Cobalt unmasked – Is cobalt really a sustainable option?

Cobalt unmasked – Is cobalt really a sustainable option?

In recent years, the demand for cobalt has steadily increased with the development of the electric vehicle market and the digitalized industry. But there are concerns over social and environmental impacts of cobalt extraction. iPoint’s software facilitates and supports you in cobalt reporting.

Cobalt demand driven by the rise of electric vehicles

Cobalt, a by-product of copper and nickel mining, is one of the most significant materials in the global economy. Partly because cobalt is a good conductor of electricity and heat and increases the energy density, it is one of the primary materials used in the production of batteries – batteries that are fueling the rise of consumer goods and electric vehicles (“EVs”).

Unethical truth behind cobalt sourcing

As such, it can be argued that the exponential usage of cobalt in modern manufacturing is surely a laudable tale, making large strides in the economy’s reliance on fossil fuels. But the truth behind the sourcing of cobalt is much more complicated – and bloody.

Globally, the vast majority of cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo and half of the world’s reserves are located there, in a country marked by corruption where minerals all too easily fall into the hands of armed groups and warlords. Under these conditions, human-trafficking, forced labor, modern slavery, and the worst forms of child labor occur with frightening regularity – allegedly to produce the cobalt needed in our new age gadgets and EVs.

Several civil society and media reports detailed instances of child labor and egregious health and safety conditions, particularly in artisanal cobalt mining. These reports, combined with additional factors, made it clear that due diligence on these risks, consistent with international standards, is a priority.

Cobalt Reporting with iPoint Conflict Minerals

iPoint, a member of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), is committed to empowering the global value chain to address these issues. iPoint’s solutions enable companies to create transparency in their supply chains as well as in the procurement of their minerals.

In addition to the Conflict Minerals Reporting Template there is a separate standard developed by RMI for cobalt reporting, the Cobalt Reporting Template (CRT). But companies need not worry that the volume of data could essentially double. With the iPoint Conflict Minerals and its Cobalt add-on module, companies can seamlessly request, analyze and roll in data from both documents – all in the same place. In addition, companies can also request, analyze and roll in data for both standards at different levels: enterprise, product family and product level.

Free White Paper – Cobalt Due Diligence

To learn about cost-effective methodologies for conducting due diligence on the relevant data in your supply chain, download our latest white paper:

Cobalt Due Diligence – How to effectively manage requests from customers for cobalt due diligence data

Tolga Yaprak

Tolga Yaprak

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