@vnoncw-mkb.nl>
Kopie: <flintymaguire@burdockhouse.co.uk>
Onderwerp: Kinderen in de kobalt mijnen in DR Congo

Geachte dhr Streekstra,
Graag vraag ik uw aandacht voor het volgende, eind februari zond RTL nieuws een item uit over kinderen in de kobalt mijnen in DR Congo. Het origineel is gemaakt door Sky News, hier vindt u de link naar het item; http://news.sky.com/story/meet-dorsen-8-who-mines-cobalt-to-make-your-smartphone-work-10784120
Dit nieuws heeft mij diep geraakt.
Graag stel ik mijzelf voor. Mijn naam is Annemiek Jansen-Macco, moeder van Lars (3) en Niels (1,5), getrouwd met Mark en piloot bij KLM.
Door dit nieuwsitem ben ik op zoek gegaan naar informatie, en hoe deze kinderen te helpen. Sindsdien heb ik een website met mijn Engelse compagnon Flinty Maguire, www.cobaltchildren.org. Met deze website en sociaal media, vragen wij aandacht voor de kinderarbeid in Congo.
DE werkgeversorganisatie van Nederland kan hierin iets betekenen! Samen met de Nederlandse overheid, kan de VNO-NCW bijdragen aan Fairtrade winning van kobalt, het ‘goud van de 21ste eeuw’.
Wij als consument kunnen dit niet alleen, wij hebben juist bedrijven, organisaties en overheden nodig om deze mensen een beter leven te gunnen. Die kinderen werken zodat wij onze tablets, mobieltjes, laptops en alle andere technologische snufjes in huis kunnen gebruiken! Kinderarbeid anno 2017 kan echt niet meer!
Ik zou een reactie enorm op prijs stellen en hopelijk meer aandacht binnen de VNO-NCW voor dit probleem.
Graag hoor ik van u,
Vriendelijke groet
Annemiek Jansen-Macco
Please show your support for Dorsen

Letter to Dutch branch organisation for technology industry FME

I send this letter on 12th of april, no response. On 1st of May, I have send a reminder, still no response….
Van: <amacco@hotmail.com>
Datum: 12 april 2017 15:43:57 GMT+1
Aan: <robert.van.beek@fme.nl>
Onderwerp: Kinderarbeid in de kobalt mijnen in DR Congo

Geachte dhr van Beek,

Graag vraag ik uw aandacht voor de kinderen in de kobalt mijnen in DR Congo.

Mijn naam is Annemiek Macco, 43 jaar, getrouwd en moeder van twee kleine jongetjes van 1,5 en 3. Ik woon in Uden en ik ben piloot (gezagvoerder) bij KLM.
Op dinsdag 28 februari heeft RTL nieuws een item uitgezonden over Dorsen, een jongetje van 8 wat in de mijnen in Congo moet werken voor slechts 10 cent per dag. Dit nieuws item heeft mij diep geraakt en sindsdien laat Dorsen mij niet meer los. Het nieuws item is oorspronkelijk van Sky News, de link vindt u hier; http://news.sky.com/story/meet-dorsen-8-who-mines-cobalt-to-make-your-smartphone-work-10784120
Ik begrijp dat u afgevaardigde bent van de branche organisatie FME, voor technologische industrie. Deze industrie is gebruikt ook veel kobalt, kobalt wat gewonnen wordt door oa kleine kinderen zoals Dorsen.
Gelukkig is er nu een wet aangenomen die Nederlandse bedrijven verplicht grondstoffen op een duurzame en eerlijke manier te verkrijgen. Daarnaast zijn Apple en het Chinese bedrijf het “Responsible Cobalt Initiative” gestart.
Allemaal mooie vooruitgang, maar het kan beter! Kinderarbeid anno 2017 kan echt niet meer, waar ook ter wereld! En zeker niet als wij westerse landen daar alleen maar beter en rijker van worden.
Het baart mij als moeder zorgen en doet mij verdriet, deze kleine kinderen ‘voor ons’ zo te zien werken onder erbarmelijke omstandigheden.
Samen met mijn companion in de UK ben ik een website gestart; www.cobaltchildren.org. Wij willen deze kinderen helpen, brengen het probleem onder de aandacht, zamelen geld in, maar we willen ook Dorsen vinden, zodat we hem en zijn vriendjes een beter leven kunnen bezorgen. Kinderen moeten spelen en leren, en niet werken voor de welvaart van anderen…..
Daarom zou ik u willen vragen de met de FME de technologische bedrijven, die oa kobalt krijgen uit Afrika, aan te moedigen niet meer deze grondstof in te kopen als het niet op een humanitaire en verantwoorde manier gewonnen is.
Ik hoop van u te horen, en wellicht kunt u ons helpen met dit project.
Met vriendelijke bezorgde groet,
Annemiek Macco
Please show your support for Dorsen

Selling stuff on internet to raise money

Easter weekend has been a good weekend to sell old stuff on internet! I have sold a dress I never wear, a suitcase I don’t use, two bikes that are only in the way in the garage, a book I never read, etc etc. Money collected; about 150 euro!

