THE PRICE OF ‘GREEN’ ELECTRIC CARS AND SMARTPHONE BATTERIES? CHILD LABOR.(FREEDOM UNITED, GLOBAL NEWS, MAY 6TH 2018)


CNN has uncovered that an increasing number of children are working at cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They labor at the very bottom of the global cobalt supply chain as electric carmakers and big tech companies scramble to get more and more of the precious mineral because cobalt is a key component in lithium-ion batteries.  The DRC produces around 2/3 of the world’s cobalt and is estimated to have half of the world’s reserves. In the last two years, due to rising demand the price of cobalt quadruple, and production at artisanal mineslong-known to have child laborers — shot up by 18%. BMW, Volkswagen, and Mercedes-owner Daimler acknowledged how difficult it is to verify the source. BMW said it makes “every effort to ensure the highest possible standards in the labor practices of our suppliers” but admitted it could do more..