Berlin, November 30, 2017
According to a report from Reuters, leading car manufacturers have pledged to responsibly purchase raw materials and minerals for the production of electric vehicles. Companies like Toyota and Volkswagen have expressed that they wish to uphold ethical standards in their purchases for an expected boom.
Government crackdowns, rise in pollution levels and the overall push towards EVs is slowly contributing the rise in global demand for minerals such as cobalt, graphite and lithium.
To cover its plans for more than 80 new models by 2025, Volkswagen (VW) alone is looking for partners in China, Europe and North America to provide battery cells and related technology worth more than 50 billion euros. According to the report, talks with major cobalt producers, including Glencore, at VW's Wolfsburg headquarters last week ended without a deal.
More than half of the world's cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country racked by political instability and legal opacity, and where child labour is used in mines.
On Wednesday, a group of 10 leading passenger-car and truck manufacturers announced an initiative to jointly identify and address ethical, environmental, human and labour rights issues in raw materials sourcing.
The partnership dubbed "Drive Sustainability" consists of VW, Toyota Motor Europe, Ford, Daimler, BMW, Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo Cars and truckmakers Scania and Volvo.
The alliance "will assess the risks posed by the top raw materials (such as mica, cobalt, rubber and leather) in the automotive sector," said Stefan Crets of the CSR Europe business network.
"This will allow Drive Sustainability to identify the most impactful activities to pursue" to address issues within the supply chain.