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Conflict Minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Part of the Pentalemma Series on Managing Global Dilemmas

Dylan Scudder

Against the backdrop of an increasingly globalized business environment, this book provides readers with a pragmatic approach to international management of complex issues that arise from the tension between fiduciary and ethical priorities. If the challenge of management is making decisions in situations of uncertainty, Conflict Minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the ultimate test of finding business solutions in extremely volatile situations. Based on firsthand experience and years of rigorous research, this book leverages a real-world case of a global tech company grappling with the dilemma of whether to continue sourcing a vital mineral in the conflict-affected region of the Democratic Republic of Congo at the risk of ruining its reputation or to suffer the immediate financial consequences of pulling out. Putting readers in the role of consultants to a client operating in the area lets them experience defining moments of managing with limited information, time pressure and a dwindling budget. Almost as if „parachuting“ into an escalating conflict scenario, readers form critical relationships with characters that introduce them to management tools and techniques they need to arrive at a successful conclusion. The excitement and intensity of Conflict Minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo equips business leaders of today and tomorrow with valuable know-how they can apply to the uncertainties of everyday business in an international context.

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2. Analyzing Costs and Benefits

Extract

Chapter Two

Analyzing Costs and Benefits

Your first year in the DRC was successful. In the end, SD decided to pursue Option E. The media response was very positive:

“People are calling this innovative initiative the ‘South Kivu Experiment.’ This new model for development and security will help to redesign the South Kivu government and economy. The investment required from all the parties is significant. It will also require close cooperation, but finally it seems that the NGOs, CEOs and the DRC authorities have reached an agreement. Thanks to the creativity and hard work on all sides, there is once again hope on the horizon for DRC.”

Unfortunately, however, there is now new criticism that over 90% of the lowland gorilla population has been destroyed because of big businesses like SD. The selling price for one kilo of coltan is now over $200. It is near the surface so that anybody can dig it up without a machine. Thousands of people are coming to the DRC to find and sell it.

For food, these miners eat the gorillas living in the nearby forests. NGOs say, “It’s because consumers around the world are buying ←31 | 32→electronics, and global electronics companies want to make a profit. Soon, the last gorillas will be killed—the lowland gorilla will become extinct!”

A media storm followed the release of a controversial documentary film about the rapid decline of the lowland gorilla, linking...

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