Free pass

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General Meeting of the KW Just Minerals Campaign – August 10th

I’ve been invited to give a presentation at the general meeting of the KW Just Minerals Campaign on August 10th.

The meeting is being held at Seven Shores in Waterloo, and will be starting at 3:30pm.  I should be presenting around 4:30.  My presentation will focus on 1) Conflict Minerals 101, 2) The minerals supply chain, and 3) The impacts the Dodd-Frank Act has had on the DRC.  Time will be set for a Q&A.

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Field Dispatch: The Need for a Single Peace Process in Africa’s Great Lakes Region

From the Enough Project:

This report is based on recent field research conducted by Enough Project field staff in Uganda, at the site of the Kampala Peace Talks, and on the front lines of combat between the Congolese military and M23 rebels near the area of Mutaho, just north of Goma, North Kivu province. It addresses the escalating security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and calls for a single, coordinated peace process to ensure peace in the region. 

By Aaron Hall  | Jul 31, 2013

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Research update

I’m still in the very early stages of research.  Currently conducting research to determine exactly what my research question will be.

The challenge in conducting research related to conflict minerals is that it is a) a fairly new area of research with limited academic sources to go by and b) tracing conflict minerals through a supply chain is difficult if not impossible making it hard to study certain aspects of the minerals trade

My original ambition was to research what impacts conflict-free certification efforts were having on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The original spark that ignited efforts to create a supply-chain free of conflict minerals was to cut funding from armed-rebel groups responsible for violence in the DRC region.  Therefore, it made sense to me that research should look into whether or not those efforts were actually having an impact on the DRC.

However, it quickly became apparent that conducting first-hand research on the DRC would be incredibly difficult.  First, it was likely that the only information I’d be able to gather would come second-hand from NGOs and UN groups working in the country.  While it would be interesting to gather this information, and I often read the reports that come out, it doesn’t serve as good academic research.

Under advisement from my professors I’m now leaning towards looking at indirect impacts of the conflict-free certification programs.  For example, what impact does a conflict-free certification program have on the price of minerals?  This has led me to looking at papers on other certification programs (food, forestry, fish), and the methodology they used to determine indirect impacts.  Can the methodologies in those studies even be applied to conflict-minerals?  After all, a minerals supply-chain is much different than a food supply-chain.

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Conflict Minerals Survey: How are companies preparing

Report on the efforts being undertaken by companies affected by the SEC’s Conflict Minerals Rule. 

Read the report here

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Introductory Post

Hello,

Allow me to introduce myself.  Starting September 2013 I will be joining a new graduate program at the University of Waterloo.  The Masters of Environmental Studies in Sustainability Management.   The program, run by Waterloo’s School of Environment, Enterprise, and Development (SEED), is focused on teaching students to develop environmentally sustainable business practices.  It is a new program and I’m looking forward to being a part of the first generation of students.

Having graduated from the University of Waterloo’s Environment and Business program I’ve been fortunate enough to have already started on some early research for my master’s thesis, which is what the focus of this blog will be.

In my final year of undergraduate studies at UW I worked on a project with several other students.  The project examined the issue of the conflict minerals trade.  (See the About page).  We set out to determine the drivers and barriers to an electronics’ supply chain free of conflict minerals.

Following the end of that research I have continued to work with the professor who advised our group on the project.  My research is still in its very early stages as I have yet to form a research question.  The challenges of doing this may be discussed in future posts.

This blog will serve as a way for me to present information related to the issue of conflict minerals as well as my own thoughts and commentary on the issue.

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