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Resource Matters report: "See No Evil, Speak No Evil"

Author: Resource Matters & Science Po, Published on: 28 October 2019

Producers of electric vehicles and electronics face a daunting challenge: how does one ethically source cobalt, a key mineral for rechargeable batteries, when the world’s largest producer of this material, Swiss multinational Glencore, makes extremely risky payments to a company sanctioned for corruption?... [T]he companies Glencore sells copper and cobalt to could be exposed to certain risks of complicity or concealment, depending on the jurisdictions they are based in, if they fail to manage the risk arising from these royalties payments... [C]ompanies are expected to set up a system of due diligence with regards to their suppliers, in particular under the OECD Guide on the responsible sourcing of minerals from high-risk areas like Congo... Resource Matters and Sciences Po Paris has identified 14 large companies as probable Glencore customers... [T]he companies have made significant efforts over the past three years to map their cobalt chains. However... these same companies have paid very little attention to corruption in the industrial sector... [C]obalt buyers will only truly contribute to Congo’s macro-economic development if they help ensure that the proceeds of its mining boom benefit the Congolese population rather than a few controversial individuals. To that effect, Resource Matters recommends that companies sourcing directly or indirectly cobalt from Glencore should join forces and request of the company... a number of practical safeguards to limit as much as possible the risk of corruption and embezzlement... [such as] an audit of payments Glencore has made to Gertler-affiliated entities.

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