When the term Ethical Oil began to catch on among Canadians — and Americans — who intrinsically recognized the importance of oil produced in a country free of human rights abuses, institutionalized misogyny, and terror support, the anti-oil sands critics tried laughing it off. Oil couldn’t possibly be ethical, they harrumphed — no matter where it came from. They ignored the fact that whether or not they personally hated oil, the world would keep using it at a rate of about 90 million barrels a day, and that oil was going to be supplied by someone: better it should be a country that doesn’t torture, rape, abuse, bomb, and murder its people to keep conflict oil flowing.
Intel, the processing chip giant, understands the logic behind that. This month Intel announced in its corporate social responsibility report that it would aim to build an entirely “conflict-free” CPU by next year — “a chip free of rare-earth metals that are most commonly mined for in environmentally irresponsible ways, such as in China, or from areas, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the human cost of mining is extraordinarily high.”
As it happens, Canada happens to be a source of some of the key minerals chipmakers have been sourcing from China and other conflict areas, as the tech blog Hardware Canucks points out. “Could this push for conflict free processors …be a boon for Canada’s rare-earth mining sector?” it asks.
Most likely the answer is yes. And as more companies follow Intel’s lead in working to eliminate conflict resources from their supply chain, you can be sure that Canada’s Ethical Oil will be a natural fit, too.