Every sale feels like getting closer to giving those children a better chance. Do it and clean up your house, while helping others who don’t even have anything to eat!

Please show your support for Dorsen

Sky News makes contact to discuss the cobalt children

When a corporate gets back to you in the shape of a human, it is always very encouraging. Since the Sky News report on the cobalt children of DR Congo came online, millions have viewed the film. Many thousands of people have also expressed shock and dismay on Facebook, asking how they can help these children.

Inside the Congo mines that exploit children

This week a Sky News investigation found that children as young as four are working in Congolese mines to find cobalt which is used to make your smartphone work

Posted by Sky News on Sunday, 5 March 2017

Sky news has been responsive. Africa Editor, Nick Ludlam, a colleague of Alex Crawford’s who filmed Dorsen and Richard, has been in touch. Nick’s also spoken with Ian Harvey, director of the charity, Congo Children’s Trust which runs the project, Kimbilio in Lubumbashi, DR Congo, to support street children who have no adult to look after them. With the help of Sky News, Ian hopes to locate the children in the Sky News film to offer them support. He will be making the journey to DR Congo late June. We need to raise funds so that we offer support to these children.

For all the children and adult artisanal miners (called creusseurs) who mine cobalt in dangerous and slave conditions, we need to keep this story alive. They have been exploited for years, to our shame.  Corporates and consumers can no longer deny the ugly backstory of human rights abuses to enable our technology.

The corporate culture of denial must end

The most proactive way to deal with the harm that has happened is to be open, accountable and take action. In my experience, corporates have found “sorry” to be the hardest word, fearing accusations of culpability and litigation. An attitude of humility is both courageous and honorable and sets an example for others to follow. Congolese artisanal and child miners must be helped to a way of life where they are free of exploitation and abuse by corporates and consumers. It shames us all.

We need your support. Even £1 or $1 will help enormously.

At the moment it takes Dorsen 12 days to earn the value of £1, working 12 hours a day. He starves. He works when he’s exhausted and in pain.

If you can give £1 or more, that would help Dorsen, Richard, and other children like them who suffer working in the mines. £1 will mean a day away from the mine, food, and a whole lot more.

Wouldn’t it be uplifting to see these children smile because they had a happier and safer future? Wouldn’t we all feel better if we were not part of a toxic infrastructure that abused them in the first place?

I’m liaising with the Congo Children Trust and will soon have donation buttons, so that funds can be raised for Dorsen, Richard and children like them.

 

Please show your support for Dorsen
www.visitfinland.com

Communicating with Nokia. They’re Finnish and that should tell us something.

Image credit: www.visitfinland.com

Update: 11 May 2017. My optimism was misplaced. I received, via Laura Okkonen, a letter full of corporate waffle with no offer of practical help from Nokia. Have since written back… nothing in response… yet.

 

Below is my follow-up email to Rajeev Suri, CEO of Nokia, and Laura Okkonen of Corporate Affairs. Laura’s response to my first email was short but I definitely felt there was warmth in it. Nokia’s headquarters are in Finland. I don’t know any Finns, so I looked at this website: www.visitfinland.com

I am wholly encouraged to read:
Finnish people are warm, open and sincere, even though they might tell you the exact opposite. If you’ve ever met a Finn, chances are they’ve mentioned the reserved nature of their countrymen. Be not afraid – we’re not taciturn brutes. Finns are talkative and hospitable, but the myth of the withdrawn Finn is still alive and well inside Finland. And Finns, with their self-deprecating wit, will be the first to let foreigners in on it. An example of a Finnish joke: “An introverted Finn looks at his shoes when talking to you; an extroverted Finn looks at your shoes”.

Rajeev Suri was born in New Delhi, but now he lives in Espoo, Finland. I think Laura Okkonen may be Finnish. Watch the film – it’s lovely.

 

And in Finland you can see the Northern Lights. You need to really embrace the experience, apparently.

 

www.visitfinland.com
Auroras Antti and a brave Finn. www.visitfinland.com

Rajeev Suri, CEO of Nokia, looks like a man who knows how to enjoy the Auroras Antti. Not sure, but that may even be Rajeev Suri! It is, below, and I hope he reads my email.

Rajeev Suri, CEO Nokia


From: Flinty Maguire, Cobalt Children [mailto:hello@cobaltchildren.org]
Sent: 21 April 2017 17:09
To: ‘Okkonen, Laura (Nokia – FI/Espoo)’ <laura.okkonen@nokia.com>
Cc: ‘Catherine Mutindi’ <catherinemutindi@gmail.com>; Kimbilio Ian Harvey (ian@congochildrentrust.org) <ian@congochildrentrust.org>; ‘mark.dummett@amnesty.org’ <mark.dummett@amnesty.org>
Subject: FAO Mr Rajeev Suri, CEO Nokia re Cobalt Children, DR Congo #Follow-up email

Dear Mr Rajeev Suri, and Laura Okkonen,

Following up on my previous email to you, I have additional information to give.

