Should retailers that have their name on a product be responsible for how the product is made?

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The Wall Street Journal highlighted the issue of conflict minerals in an article entitled “Retailers Fight to Escape ‘Conflict Minerals’ Law.” Retailers, including Walmart and Target, are protesting part of a new US law that requires companies to verify that products with minerals from Central Africa are not taxed or controlled by rebel regimes: “Some of the largest U.S. retailers argue they shouldn’t have to comply with the rule if they don’t exercise direct control over the manufacturing of goods carrying their own brands….Tracing the source of minerals is a tricky task, companies say, because many intermediaries stand between them and the mines.” [2] Based on what you learned in this chapter and the sidebar on conflict diamonds in Angola, do you agree or disagree with the statement above and the retailers’ position? Why or why not? Should retailers that have their name on a product be responsible for how the product is made?

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