The artisanal mining sector in West and Central Africa is a rapidly expanding economic force employing millions of young people, often those who are the most vulnerable. Numerous ancillary informal economies are associated with the export of what are commonly known as “conflict minerals” such as diamonds, gold and coltan. Women grow crops and process food for the labor force of young men digging deep into the ground to pull out the ore and precious metals and stones.
The announcement of the winners of this year’s Goldman Environmental Prize is an opportunity to celebrate activist leaders. But it is also a moment to recognize just how much courage their efforts (and those of a great many others) can demand.
I wouldn’t say Chinese investors are not trying to take social responsibility seriously, but they must understand that the meaning of responsible investment is much more than a few corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.