The Sky News story about Dorsen and Richard, child cobalt miners in the DR Congo, has had a huge impact. On the Sky News Facebook page, it has had more than 43.5  million views and 835k shares. Consumers are more aware of human rights abuses and the ugly backstory of lithium-ion batteries found, for example, in smartphones.

Link to Dorsen and Richard Facebook film: facebook.com/skynews/videos/1659591590722098

The Dorsen and Richard film is compelling and emotive. With few words, these children inform us of their struggle for survival, the pain and misery, and the exploitation they suffer at the hands of those who trade and utilise cobalt.  We’ve been in touch with Alex Crawford, the journalist who put together this report.  Following my latest email to Sky News, yesterday, Nick Ludlam, Africa Editor of Sky News has been in touch with a colleague, Ian Harvey, who runs a charity supporting street children in Lubumbashi. Nick has also requested my phone number. Sky plan to locate Dorsen and Richard to offer them assistance.  Sky also plan to make contact with Sister Catherine Mutindi of The Good Shepherd Sisters, in Kolwezi, a project that rescues children from cobalt mines. Hopefully, there will be a follow-up report.

I heard from Sister Catherine Mutindi on Tuesday 18 April.  There are more developments. This is what she had to say:

“Just some updates from Kolwezi: Today we (Bon Pasteur Kolwezi) had a meeting with Huayou Bryce Lee and some other CDM officials. They have made some strategic moves in responding to the issues raised by Amnesty International and Sky News, particularly on child labour in the chain of cobalt provision as well as safe mining for crasseurs. Their implemented tracking system seem to work in two artisanal mines around Kawama, and they are investing in expanding this experience to other carrieres.”

Mark Dummett of Amnesty International is also following up on the report on human rights abuses in DR Congo cobalt mines, generated last year entitled: This is what we die for. Amnesty International found that very few downstream companies purchasing cobalt, or products containing cobalt, had taken steps to meet even the most basic due diligence requirements.

I understand that Nokia has been proactive in promoting good standards and practice. It would be wonderful if you entered into a meaningful dialogue with us on how we could devise ways to highlight issues of exploitation attached to mineral mining in DR Congo, and how you, as a company, and your customers, could join forces to assist such people in a practical way.

I have canvased several companies with the same request. Samsung responded by sending me two separate but identical emails containing standard text. No attention was given to my concerns or questions.  Samsung maintains “a zero tolerance policy on child labor” and yet, in the Amnesty International report, Samsung stated that: “…it is impossible for us to determine whether the cobalt supplied to Samsung SDI comes from DRC Katanga’s mines.” As you can see, their zero tolerance policy on child labour is meaningless in the case of cobalt mined in the DRC.

I believe that what consumers want is open and honest dialogue about this issue; and a desire to work towards reparation. We cannot simply move on. There is a history of suffering and exploitation attached to technology. We all need to make good the damage we have done, knowingly or otherwise.  If a few pence were added to every relevant unit sold in aid of Congolese welfare, children’s lives would be transformed and, with investment, adult artisanal miners might experience safe and fair employment. Products could be branded purposefully for consumers who want to buy items based on fair trade principles and ethical practice. I am sure there are countless ways money could be raised without damage to corporate profit margins, and those funds could be utilized to facilitate independence and wellbeing for the cobalt children and creusseurs.

You are the only company, so far, who has had the grace to respond to me with a personal email. There is a strong possibility that the Dorsen and Richard story will be followed through on Sky News.

This is a chance for Nokia to take a lead where customers and corporates unite to promote fair trade and ethical practice. I am hopeful that you will support our objectives.

With thanks and all good wishes,

Flinty Maguire

www.cobaltchildren.org


From: Okkonen, Laura (Nokia – FI/Espoo) [mailto:laura.okkonen@nokia.com]
Sent: 18 April 2017 16:18
To: hello@cobaltchildren.org
Subject: FAO Mr Rajeev Suri, CEO Nokia

Dear Mr Maguire,

Many thanks for contacting us. We will most definitely come back to you in more detail on the below by May 1st.

In the meanwhile, should there be any additional questions you would like us to provide further insights on in our reply to follow, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Thank you.

Best regards

Laura Okkonen

Laura Okkonen
Corporate Affairs
Nokia Group
Telephone: +358504869100
Email: laura.okkonen@nokia.com


From: Flinty Maguire, Cobalt Children [mailto:hello@cobaltchildren.org]
Sent: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 3:18 PM
To: Services, Press (Nokia – Global) <press.services@nokia.com>
Cc: Dematteo, Carol (Nokia – US/Irving) <carol.dematteo@nokia.com>; Samson, Anne (Nokia – FR/Asnieres-sur-Seine) <anne.samson@nokia.com>; Relations, Government (Nokia – Global) <government.relations@nokia.com>
Subject: FAO Mr Rajeev Suri, CEO Nokia

Dear  Mr Rajeev Suri,

I posted a letter to you on the 4 April 2017. I attach it here again.

I wish to draw your attention to the Sky News report: “Inside the Congo mines that exploit children”.  The report deals with the mining of cobalt used in lithium ion batteries in profitable and widely used items such as smartphones and laptops.

