Responsible and sustainable sourcing of battery raw materials | European Commission

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Used in e-mobility and electronics, batteries are essential to achieve the EU objective of decarbonisation of the economy and other challenges related to sustainable development. Several policy initiatives have been issued and others are under discussion to promote sustainable and competitive production of batteries in the EU. Recently, various stakeholders highlighted social risks related to supply chains of batteries and in particular in regard to the provision of raw materials. Cobalt is especially concerning when it comes to human rights abuses, child labour and life-threatening working conditions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). That country provides around 60 % of the global supply, a significant proportion of it originating from artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) operators. Reports from non-governmental organisations (NGOs), international organisations and media on this topic have increased in number since 2016, and the issue is now more visible than in 2007, when the first reports on the sector emerged. At the same time, responsible sourcing initiatives have been launched and implemented for cobalt and other materials, most of them aligned with the OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] due diligence guidance for responsible supply chains of minerals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas (OECD Guidance). 



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