A total of 11,685 people have signed the ‘gold in your hands’ petition over the last few months. They support the Stop Child Labour coalition asking electronics companies to do more against child labour in gold mining. This petition is the final part of the campaign, which has informed more than 1 million people about what’s wrong in mining gold for consumer electronic products such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops. Stop Child Labour has now shared the outcomes of this petition with international electronics companies, who they have regularly been in contact with throughout this campaign.
As many as 563 children have been taken out of work from the Bougouni gold mines in Mali and helped back to school during this campaign. The percentage of children going to school in this region has increased from 53.7% to 69.4% and 252 children are attending bridge classes. Teachers, local authorities, village chiefs, employers and parents are now working closely together with Stop Child Labour to give all these children a chance.
Responsibility of the electronics industry
The electronics industry uses 279,000 kilos of gold every year worth 10 billion euros making it one of the largest buyers of gold in the world. Even though producers of consumer electronics state that they do not accept child labour, they do not focus enough on eradicating child labour from gold mining. In this campaign, Stop Child Labour has urged electronics companies to use their influence. After all, companies have a due diligence to fight against child labour in their entire supply chain.
Round table with the electronics sector
A round table was organised by Good Electronics, Friends of the Earth and Stop Child Labour about responsible mining for electronics companies. Various international companies took part including Apple, Samsung and Philips. A project is now being worked out in more detail with various electronics companies and NGOs to help eradicate child labour from gold mining. The ultimate goal of the project is for these companies only to use gold from child labour free mines – in all their products.
Picture: @croyable, Eelco Roos, 2016