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Tackling the cobalt issue with impact

Friday, December 16, 2016

[Brussels, Belgium, December 16, 2016]

On November 30, CSR Europe organised a business roundtable in Brussels on ‘Tackling the cobalt issue with impact’.

The event saw companies from the automotive, electronics, telecom, chemical, cobalt processors, mining and tyre manufacturers sectors come together with international organisations like the OECD to raise more awareness and understanding and to discuss how to address the current situation in artisanal and large-scale cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

During the meeting the participants discussed individual and joint actions including due diligence, transparency enhancement and capacity building.  The participants also explored how collaboration could increase the impact of their own activities that are currently running in DRC.

The main messages were:

  • Coordinated action and coordination – instead of duplication – among actors involved and organisations already working on the ground.
  • Companies are willing to engage and collaborate in addition to their own activities
  • Commitment to action is agreed upon. Tools for due diligence (more verification than certification) are in place and companies are willing to discuss their approach with others that are new to this journey. Capacity building needs to be further developed, also replicating existing successful projects
  • Further work is needed to get validation on the ground from local people as well as government. To this end understand/identify the root causes and address them is key, including finding the right incentives and legal structures that allow for good governance and drive real change
  • Measure show and report on impact is key to progress was also a message agreed by most of the companies
  • The Responsible Cobalt Initiative - that CCCMC and OECD are currently developing - is an interesting way forward that seeks to leverage collaboration between sectors.

For more information on CSR Europe’s work on supply chain, please contact Alice Pedretti (ap@csreurope.org)

This meeting will be followed by an alignment meeting in January that will bring together CCCMC, CSR Europe, EICC, OECD and WEF.  In that meeting the practical next steps will be outlined and communicated externally.

Background

Congo is the world’s largest cobalt producer. Last year it accounted for just over half of the overall output of the mineral. In 2005 it was estimated that over 80% of this production derived from artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), in which with an estimated total of up to 2 million people are directly involved.

Increasing cobalt demand because of the increase of electro mobility (by 2025, cobalt consumption is projected to hit 153,000 tonnes –an increase of 60% from current levels) will make companies more dependent on sourcing from this country, highlighting the necessity to ensure a sustainable supply chain.

About CSR Europe

CSR Europe is the leading European business network for Corporate Social Responsibility. Through its network of around 50 corporate members and 45 National CSR organisations, it gathers over 10,000 companies, and acts as a platform for those businesses looking to enhance sustainable growth and positively contribute to society. In its mission to bring the CSR agenda forward, CSR Europe goes beyond European borders and cooperates with CSR organisations in other regions across the world.

CSR Europe's mission is to connect companies to share best practices on CSR and innovate with peers to shape the business and political agenda on sustainability and competitiveness in Europe.

Practically, through the Enterprise 2020 initiative, CSR Europe fosters collaboration and innovative practical action to shape the business contribution to the European Union’s Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.