Global Witness, an international non-profit organisation that monitors links between natural resources and corruption, has made us explicitly aware of Talc, one of the most corrupted minerals in our beauty products (Stavridis, 2018). Through their extensive research and campaigning they hope to end environmental and human rights abuses driven by exploitation of natural resources by ‘fearlessly confronting corruption’ and challenging the systems that enable it (Global Witness, 2018).
They have hard hitting investigations that reveal who is stealing money, where they are hiding it…they fight for justice; especially for people such as Safdigul Shirzad, who works tirelessly in a talc mine day in day out in Markikhail, within the Nangarhar’s Shizad district, a small village that occupies the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan (Jabarkhail, 2018).
After being inspired by Global Witness’ campaigning for justice, multiple news outlets have raised awareness of the extent of corruption that the mining of Talc entails. It is the source of significant corruption in Afghanistan, and could be worth as much as $1 trillion (Stavridis, 2018). It is used in all sorts of things, from baby powder to plastics, who knew…. However, research undertaken by Global Witness has revealed that almost all Afghan talc has strong connections to insurgency, in the form of powerful, extreme terrorist organisations such as the Taliban and the Islamic State (Global Witness, 2018). They have fought and continue to fight over the Talc mines due to the significant potential generation of great wealth, which will ultimately fund their disgustingly destructive actions. Global Witness revealed that the Taliban are estimated to be making around $300 million a year from mining Talc (Global Witness, 2018). This is a prominent example of mineral mining ‘enriching an unscrupulous few’ (Leon, 2018, np). So, we could assume that by buying cosmetic products such as the Naked Palette, we could be indirectly contributing to extensive terrorist activity.
The Talc mined in Afghanistan is normally shipped to Pakistan and combined with their locally mined Talc that makes up 60% of Talc exports globally (Global Witness, 2018), and 80% of all these exports end up in American or European products (Global Witness, 2018); they are ultimate target markets (Stavridis, 2018)
Consequently, by creating an online shop dropping advert, we are directly connecting with one of the Global Witness’ most current and prominent activist campaigns, in an attempt to shock the consumers of the Naked eyeshadow palette and products very similar to it, that they do contain ingredients with a tainted and corrupt history that everyone should be aware of. By promoting our version of the Naked Palette through social media platforms and a beauty tutorial, we hope to display the corrupt nature of make up production to consumers and help them uncover the connections they have with the lives they are affecting by fuelling the mining of talc. This should be a wake-up call to consumers, such as us, that we need a tighter control on supply chains and reforms to the mining sector that is help funding a damaging global conflict that has gone on for far too long (Global Witness, 2018) and ruined too many lives.
Read the Global Witness report on Talc mining here
Follow the campaign on instagram @moraldecaycosmetics