Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

Daimler promises to audit cobalt supply ‘to the mine’

Is there such a thing as an ethical electric car?

A day after a CNN investigation into abuses in cobalt mining, the maker of Mercedes cars pledged to investigate its supply chain to ensure child labor is not being used to power its electric vehicles.

“We want to prevent violations of human rights effectively at an early stage, and have created the necessary tools to do so,” said Renata Jungo Brüngger, director of integrity and legal affairs at Germany’s Daimler (DDAIF).

CNN published an investigation on Tuesday showing that children are still working in small, artisanal cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

CNN shared its reporting from the DRC with Daimler on April 3, including evidence that dealers at markets in the DRC were buying cobalt from those small mines without verifying its source and mining method.

Daimler has “explicitly forbidden” child labor in its supply chain for years, but like other carmakers has acknowledged how difficult it is to verify the source of cobalt — a mineral used in lithium-ion batteries.


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