Ford, Huayou & LG Chem commit to ensure minerals from the Dem. Rep. of Congo are not from conflict zones or mined using child labour
Author: Andrea Hotter, Metal Bulletin (UK), Published on: 4 February 2019
“MINING INDABA: Ford, Huayou Cobalt in blockchain project to monitor DRC cobalt supplies” 4 February 2019.
Automaker Ford Motor Co, China's Huayou Cobalt and South Korean battery supplier LG Chem have joined forces in a blockchain project to monitor cobalt supplies from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), an executive at Ford said. Using technology by IBM and overseen by responsible-sourcing group RCS Global, Ford and its partners are working to ensure that the cobalt used in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles has not been produced in conflict zones or mined using child labor. “It’s step one,” said Ted Miller, Ford’s senior manager for energy storage strategy and research. “We still do auditing, we still do actual site visits, but this is allowing us to use and take advantage of technology,” he told Fastmarkets during an on-stage interview at the 25th Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa.
… We realize there are risks we have to manage, so we really look at this holistically and ensure that any materials we use have accountability, and that you can demonstrate the accountability; that’s a commitment we made to our customers and to our shareholders, including local communities and employees like me at Ford,” Miller said.
… While he acknowledged that the supply chain is complex and that tracking it at every step could be difficult, Miller said he expected the initiative to motivate change throughout the industry. “You’re running a risk if you’re trying to fool the system. We look at that as a key sourcing decision, so our suppliers have every reason to ensure they don’t lose our business too, and that flows throughout the chain,” he told Fastmarkets. “We’re not naïve to think it’s infallible. It’s just employing technology to try to do more, and ultimately when it becomes more, it becomes really hard to do anything in a dark corner.”