ALEXANDRIA, Va., November 14, 2017
The Amnesty International report, “Time to Recharge,” published today highlights persistent challenges for industry supply chains related to responsibly sourcing cobalt from conflict-affected and high-risk areas. Those challenges include identifying, preventing and addressing human rights abuses and hazardous conditions in some cobalt mines – particularly artisanal mines.
The report references the Responsible Business Alliance’s Responsible Raw Materials Initiative (RRMI), which is now part of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI). The RMI works within the framework of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance and to help companies meet legal, customer and government requirements and sourcing expectations of the global community. Acknowledging the OECD Guidance was developed with the expectation of progressive improvement over time, the RMI provides a variety of programs, resources and tools companies can utilize to conduct OECD-aligned due diligence and achieve regulatory compliance.
With international frameworks (e.g., the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, OECD Guidance, and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights) and national legislation (e.g., Dodd-Frank Act Section 1502 and EU Regulation) and input from civil society as our guideposts, RMI’s programs continue to evolve from the initiative’s original scope, to cover a broader set of risks beyond conflict and security issues, minerals beyond tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, and geographies beyond the African Great Lakes Region. This evolution is part of RMI’s journey to collectively promote the common goal of understanding and contributing to mitigating the salient social and environmental impacts of extraction and processing of raw materials in supply chains.
Through its members, the RMI has been working on the responsible sourcing of cobalt as a focus area since early 2017. The RMI aims to create the enabling conditions for companies to carry out their due diligence in accordance with the OECD Guidance by providing common programs, resources and tools. For example, the RMI is working with industry partners to develop a pilot audit program for cobalt refiners. Furthermore, RMI and its members are actively reaching out to cobalt refiners with a view to better understand refiners’ due diligence practices and communicate responsible sourcing expectations. Cobalt refiners are also being asked to complete our Risk Readiness Assessment to help companies better understand performance related to social, environmental and ethical issue areas. Additional information can be found in the RMI’s cobalt overview and progress report.
The RMI regularly engages key stakeholders on cobalt to align efforts across initiatives and work to continuously improve conditions in cobalt supply chains. The RMI also participated in the Amnesty International roundtable on November 14, about this latest Amnesty report, and will continue to engage it and other organizations on these important issues and industry’s efforts to make a positive difference for workers in global supply chains.
Jarrett Bens, Director of Communications
Responsible Business Alliance
Phone: +1 571.858.5721