Dem. Rep of Congo: Industry giants fail to tackle child labour allegations in cobalt battery supply chains says new report

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Company response
15 November 2017

Comany responses

Author: Apple, BMW, Daimler, Dell and others

The following companies disagreed with their ranking against at least one of the five criteria: Apple, BMW, Daimler, Dell, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), General Motors (GM), HP, Huawei, Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Co, Hunan Shanshan Energy Technology, L&F Co., Lenovo, LG, Microsoft, Renault, Samsung, Sony, Tesla, Tianjin Lishen Battery Joint-Stock Co., Vodafone, Volkswagen and ZTE.    

The following companies did not respond to AI: Tianjin B&M Science & Technology Joint Stock Co. Ltd., Amperex Technology Co., BYD Co., Coslight Tehcnology International Group, Shenzhen BAKBattery Co;.  

 

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Article
15 November 2017

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Company responses to Amnesty International regarding cobalt in their supply chains

Author: Amnesty International

Amnesty International conducted research into the cobalt due diligence policies and practices of many well-known consumer electronics companies, electric vehicle manufacturers and the companies in their supply chains. As part of the research, Amnesty International contacted these companies and asked about their cobalt supply and their human rights due diligence practices. These were their responses. These responses relate to the report: Time to Recharge: Corporate Action and Inaction to Tackle Abuses in the Cobalt Supply Chain.

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Article
15 November 2017

Industry giants fail to tackle child labour allegations in cobalt battery supply chains

Author: Amnesty International

A new report, Time to Recharge, ranks industry giants including Apple, Samsung Electronics, Dell, Microsoft, BMW, Renault and Tesla on how much they have improved their cobalt sourcing practices since January 2016. It finds that while a handful of companies have made progress, others are still failing to take even basic steps like investigating supply links in the DRC...“Our initial investigations found that cobalt mined by children and adults in horrendous conditions in the DRC is entering the supply chains of some of the world’s biggest brands. When we approached these companies we were alarmed to find out that many were failing to ask basic questions about where their cobalt comes from,” said Seema Joshi, Head of Business and Human Rights at Amnesty International. “Nearly two years on, some of the richest and most powerful companies in the world are still making excuses for not investigating their supply chains. Even those who are investigating are failing to disclose the human rights risks and abuses they find. If companies are in the dark about where their cobalt comes from, so are their customers. “This is a crucial moment for change. As demand for rechargeable batteries grows, companies have a responsibility to prove that they are not profiting from the misery of miners working in terrible conditions in the DRC. The energy solutions of the future must not be built on human rights abuses.”...Time to Recharge assesses the progress that Huayou Cobalt and 28 companies potentially linked to it, or likely buying cobalt from the DRC, have made since the risk of child labour was revealed to them in January 2016. Amnesty assessed company practices according to five criteria that reflect international standards, including the requirement that companies carry out what are known as “due diligence” checks on their supply chain and the requirement that they are transparent about the associated human rights risks. The organization gave each company a rating of “no action”, “minimum”, “moderate” or “adequate” for each criterion. None of the companies named in the report is taking adequate action to comply with international standards. This is despite the fact that all 29 know that human rights risks and abuses are intrinsically linked to cobalt mining in the DRC...Amnesty International wrote to all 29 companies as part of the research process and provided each with an opportunity to comment on our draft findings. The following companies disagreed with their ranking against at least one of the five criteria: Apple, BMW, Dell, Fiat-Chrysler, General Motors, HP, Hunan Shanshan, Microsoft, Sony, Tesla and Tianjin Lishen...

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Report
15 November 2017

Time to recharge: Corporate action and inaction to tacle abuses in the cobalt supply chain

Author: Amnesty International

The report exposed serious human rights abuses in artisanal cobalt mining in southern DRC. Artisanal miners operating outside of authorized mining zones typically lack basic protective or safety equipment, such as respirators, gloves or face protection, and do not enjoy legal protections nominally provided by the state. Those involved with artisanal mining frequently suffer from chronic illnesses, as well as from serious and potentially fatal respiratory diseases due to prolonged exposure to dust containing cobalt and other metals. Researchers found children as young as seven who scavenged for rocks containing cobalt. The report also assessed the extent to which 26 companies had put in place human rights due diligence measures to know where the cobalt in their products came from and the conditions under which it was extracted and traded. This included the upstream company, Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Co., Ltd (Huayou Cobalt), whose wholly owned subsidiary in the DRC, Congo Dongfang International Mining SARL (CDM), is a major buyer from traders of artisanal cobalt in the former province of Katanga in the DRC, and 25 downstream companies that researchers found were potentially buying from Huayou Cobalt, either directly or indirectly. Amnesty International concluded that all 26 companies had failed to conduct human rights due diligence in line with international standards...the majority were unable to answer basic questions about where the cobalt in their products came from and whether there were any risks of the kind observed by researchers..Amnesty International also concluded that there were significant gaps and weaknesses in the DRC government’s regulation of artisanal mining. The DRC government was also failing to adequately enforce the legal prohibition against child labour in artisanal mining.

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