Mr. Rajeev Suri, CEO of Nokia: Will you help these cobalt children, please? Children like Dorsen have helped companies make lots of profit. Dorsen works 12 hours a day for as little as 8p or 10̔¢. This is slave labour and a human rights abuse. Your help would be appreciated. Your company would be lauded.
Will Rajeev Suri, CEO of Nokia help #Dorsen and the Congolese cobalt children?
28 April 2017: Nokia's response from Laura Okkonen regarding Dorsen and Richard, child cobalt miners in the DR Congo: no practical help offered. We have written back...
Email response received from Laura Okkenon of Nokia, for which we thank her. Unfortunately, her letter makes no reference to Dorsen or Richard, child cobalt miners, or what Daimler can do to help these children in a practical sense.
The points Laura Okkonen made were:
Nokia has a passion to be a good 'corporate citizen'.
Nokia has zero tolerance to the use of child labour.
Tracing cobalt is tricky. (Comment: Child cobalt mining in the supply chain has been documented for years and corporates have been aware of this).
Nokia no longer makes mobile phones but still produces other electonic equipment.
Nokia expects suppliers to initiate due diligence activities in the sourcing of cobalt (Comment: this implies a futuristic activity).
Nokia is working with Save the Children; trying to address the root causes of child labour.
Our Cobalt Children letter explains:
Individuals, like me, can raise a little money to aid Congolese artisanal and child miners*, but it’s a drop in the ocean. Fundraising needs to be sustained on a large scale.
Countless consumers do care, but we need organising. You company can add value to goods by aligning them with fair trade and ethical practice, giving consumers the choice to pay more at the point of sale in the form of a donation, or by purchasing something extra (a lapel pin, a badge, a case marked #conflictminerals #DRCongo; there are endless possibilities), or by purchasing goods branded for the purpose of raising funds for Congolese welfare. Such funds could be directed to on-the-ground field workers and established projects and charities.
Is your company proactive and willing to participate?
Our conclusion on Nokia's response:
Laura Okkenon of Nokia does not address the key point in our letter: to fundraise and organise practical help for Dorsen, Richard and the cobalt children. No help is offered.
Good to know that Nokia say they take the issue of the human rights abuses of cobalt children and creusseurs seriously. We need PRACTICAL HELP for Dorsen, Richard and the cobalt children. They need practical help for: food, shelter, clothes, schooling and their general welfare.
Second email sent: 28 April 2017.
Our question: Will Nokia support our fundraising project to help Dorsen, Richard and the cobalt children?
From: Flinty Maguire, Cobalt Children [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: 28 April 2017 15:14 To: 'Okkonen, Laura (Nokia - FI/Espoo)' <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Dorsen and Richard, Cobalt children, DR Congo
Thank you for your email. I understand from corporates that there is a zero tolerance policy to child labour; that there is research into supply chains and that, in reality, it is difficult to trace the source of cobalt. The answers I am receiving from corporates are similar to the answers received by Mark Dummett of Amnesty International, when he sought clarification on cobalt sourcing for his report: This Is What We Die For, published January 2016.
However, I asked for specfic help in fundraising for cobalt children, including Dorsen and Richard, who spoke of their miserable existence in Alex Crawford's Sky News film. This film, posted on Facebook, has received over 44 million views. There are over 836,000 shares.
An update on the Dorsen and Richard situation. We have canvased the support of Sky News. A member of the Sky News team hopes to visit DR Congo next week to liaise with the director of Kimbilio, a project based in Lubumbashi. Kimbilio is supported by the registered children's charity: Congo Children Trust, founded by Ian Harvey of the UK. The charity supports street children and children forced to work mines. I am in direct contact with Ian Harvey and Nick Ludlam. There is a plan to try to locate Dorsen and Richard and make an assessment of their needs. Sky News may cover this story again if we can make progress. Not only do we plan to offer assistance to Dorsen, Richard and other children, but we can, collectively, highlight the issue of child cobalt and artisanal mining in the DR Congo again.
Don't you think that helping us to fundraise for these children will be good for your company and your corporate soul?
Please will you help us raise funds for Dorsen and Richard and the cobalt children? It's practical help they need: relief from 12 hour days, beatings, starvation, hard labour, health threats. Academic research, conferences, corporate responses have their place, but these children need our practical help now.
I look forward to your reply which will be published on www.cobaltchildren.org
Many thanks and kind regards
Flinty Maguire (Ms)
28 April 2017: Nokia's response via Laura Okkonen. Disappointing and not answering key questions.
From: Flinty Maguire, Cobalt Children [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: 18 April 2017 21:15 To: 'Okkonen, Laura (Nokia - FI/Espoo)' <firstname.lastname@example.org> Cc: 'email@example.com' <firstname.lastname@example.org>; 'catherinemutindi' <email@example.com>; Kimbilio Ian Harvey (firstname.lastname@example.org) <email@example.com>; 'firstname.lastname@example.org' <email@example.com> Subject: RE: FAO Mr Rajeev Suri, CEO Nokia
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.
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.
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.
Flinty Maguire, Cobalt Children [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: 28 March 2017 17:37 To: 'email@example.com' <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: FOA Nokia CEO, Mr Rajeev Suri. Concerning human rights abuses of artisanal and child cobalt miners in the DR Congo.
May I ask you to forward this email on the your CEO, Rajeev Suri. Apologies for an earlier email with the wrong subject header. I think I need some coffee!
FOA Mr Rajeev Suri, CEO
Dear Mr. Rajeev Suri
May I ask you to read my attached letter? It concerns the people who mine cobalt in DR Congo. Many reports concerning this issue have been documented. A recent Sky News report by Alex Crawford, showed children and adults working in artisanal cobalt mines. The report showed children being terribly exploited, and made it clear that the cobalt mined by them may be in the products I value.
It is not enough to eradicate children and artisanal miners from the supply chain. These people are poor and desperate. They have contributed to the success of companies, using lithium-ion batteries in their products, and continue to do so. There are customers, myself included, who want to be ethical, fair and compassionate. We need your corporate power to organise our efforts to raise funds for the cobalt children and artisanal miners. Such customers would appreciate and value a company which opens up the dialogue of Human Rights abuses, and does something practical to help.
I have studied the Amnesty International report: This is what we die for (2016). Companies buying cobalt from Huayou Cobalt, Ltd found themselves unable to trace the source of the cobalt back to the mines in DR Congo, and therefore child labour was a possibility, considering that 20% of the DR Congo’s cobalt is produced by artisanal mines, which use child labour. Your company is not referenced in the Amnesty International document. However, that does not preclude your support on this matter. We should all be concerned about these issues, and it would be wonderful if companies, such as yours, opened up the dialogue of human rights abuses, and offered some practical help.I would ask you, please, to read my attached letter and answer the four questions that I pose. Your response will be published on the website http://cobaltchildren.org/20170317_Do_smartphone_companies_care.html