The Sky News report features Dorsen, an 8 year old boy who mines cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He works 12 hours a day for as little as eight British pence. This Sky News report triggered the Cobalt Children campaign to ask companies, such as yours, to organize help for these children and creusseurs.

The Sky News report is posted on Facebook has had 43 million views and has been shared over 834,000 times. There are over 150,000 comments.  

Here is the link to the report: https://www.facebook.com/skynews/videos/1659591590722098/

I am sure you will agree that this overwhelming response from the general public to the issue of child labour in cobalt mines, and the exploited labour of creusseurs, warrants comment and action from your company.

I appreciate you need to consider your response which I look forward to receiving on or before 1st May, 2017.  From now, until that date, Dorsen may have worked 168 hours of hard labour mining cobalt, which may include being beaten, starved and injured. This child, and others like him, need our collective help and they need it soon. We cannot let this issue go on for more years. It shames us all.

Please respond by email to the address provided: hello@cobaltchildren.org

Your response will be shared on the website: www.cobaltchildren.org and on social media. Be assured, I will help in any way I can to assist these children and creusseurs.

Many thanks and kind regards,

Flinty Maguire

www.cobaltchildren.org

Please show your support for Dorsen

Samsung: standard brush off. So disappointing. Wouldn’t it be better if they reconsidered and supported #Dorsen?

I am so disappointed with Samsung. Sean Archer’s response to my letter and emails is flat, unimaginative and cold. It’s standard text written to shut you up and brush you away. I wonder if the Samsung CEO, Mr. Boo-Keun Youn realises this standard text is misleading and unreliable.

I wrote to Mr Boo-Keun Youn at this address:
Samsung Electronics Co.
129 Samsung-ro
Yeongtong-gu
Suwon-si
Gyeonggi-do
South Korea

The letter is available on this link: http://cobaltchildren.org/company_Samsung.html

I hope this man has the grace and goodness to email me: hello@cobaltchildren.org, with a different point of view.

Sean Archer’s email is a cut and paste job. There’s no mention of Dorsen, the ACTUAL living, breathing, suffering child who works 12 hours a day for as little as 8 British pence, helping such corporates to profiteer.

AMAZING FACT: The #Dorsen film is posted on the Sky News Facebook page. It has been watched 43m times and has been shared 835k times. Corporates can no longer bury their head in the sand and pretend this is nothing to do with them. Here’s the link:

www.facebook.com/skynews/videos/1659591590722098/

Samsung is part of this dynamic. When questioned about their cobalt supply by Amnesty International, 2016, Samsung’s response was:

“In reality, it is very hard to trace the source of the mineral due to the suppliers’ nondisclosure of information and the complexity of the supply chains. Therefore it is impossible for us to determine whether the cobalt supplied to Samsung SDI comes from DRC Katanga’s mines.”

This was my question, and it was completely ignored:

“What I am asking is not for you to account for your policy, but for you to consider showing concern for the welfare of children that may well be caught up in the process of making profit for your company, which necessarily involves your customers in a backstory of human rights abuses.”

Our Samsung purchases: we are consumers, and now we shall say, “No more Samsung.” We are not supporting a company who cannot acknowledge the existence of a boy called #Dorsen who slaves to make corporates rich.

We’ve made lots of Samsung purchases over the years. We trusted the name and the quality. We don’t trust Samsung anymore. There will be no more Samsung purchases. At least, not until things are clarified and put right. #consumerssayno

 

Samsung response #2

From: Samsung Customer Support Center [mailto:dear_customer@contactus.samsung.com]
Sent: 19 April 2017 09:23
To: hello@cobaltchildren.org
Subject: [Re]FAO Boo-Keun Yoon, CEO Samsung

Please quote your customer reference number when contacting Samsung
Email response ID: 1134997104

Dear Flinty

Thank you for your further communication.

The previous response issued in reply to your earlier correspondence remains Samsung’s official position and statement in respect of such enquiries and we cannot add further comment to this.

As a leading global company, Samsung Electronics takes our social and environmental responsibilities very seriously. We maintain a strict zero tolerance policy on child labour. Since 2012, we have instituted a supplier code of conduct based on Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) guidelines and enforced these policies through the annual self-assessment, on-site audits, and 3rd party audits, which are both regular and unannounced. If a violation is found, contracts with suppliers who use child labour will be immediately suspended.

Kind regards

Sean Archer
Executive Office
President & CEO Escalations

 

Samsung response #1

From: Samsung Customer Support Center
Sent: 26 March 2017 20:21
To: hello@cobaltchildren.org
Subject: [Re]Artisanal mines in DRCongo, Children and cresseurs

Please quote your customer reference number when contacting Samsung
Email response ID: 1134600245

Dear Flinty

As a leading global company, Samsung Electronics takes our social and environmental responsibilities very seriously. We maintain a strict zero tolerance policy on child labour. Since 2012, we have instituted a supplier code of conduct based on Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) guidelines and enforced these policies through the annual self-assessment, on-site audits, and 3rd party audits, which are both regular and unannounced. If a violation is found, contracts with suppliers who use child labour will be immediately suspended,

Kind regards

Samsung President & CEO Escalations
Samsung UK

This is what Amnesty International says:

Companies have a responsibility to mitigate and take corrective measures for the victims if they have failed to respect human rights at any point during their operations… If human rights abuses have occurred at any point in the supply chain, the company must, in cooperation with other relevant actors, such as its suppliers and national authorities, take action to remediate the harm suffered by the people affected.

