“Not responsible” raw materials? At risk of exploitation of workers or of an unsustainable production chain? Volkswagen Group takes stock at home.
Raw materials at risk: lithium, cobalt and 14 others on the list
Last year the German group had published the first Responsible Raw Materials Report (Report on responsible raw materials). Describing in detail their methodologies and activities within a new framework of “due diligence “. The This year’s report, with data referring to 2021, claims important progress and explores future challenges. The report focuses on 16 high-risk commoditiesincluding materials for batteries of electric vehicles such as lithium And cobalt. In most cases, the highest risks to human rights and the environment relate to the early stages of the supply chain. At a level where the same Home automotive it has no direct contractual relationships, making it difficult to guarantee transparency and application of standards.
Stop deep-sea mining
In the report, the Volkswagen Group discloses for the first time the list of foundries included in the supply chain for tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold. With their respective countries of origin. In 2021, the Group specifies that it has defined the requirements of sustainability even more binding for i providers, including, inter alia, materials such as leather and natural rubber. In addition, you have joined the commitment to define a moratorium on activities mining in deep water, which arise risks environmental potentially serious. In addition to the “Global platform for the sustainable management of natural rubber“(Global Platform for Susteinable Natural Rubber – GPSNR). In parallel, supporting the development of reporting requirements for companies in the supply chain of eraser.
For lithium “responsible” projects in Chile and Australia
At the beginning of 2021, the Volkswagen Group and other partners activated the Responsible Lithium Partnership. Starting a project in the Salar de Atacamain Chilewhich together withAustralia is one of the two regions in which the Group purchases the lithium. The partnership involves different sectors and they are also part of it BASF, Daimler and Fairphone. The goal is “Facilitate a common understanding of the status quo and define a shared vision for the salt flats in this area. Developing a joint action plan to improve long-term natural resource management and fostering dialogue between stakeholders locals”. Thanks to this project, according to VW, in 2021 two mines locals have made a commitment to obtain certification according to the IRMA standard. The goal now is to involve a greater number of stakeholders across the board chain of the value of the battery. Promoting the achievement of certifications “based on reliable industrial standards “.
Raw materials: for cobalt “controlled supply”
The Group Volkswagen buy the cobalt in Australia, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Russia and Turkey. In 2019 it activated a mapping and audit program for thesupplying responsible of the cobalt, in close cooperation with two main suppliers. Over 200 have been identified through this program providers and subsequently, with an approach based on risk assessment, priority was assigned to 25 of these with the aim of subjecting them to audit from supplying responsible aligned with OECD standards (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). The results did not reveal critical violations of the rights humans and most of the suppliers performed well. In general, the Group Volkswagen constantly requires its partners to improve their respective policies, and related systems, of risk prevention and management.
From the mine to the cell: Code of conduct and racing
Another key priority in 2022 is to intensify collaboration with companies in the chain from supply of the batteries, from mining to production of the cell. The adhesion of the Group to theResponsible extraction insurance initiative (Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance, IRMA). With a commitment to the phased implementation of the IRMA standards in their battery supply chains. All in all Murat AkselVW Purchasing Manager, is confident about the progress made: “We are leading by example in identifying, assessing and mitigating the risks associated with rights humans and guarantee supplies responsible of raw materials. On the other hand, we have high expectations of ours partner commercial And providers in terms of sustainability. Our relations commercial they have non-negotiable foundations. Like our Code of Conduct for Business Partners, the Sustainability rating and the grievance mechanism“.
IN OUR OPINION. After Dieselgate, Volkswagen cannot afford to make mistakes and relies on transparency to avoid further stumbling blocks. He knows that the subject of raw materials is slippery and that the Environmental associations and for the protection of human rightsi have the shotgun pointed. As it should be.
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