Cobalt, amongst other conflict minerals, is utilized daily in various technologies by thousands, if not millions, of individuals worldwide.
Sir David Pilling, in a recent article titled, “Clean electric cars are built on pollution in Congo” covers the problems being faced to retain sustainable practices when mining conflict-labeled minerals. In particular, the article delves into cobalt, which is refined and utilized daily in the creation of Tesla’s powerful electric batteries.
While this is an on-going problem that must be addressed by Tesla, stakeholders, Governmental and NGO’s, there have been positive strides made in the supply chain of the DRC’s mining.
“According to the World Bank, since 2000 average life expectancy in Congo has risen from 50 to 59, and poverty has fallen from 71 per cent to 64 per cent” (ft.com 2017).
Positive trends in life expectancy and poverty rate in the DRC are, in large part, due to the external entities that have intervened in the supply chains of localized mining efforts to increase transparency, traceability and governance. Strengthening the relationship between localized suppliers in the DRC and enterprise organizations, such as Tesla and Apple, in regards to the quality of production, and quality of life, is crucial to the ongoing fight for sustainable supply chains in these underdeveloped regions.
Organization’s concerns for sustainability is going beyond c-suite executives, but is trickling down to the very bottom-line of stakeholders. Employees and customers alike, of large enterprises such as Tesla, are becoming engaged in learning more about the quality of products and the individuals live's who produce those product with a life-cycle approach. It is equally the responsibility of the consumer, as the organization selling to a consumer, to make concise and concerned inquiries about the methods of production in products they plan to purchase.
The continued blend of concern and action by various entities, throughout multiple rungs of the value chain, is exactly what the DRC, and many supply chains globally, need to continue their trends towards sustainable supply chain practices.