 

My comment: Sean Archer of Samsung doesn’t clarify whether Samsung’s due dilgence practice to mined cobalt has changed, or whether it is still “impossible” for Samsung to know where their cobalt is sourced from. Therefore, Samsung may well be have used cobalt mined by children like Dorsen. In fact, Dorsen may have contributed directly to Samsung’s profits.

 

My follow-up email to Samsung #3, 18 Aril 2017

Dear Mr Boo-Keun Yoon,

I posted a letter to you on the 4 April 2017. I attach it here again.

I wish to draw your attention to the Sky News report: “Inside the Congo mines that exploit children”. The report deals with the mining of cobalt used in lithium ion batteries in profitable and widely used items such as smartphones and laptops.

The Sky News report features Dorsen, an 8 year old boy who mines cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He works 12 hours a day for as little as eight British pence. This Sky News report triggered the Cobalt Children campaign to ask companies, such as yours, to organize help for these children and creusseurs.

The Sky News report is posted on Facebook has had 43 million views and has been shared over 834,000 times. There are over 150,000 comments.

Here is the link to the report: https://www.facebook.com/skynews/videos/1659591590722098/

I am sure you will agree that this overwhelming response from the general public to the issue of child labour in cobalt mines, and the exploited labour of creusseurs, warrants comment and action from your company.

I appreciate you need to consider your response which I look forward to receiving on or before 1st May, 2017. From now, until that date, Dorsen may have worked 168 hours of hard labour mining cobalt, which may include being beaten, starved and injured. This child, and others like him, need our collective help and they need it soon. We cannot let this issue go on for more years. It shames us all.

Please respond by email to the address provided: hello@cobaltchildren.org

Your response will be shared on the website: www.cobaltchildren.org and on social media. Be assured, I will help in any way I can to assist these children and creusseurs.

Many thanks and kind regards,

Flinty Maguire
www.cobaltchildren.org

Please show your support for Dorsen

Sky News: you describe Dorsen and Richard as “hopeless”, then seem to block all attempts to help them

From: Flinty Maguire, Cobalt Children [mailto:hello@cobaltchildren.org]
Sent: 20 April 2017 17:22
To: ‘news.plan@sky.uk’ <news.plan@sky.uk>; ‘alex.crawford@sky.com’ <alex.crawford@sky.com>
Cc: Kimbilio Ian Harvey (ian@congochildrentrust.org) <ian@congochildrentrust.org>; ‘Catherine Mutindi’ <catherinemutindi@gmail.com>; ‘mark.dummett@amnesty.org’ <mark.dummett@amnesty.org>
Subject: Dorsen and Richard, child cobalt miners, DR Congo
Importance: High

 

Dear Sky News

 

Huayou Cobalt, China, the company which has a history of buying cobalt from artisanal mines using child labour in the DR Congo, (reported on by Alex Crawford of Sky News, February 2017)  has responded to the focus given by Amnesty International’s report and the Sky News report, to begin to offer humanitarian aid to artisanal and child cobalt miners in DR Congo.

 

I am also in the process of discussing the possibility of additional help from corporates, documented on the website www.cobaltchildren.org

 

There are agencies who want to help the children featured in Alex Crawford’s film: Dorsen and Richard. I, and others, have repeatedly requested an approximation of where these boys were filmed in DR Congo so they can be located, if possible, and offered assistance. Alex Crawford promised info and asked for patience, but as yet, she has given no response.  Could you please help? There is a time factor to this.

 

This is a link to the Sky News film which has had 43m views. https://www.facebook.com/skynews/videos/1659591590722098/

 

Ian Harvey, director of the charity Congo Children’s Trust, is travelling to DR Congo in June. He has offered assistance to Dorsen and Richard if they can be located.  Sister Catherine Mutindi of The Good Shepherd Sisters (cited by Amnesty International in the AI report) is also aware of the boys and could offer assistance depending on the location of the boys.

 

Could you please help? It is wrong of Sky News to film and interview these children – describe them as “hopeless” and then gatekeep efforts to offer assistance to them.

 

By all means, respond directly to Ian Harvey of Kimbilio located in Lubumbashi, managed by The Congo Children’s Trust: http://www.kimbiliocongo.org/about-us/who-we-are/ Ian’s email is ian@congochildrentrust.org

 

 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful and a great motivator for all to see these children in a safer and happier situation?

