A new coalition of top auto manufacturers has publicly pledged to maintain a high degree of adherence to ethical standards when sourcing the minerals and raw materials that will be needed to fuel a surge in electric vehicle production figures, according to reports.
The new group — named “Drive Sustainability” and composed of Daimler, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen, Honda, Ford, BMW, Volvo Cars, Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo Trucks, and Scania — will be working to identify “and address ethical, environmental, human and labor rights issues in raw materials sourcing,” as reported by Reuters.
With regard to the minerals in question, many of them are sourced from regions where standards with regard to human and environmental rights are lax or nonexistent. The situation with cobalt sourcing is a good example — over half of the world’s cobalt is sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where child labor, slave labor, and a lack of environmental protections are realities for some.
Reuters provides more: “Demand for minerals such as cobalt, graphite and lithium is forecast to soar in the coming years as governments crack down on vehicle pollution and carmakers step up their investments in electric models.
“To cover its plans for more than 80 new models by 2025, Volkswagen (VW) alone is looking for partners in China, Europe, and North America to provide battery cells and related technology worth more than €50 billion ($59 billion). Talks with major cobalt producers, including Glencore at VW’s Wolfsburg headquarters last week ended without a deal.”
The group will also be assessing risks associated with mica, rubber, and leather sourcing — meaning that perhaps auto manufacturers will collectively finally stop sourcing the mica used to make shiny paints from debt slave and child labor operations in some of the poorer parts of the world.