Responding to reports that the London Metal Exchange has launched an investigation into whether cobalt mined by children is being traded in London, following an Amnesty International report linking several major brands to human rights abuses in the DRC, Seema Joshi, Head of Business and Human Rights at Amnesty International, said:
“Transparency is absolutely crucial for eradicating the scourge of child labour from cobalt battery supply chains and we welcome the London Metal Exchange’s pledge to shine a light into the dark corners of the cobalt trade.
“Nearly two years ago we exposed how cobalt mined by children in the DRC is ending up in household products like smartphones and electric cars and how too many companies don’t know, or won’t say, where their cobalt comes from.
“Reports that the London Metal Exchange is demanding that companies source cobalt responsibly, and that it has launched an investigation into one them, are welcome – these would be important steps towards ensuring that companies aren’t profiting from human rights abuses.
“There are clear international guidelines for responsible sourcing and it is unacceptable that we have to name and shame companies before they act on them. Companies are running out of excuses and must take responsibility for what goes into their products. Disclosing the steps they are taking to ensure their supply chains are clean and fair would be a good place to start.”
The London Metal Exchange helps set prices for industrial metals, including cobalt. It has requested that members provide details of their responsible sourcing practices by 1 December.