Chinese industry launches Responsible Cobalt Initiative for action on sustainable cobalt supply

December 19, 2017

The Responsible Cobalt Initiative (RCI), formed in 2016 under the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals and Chemicals Importers & Exporters (CCCMC), has announced that it will formally launch as a legal entity with more than twenty member organisations.

Cobalt is an important raw material in the production of batteries for computers, smartphones and electric vehicles. Due to the growth in these industries, and resulting growth in demand for cobalt, the RCI has been formed to tackle the social and environmental risks throughout the cobalt supply chain. According to the RCI, these challenges are especially acute in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which supplies 60% of the world’s cobalt.

Since the creation of RCI, the member organisations report that they have made progress on transparency, governance of the cobalt supply chain, risk evaluation, ASM formalisation and community development. Now, with the upcoming formal launch of the Responsible Cobalt Initiative, the member organisations state that they will take further concrete action towards the three goals identified at the start of the initiative:

  • Construct and promote a due diligence management system for the cobalt supply chain to increase transparency and improve risk awareness, in compliance with the OECD Due Diligence Guideline for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas, as well as the Chinese Due Diligence Guidelines for Responsible Mineral Supply Chains.
  • Foster co-operation and promote community action in local mining communities to integrate local players into global value chains.
  • Develop effective and transparent communications to provide the public regular visibility on progress made towards our goals, activities and results.

In preparation for the formal establishment of RCI, an evaluation of the initiative’s possible areas of impact was conducted over the past year, and initial measures have already been implemented. Several members of RCI recently commissioned and funded a study conducted and published by the University of Berkeley on Artisanal Mining, Livelihoods, and Child Labor in the Cobalt Supply Chain of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The group is reported to be working with CCCMC and the Responsible Minerals Initiative to co-develop a cobalt audit pragram, including the data management infrastructure necessary to exchange information while maintaining confidentiality. Additionally, the group has commissioned a number of proposals for on-site projects at artisanal mining sites including risk identification and control and remediation of child labour, to address cobalt sustainability at the source.

Representing the complete cobalt supply chain, initiative members include:

  • Apple
  • Beijing Easpring Material Technology Ltd.
  • BMW Group
  • Dell Technology Inc
  • Greatpower Jinchuan Advanced Battery Materials Corp
  • Guangdong Jiana Energy Technology Co. Ltd.
  • Guizhou Zoomwe Zhengyuan Advanced Material Co., Ltd.
  • HP Inc.
  • Huawei Device Ltd.
  • Hunan Shanshan Energy Technology Co. Ltd.
  • Lanzhou Jinchuan Advanced Materials Technology Co. Ltd.
  • L&F
  • LG Chem
  • Nanjing Hanrui Cobalt Co. Ltd.
  • Samsung SDI, Shenzhen Zhenhua E-chem Co. Ltd.
  • Sony Corporation
  • Tianjin B&M Science and Technology Joint-Stock Ltd.
  • Volvo Car Corporation
  • XTC New Energy Materials (Xiamen) Ltd.
  • Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Co., Ltd.

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