 

Many thanks and kind regards

Flinty

 

Flinty Maguire

www.cobaltchildren.org

Please show your support for Dorsen
Rajeev Suri, CEO Nokia

Gold star goes to Laura Okkonen at Nokia, proving that human life exists behind a corporate brand

I sent out follow-up emails to all the corporates today: Huayou Cobalt Ltd. (this company buys cobalt from traders in DR Congo, who buy from artisanal miners where child labour is used); Samsung, LG, Microsoft, Nokia, Doro, Sony, Acer, Apple, Archos, Lenovo, Google, Blackberry, Vodafone, Volkswagen, Dell, HP and Daimler.

It is AMAZING that 43 million people viewed Dorsen and his friends, child miners in Democratic Republic of Congo Sky News film and it’s been shared 834k times. That shows, beyond doubt, that people find the exploitation of artisanal and child #cobalt miners in the #DRC shocking. We can’t go on in denial that this is happening.

And… joy! I’ve had a polite acknowledgement from Laura Okkonen of Nokia with a promise of a follow-up response. 

Here’s a gold star for Laura.

I’m not sorry to be so effusive. This is such a lift. Thank you Laura of Nokia. I will canvas some ideas and get back to you. I hope Rajeev Suri will be responsive. What a wonderful lead Nokia could take in showing responsibility and care to the Congolese cobalt children and creusseurs.

From: Flinty Maguire, Cobalt Children [mailto:hello@cobaltchildren.org]
Sent: 18 April 2017 21:15
To: ‘Okkonen, Laura (Nokia – FI/Espoo)’ <laura.okkonen@nokia.com>
Cc: ‘mark.dummett@amnesty.org’ <mark.dummett@amnesty.org>; ‘catherinemutindi’ <catherinemutindi@gmail.com>; Kimbilio Ian Harvey (ian@congochildrentrust.org) <ian@congochildrentrust.org>; ‘news.plan@sky.uk’ <news.plan@sky.uk>
Subject: RE: FAO Mr Rajeev Suri, CEO Nokia

Dear Laura

How wonderful that you’ve acknowledged my email. Thank you.  I so hope we can be proactive together.

Wouldn’t it be great to help your customers do positive things for these children and creusseurs?  There are millions of concerned people – consumers – who want to see corporates take a lead.  You are the first person to send me an email and that gives me hope. I shall make sure the world knows there are humans behind the Nokia brand.

Many thanks and all good wishes

Flinty

Ms. Flinty Maguire

www.cobaltchildren.org


From: Okkonen, Laura (Nokia – FI/Espoo) [mailto:laura.okkonen@nokia.com]
Sent: 18 April 2017 16:18
To: hello@cobaltchildren.org
Subject: FAO Mr Rajeev Suri, CEO Nokia

Dear Mr Maguire,

Many thanks for contacting us. We will most definitely come back to you in more detail on the below by May 1st.

In the meanwhile, should there be any additional questions you would like us to provide further insights on in our reply to follow, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Thank you.

Best regards

Laura Okkonen

Laura Okkonen
Corporate Affairs
Nokia Group
Telephone: +358504869100
Email: laura.okkonen@nokia.com


From: Flinty Maguire, Cobalt Children [mailto:hello@cobaltchildren.org]
Sent: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 3:18 PM
To: Services, Press (Nokia – Global) <press.services@nokia.com>
Cc: Dematteo, Carol (Nokia – US/Irving) <carol.dematteo@nokia.com>; Samson, Anne (Nokia – FR/Asnieres-sur-Seine) <anne.samson@nokia.com>; Relations, Government (Nokia – Global) <government.relations@nokia.com>
Subject: FAO Mr Rajeev Suri, CEO Nokia

Dear  Mr Rajeev Suri,

I posted a letter to you on the 4 April 2017. I attach it here again.

I wish to draw your attention to the Sky News report: “Inside the Congo mines that exploit children”.  The report deals with the mining of cobalt used in lithium ion batteries in profitable and widely used items such as smartphones and laptops.

The Sky News report features Dorsen, an 8 year old boy who mines cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He works 12 hours a day for as little as eight British pence. This Sky News report triggered the Cobalt Children campaign to ask companies, such as yours, to organize help for these children and creusseurs.

The Sky News report is posted on Facebook has had 43 million views and has been shared over 834,000 times. There are over 150,000 comments.  

Here is the link to the report: https://www.facebook.com/skynews/videos/1659591590722098/

I am sure you will agree that this overwhelming response from the general public to the issue of child labour in cobalt mines, and the exploited labour of creusseurs, warrants comment and action from your company.

I appreciate you need to consider your response which I look forward to receiving on or before 1st May, 2017.  From now, until that date, Dorsen may have worked 168 hours of hard labour mining cobalt, which may include being beaten, starved and injured. This child, and others like him, need our collective help and they need it soon. We cannot let this issue go on for more years. It shames us all.

Please respond by email to the address provided: hello@cobaltchildren.org

Your response will be shared on the website: www.cobaltchildren.org and on social media. Be assured, I will help in any way I can to assist these children and creusseurs.

