Leading automakers consisting of Volkswagen and Toyota vowed on Wednesday to support ethical and socially accountable standards in their purchases of minerals for an anticipated rise in electric vehicle production.
Need for minerals such as cobalt, graphite and lithium is expected to skyrocket in the coming years as government works on reducing vehicle pollution and automakers step up their investments in electric models.
To cover its preparation for over 80 new models by 2025, Volkswagen alone is looking for partners in China, Europe and North America to supply battery cells and related innovation worth over 50 billion euros ($59 billion).
Talks with significant cobalt producers, consisting of Glencore, at VW’s Wolfsburg headquarters last week ended without a deal.
Over half of the world’s cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo. On Wednesday, a group of 10 leading passenger-car and truck manufacturers revealed an initiative to jointly recognize and resolve ethical, ecological, human and labor rights concerns in raw materials sourcing.
The collaboration called “Drive Sustainability” consists of Volkswagen, Toyota Motor Europe, Ford, Daimler, BMW, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo Cars and truckmakers Scania and Volvo.
The alliance “will evaluate the risks presented by the top raw materials (such as mica, cobalt, rubber and leather) in the automobile sector,” stated Stefan Crets of the CSR Europe service network.
“This will permit Drive Sustainability to identify the most impactful activities to pursue” to resolve problems within the supply chain.