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19 Jun 2021

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Chile: Responsible Lithium Partnership by German companies aims to promote sustainable development, contribute to the reduction of negative impacts and strengthen human rights

“Cross-sector partnership to promote sustainable materials sourcing in Chile”, 11 June 2021

...The Responsible Lithium Partnership is being funded by Daimler, Volkswagen Group, BASF and Fairphone (a smartphone developer). According to the partnership, it aims to promote sustainable development, contribute to the reduction of potential negative impacts of material sourcing and strengthen the protection of human rights. The partnership is starting out by looking at battery material sourcing in Chile...Carmakers and their battery suppliers are now vying for materials that are already in high demand from other sectors, including consumer electronics. However, traceability of raw materials used in the production of lithium-ion batteries is one of the main sustainability challenges faced by carmakers and electronics producers alike. Environmental and human rights issues are now central concerns in the sourcing and supply of raw materials for electric vehicle production...The partnership aims to build a multi-stakeholder platform that involves indigenous communities, government institutions, mining companies and others, with the aim of improving a long-term integrated natural resource management for the area and better understanding of what the impact of continued lithium mining will be on the watershed of Salar de Atacama. The partnership said its members did not aim to facilitate the sourcing of lithium or the purchase or sale of any raw material. The partnership also aims “to synthesise and verify available technical data, improve on it if necessary, and increase accessibility”. The companies have engaged Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (Giz) – a German development agency that provides services in the field of international development cooperation and international education work – to coordinate the stakeholders involved...