Many thanks and kind regards,

Flinty Maguire

www.cobaltchildren.org

Please show your support for Dorsen

Day 9: pushing the #Dorsen campaign forward

Still no news about Dorsen or Richard

Still no news about the location where Dorsen and Richard were filmed. It may be between Kolwezi and Lubumbashi. There must be a reason why Alex Crawford is reluctant to give the location out to the general public. She has a duty of care to keep these boys incognito – and yet there are bona fide charities which would offer assistance to these boys – effectively change their lives. There are funds too. There’s a surplus of around £400 which has been promised to help these children, if they can be located safely.

What I’ve been doing…

I’ve been developing the website. I’ve just about got the structure built now. I think it’s working out.

I’ve contacted Alex Crawford of Sky News and also Tom Cheshire, technical report at Sky News, who used Alex’s film featuring Dorsen and Richard, in his report. Neither have got back. I’m sure they’re busy – Alex travels into remote and dangerous place. I can be patient, but can Dorsen, who works 12 hours a day, sometimes without food and with a headache. Poor little boy.

I’ve written to Fairphone, a company founded on the principle of ethical manufacture of smartphones – and my emails have been returned [press@fairphone.com – unavailable]. Their website is lovely, but it doesn’t provide the info it promises: how to contact the press office. The links send you in a circle. Oh dear. I shall persist. I would love Fairphone to support us, even though they’re already doing their bit. They have a great opportunity to set the best example – that of caring for children who have been used, abused and spat out by the smartphone industry.

The CEOs and me

I’ve posted more letters: to Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler; Michael Dell, CEO of Dell; and Dion Wiesler, CEO of HP. Michael Dell, for example, has a charitable foundation with his wife helping young people develop potential. He seems a good type. It would be wonderful if kids like Dorsen and Richard were given the gift of potential. At the moment, their days are filled with physical and mental anguish. Hopelessness. I wonder what the CEO’s think when they receive my letter. It may go straight in the bin. (God, I hope not.) Perhaps they think I’m a bit of a tree hugger or a hippie. I’m not that interesting. I’m a grandma who looks after my own mum who is in her 90s. I live with my lovely, supportive husband and our two dogs. We love the coast, walking, and trees, though we don’t hug them. Not often. I am desperately sorry for exploited children. I am ashamed that I am part of it. I am persistent. If I start a job, I tend to finish it.

Donations

There’s now an accounts page to keep trace of donations and payments to charities. So far we’ve made a donation to The Good Shepherd Sisters of Kolwezi (the project was visited by Mark Dummett of Amnesty International) and their short documentary of their work is uplifting. They are progressing as a community in health and happiness. It’s great. That donation was 200 Euros (£177.77).

Website: Good Shepherd Sisters, DR Congo

Today I arranged a donation to Kimbilio, a charity helping street children in Lubumbashi – that was £200. Ian Harvey, the founder of Lubumbashi, worked in the DR Congo for 5 years. His aunt has been in DR Congo for over 50 years and he visited her often as a young adult. He saw the plight of street children and set up the project. Ian lives in Manchester, but is going out to DR Congo in June. He has also made enquiries to Alex Crawford of Sky News, and if Dorsen and Richard can be located, he can offer them support – which is brilliant.

Website: www.kimbiliocongo.org/

 

Please show your support for Dorsen

Day 1: Counting the days to actual responses from corporates to the #Dorsen question. Nokia gets points by interacting and liking a tweet. Also: notes on international law

Gold star for Nokia. Dorsen’s day. International law

No judgement here. The paper letters are in the post and will still be in postal bags somewhere. It will take a while for them to be delivered to offices in:

China [Huayou Cobalt and Lenovo], Korea [Samsung and LG Electronics], Taiwan [Acer Inc.], Japan [Sony], Sweden [Doro],  France [Archos], Germany [Volkswagon], Finland [Nokia], Canada [Blackberry], USA [Apple, Google, Microsoft], Finland [Nokia]. The CEO office for Vodafone in Newbury, England, should have received their letter, though.

A star goes to Nokia. So far, Nokia is the only company who has had the courtesy and courage to interact with @MeetDorsen on Twitter.  Thank you, Nokia.

Other companies to write to are:

Dell, HP Inc., Huawei, Daimler AG and BYD in China.

I’ll also be tweeting at companies and posting on their Facebook pages to alert them to this letter.

Context: Dorsen

Reminding people that, today, Dorsen and Richard, and an estimated 40k children toiled in DR Congo cobalt mines. Dorsen, after a 12 hour day, would have earned as little as 8p / 10¢ … or nothing… Dorsen may, or may not eat today. Dorsen may or may not be safe today. 

If companies had added 10p to every unit sold and set it aside for these children –  how much would that have raised today? As a consequence, how many children would eat today? How many would go to school today?  How many shoes would be put on feet today? How many cobalt children might find this so wonderful they would actually smile today?

