Cobalt Due Diligence
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the world’s largest producer of cobalt and holds more than 50 percent of the global cobalt reserves. Cobalt is used in lithium-ion batteries that form an integral part of electric automobiles, mobile phones and laptop computers. Demand for cobalt is expected to rise significantly over the coming years. Cobalt is extracted in mechanized and artisanal mining operations. Recent reports have highlighted concerns over unsafe working conditions and child labor in artisanal cobalt mining.
In early 2017, RMI members established a workgroup focused on the responsible sourcing of cobalt and in particular risks related to instances of child labor in cobalt mining in the DRC. Through the workgroup, companies are working to increase transparency in cobalt supply chains and engage with supply chain actors to promote the responsible sourcing of this mineral.
What We Do
The RMI works to create the enabling conditions for companies to exercise due diligence over cobalt supply chains in accordance with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance:
- Strong management systems: The RMI works to consolidate and represent the downstream voice on responsible cobalt sourcing. In addition, the RMI supports member companies’ efforts to identify cobalt refiners in their supply chains by providing harmonized tools and resources. These include:
- Publicly available reporting template with a list of cobalt refiners;
- Agreed upon definition for cobalt refiner;
- Vetting process to confirm cobalt refiners (based on agreed-upon definition) using a standardized data collection form and including a multi-stakeholder review process;
- Publically available global cobalt refiner list;
- Coordinated cobalt refiner outreach effort.
- Risk assessment: The Risk Readiness Assessment tool assists members in gaining a more detailed understanding of cobalt refiners performance across more than 30 issue areas.
- Risk mitigation: The RMI continues to support joint efforts for member companies to mitigate risks in supply chains by providing guidance and resources as needed to increase leverage and build capacity of suppliers and cobalt refiners.
- Independent third-party audit: Together with its partners, the RMI is establishing an independent assurance process for cobalt refiners that is aligned with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance, with a view to provide validated information on refiners’ due diligence and sourcing practices.
- Public reporting: The RMI supports members’ public reporting through activity and program summaries as well as through RMI’s work on the identification of cobalt refiners.
For more details on our cobalt-related activities, please refer to the documents below:
- Overview of cobalt related activities (August 2017)
- RMI Progress Report (August 2017)
- Statement on Amnesty International’s report “Time to Recharge” (November 2017)
- RMI Statement on Due Diligence Frameworks
- RMI Statement on Cobalt Mining Challenges in the DRC and other high-risk areas
Pilot Cobalt Refiner Supply Chain Due Diligence Standard
The China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemicals Importers & Exporters (CCCMC), the Responsible Cobalt Initiative (RCI) and the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) share a common objective to ensure the responsible production, trade and processing of cobalt. To this effect, CCCMC, the RCI and the RMI collaborate on the implementation of a cobalt refiner assurance process.
CCCMC, the RCI and the RMI collaborated to develop the Pilot Cobalt Refiner Supply Chain Due Diligence Standard.
This Standard will be used for a pilot assurance process for cobalt refiners. The pilot assurance process for cobalt refiners will be refined and updated throughout 2018, taking into account the result of the pilot and implementation of the pilot standard. The parties welcome your feedback throughout the pilot process, which can be provided by contacting the individuals listed below.
Companies that are participating in the pilot process are listed here.
Any questions on this program and the consultation process can be directed to the following contacts:
Contact Michèle Brülhart at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.