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Daimler promises to audit cobalt supply to ensure child labour not used to power its electric vehicles

Author: Mark Thompson, CNN, Published on: 3 May 2018

"Daimler promises to audit cobalt supply 'to the mine'"

A day after a CNN investigation into abuses in cobalt mining, the maker of Mercedes cars pledged to investigate its supply chain to ensure child labor is not being used to power its electric vehicles. "We want to prevent violations of human rights effectively at an early stage, and have created the necessary tools to do so," said Renata Jungo Brüngger, director of integrity and legal affairs at Germany's Daimler...CNN shared its reporting from the DRC with Daimler on April 3, including evidence that dealers at markets in the DRC were buying cobalt from those small mines without verifying its source and mining method. Daimler has "explicitly forbidden" child labor in its supply chain for years, but like other carmakers has acknowledged how difficult it is to verify the source of cobalt -- a mineral used in lithium-ion batteries.

 BMW told CNN last month that it was considering buying cobalt directly from miners to avoid operations that exploit children. Volkswagen -- which has plans to launch dozens of new electric cars has introduced new rules for all its suppliers to ensure there's no child labor in the supply chain.  Daimler said on Wednesday it would work with 1,500 suppliers worldwide to raise sustainability standards in the supply chain "to the next level" as part of a new approach the company called "the Human Rights Respect System." A company spokesman said it had started work on the new system in 2013. "We actively create transparency in the supply chain, right down to the mine if necessary," said Sabine Angermann, head of purchasing and supplier quality for raw materials and strategy at Mercedes-Benz cars.

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Related companies: DaimlerChrysler (now Daimler)