Reminding people of what international law says

The Amnesty International Report:
This is what we die for

Published January 2016

Excerpts:

COMPANIES’ FAILURE TO MEET INTERNATIONAL DUE DILIGENCE STANDARDS

 

Any company which sources processed ore, and its customers along the supply chain, referred to as “downstream” companies, should be able to trace its suppliers up to the smelters (such as CDM and Huayou Cobalt), and should be fully aware of the due diligence practices of the smelter company. In their letters to Amnesty International, most of these downstream companies referred to general codes of conduct and internal policies, which require suppliers to respect human rights and not employ children. Many of these companies stated that they have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to child labour in their supply chains. However, they did not provide details of specific investigations and checks that they have undertaken to identify and address child labour in their cobalt supply chains. None of the companies said that they had been in touch with Huayou Cobalt, prior to receiving our letter.

Many companies denied sourcing cobalt from the DRC and/or Huayou Cobalt – though they are listed as customers in documents of other companies who are listed as buying from Huayou Cobalt – but did not explain whom they sourced cobalt from. Con­sidering the predominance of cobalt from the DRC in the global market, it is unlikely that all these large companies are not sourcing any cobalt from the DRC. Downstream companies should already be publicly disclosing who their smelters are, as well as their due diligence practices. However, none provided enough detail for Amnesty International to be able to verify their cobalt supply chain or whether they were undertaking all five steps of the OECD Guidance in relation to cobalt.

Under international human rights law, states have a duty to protect against human rights abuses by all actors, including businesses. This requires all governments to enact and enforce laws requiring corporate due diligence and public disclosure in relation to cobalt and other minerals.

Companies in the cobalt supply chain should undertake and publicly disclose their due diligence practices. Companies also have a responsibility to undertake remedial action if human rights abuses have occurred at any point in an existing or past supply chain. The company must, in cooperation with other relevant actors, such as its suppliers and national authorities, remediate the harm suffered by people whose human rights have been abused.

Link to full report >

 

Please show your support for Dorsen

Letters posted to CEOs. Postage £31.90 = more than a year’s “salary” for Dorsen

Today, I printed out the letter to CEOs and put them in envelopes and posted them. The total postage was £31.90. Dorsen earns as little as 8p, or 10¢ day – sometimes nothing. When the Sky News report was filmed, Dorsen hadn’t eaten in two days. He was working a 12 hour day. He’s eight.

Here’s a link to the letter >

It would take Dorsen, earning 8p every day, 398.75 days to earn the amount I spent on postage. That equates to 4,785 hard labour hours to earn £31.90

There is no other way to put this: as consumers of these products and knowing the above fact, we are complicit. If we do nothing to raise our voice against this, we are steeped in evil.

The CEOs I wrote to are: Samsung, Boo-Keun Youn; LG Electronics, Juno Cho; Doro, Robert Puskaric; Archos, Loric Porier; Apple, Tim Cook; Acer Inc., Jason Chen; Blackberry, John S Chen; Google Pixel, Sundar Pichai; Microsoft, Satya Nadella; Lenovo, Yang Yuanqing; Nokia, Rajeev Suri; Sony, Kazuo Hirai; Vodafone Group, Nick Jeffrey; Volkswagen, Matthias Müller, also Xuehua Chen, Chairman of the board, Huayou Cobalt; Bryce Lee, Huayou Cobalt’s Manager of Responsible Supply Chain, China

I’ve  not been able to trace a photo of Xuehua Chen, Chairman of the board at Huayou Cobalt. This company buys cobalt from traders who buy cobalt mined by creusseurs and children. Their moto is. “As heaven’s movement is ever vigorous, so must a gentleman strive ceaselessly to become even stronger.” It’s impossible to reconcile this mission statement with the misery of child labour in the mines.

Quick reminder of why we’re making a fuss:

Knowing what Dorsen goes through, please wonder how Huayou Cobalt has developed these grandiose cultural concepts. The following is quoted from the Huayou Cobalt website.

Be a leader in the global cobalt industry.

Misson: Building a resource-conserving and eco-friendly hi-tech enterprise, and providing cobalt materials with higher value for customers.

Create value through perfect quality and lead the future with innovation.

All for customers and all from customers: …the continuous research of customer demand and the sincere interaction with customers are the foundation for the development of Huayou’s cause. .. efficiently utilize the feedback from customers, scientifically analyze the market demand, and continuously perfect the enterprise’s technology, products and solutions. As a result, the company will better serve customers and make greater contribution to the society.

Constantly strive to become stronger and pursue excellence. Huayou’s people take pride in inheriting and carrying forward the great spirit of Chinese nation – “As heaven’s movement is ever vigorous, so must a gentleman strive ceaselessly to become even stronger”. From the foundation of the enterprise to its present success as an international company, Huayou people have consistently adhered to the enterprising spirit of “diligence and perseverance” and have continuously pursued perfection to endlessly expand the space of development and attain ever higher goals. Constantly strive to become stronger and pursue excellence – this motto has become the powerful moral support to propel the growth and development of Huayou and will continue to inspire all people of Huayou to strive ceaselessly to realize the grand long-term goal.

Marketing Department
TEL:0086-573-88589988
FAX:0086-573-88588726
E-mail:market@huayou.com

Website: http://en.huayou.com

Image: Amnesty International Report: This is what we die for. Published January 2016

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