Amnesty International is urging companies to follow the lead of companies such as Apple, BMW and Samsung, which publish data on their use of cobalt throughout the supply chain.
Under Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, publicly-traded companies in the United States are required to disclose the use of tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold (3TGs) in their products and determine if the minerals are sourced ethically. The 3TGs are known as conflict minerals due to their prevalence in conflict-affected regions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and adjacent regions. Before Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act went into effect, those close to the legislation believed cobalt would actually be the fifth conflict mineral covered given its abundance in the DRC, and its burgeoning use as an alloy and in lithium-ion batteries.
Ultimately, cobalt wasn’t included in the regulation, but it remained on the radar of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), industry groups and companies reliant on the metal. With concerns about human rights violations in the cobalt mining process, companies have started to adopt cobalt into existing responsible minerals programs outside of legislative mandates.
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During the Nordic Electric Vehicle (EV) Summit in Oslo, Norway, Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, encouraged companies to conduct due diligence on cobalt in their supply chain and publish their supply chain data, Lithium-ion batteries are an essential part of EV manufacturing and a key driver in the demand for cobalt.
With 60 percent of cobalt being sourced from the DRC, a lack of transparency poses real risks to companies with the metal in their supply chain. Tracing the origin of the mineral may be difficult, but is an essential step to verifying the cobalt was mined ethically. Working with suppliers to identify source material and collecting cobalt refinery names is an essential part of any companies due diligence program, and the publishing supply chain data encourages upstream parties in the mining process to be more vigilant with documentation.
Leveraging data is an integral part of a responsible minerals program. Assent offers a proven supply chain data management solution for many compliance challenges. Find out how the Assent Platform can help you achieve your corporate social responsibility program goals by contacting us today.