"Especially before christmas, you should think about how products are made and whether other people are exploited in the process," niebel said in an interview with dpa. "Whoever buys a t-shirt for 99 cents must know that not much of this money will reach the manufacturer."But such aspects should also play a role when buying electronic devices or other gifts.
At the same time, the minister appealed to the industry to provide better information about the production conditions in its supplier factories. After the recent fire disasters in asian low-wage countries, consumers in germany have become more attentive, he said. "The industry must create more transparency before future christmas. This benefits sales of the company’s own products, the image of the company and the people who are employed in the production chain." fires in bangladesh and pakistan recently killed more than 350 textile workers.
Niebel called for the production conditions of goods to be made clear through quality seals and certificates. "At present, it is not always easy to determine whether goods come from a production facility where social standards or environmental standards are observed."The FDP politician admitted, however, that even with certificates there is no one hundred percent certainty.
"It can still be that there is blood coltan in a cell phone or laptop," niebel said. "Even if we do on-site certifications here, the individual components of the device are not described to you as a consumer."
The ore coltan – an important basic material for cell phones – is extracted from the earth for the world market under extremely poor working conditions in the democratic republic of congo. In the border regions with burundi, rwanda and uganda, bloody conflicts over the expensive raw materials occur time and again. That’s probably why people also talk about "blood coltan".