The rapid increase in demand for mobile phones, electric vehicles, laptops and other applications has accelerated production of lithium-ion batteries.
Cobalt is a raw material in the production of cathodes for these batteries due to its stabilizing effect that prevents corrosion. An estimated 50% of the world’s cobalt mine reserves are in Democratic Republic of the Congo, where artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) has been linked to the risk of child labor.
The Cobalt Action Partnership’s (CAP) vision is to immediately and urgently eliminate child and forced labor from the cobalt value chain, contribute to the sustainable development of communities, and respect the human rights of those affected (pursuant to GBA Principle #8). The CAP is implemented by a consortium of organizations and supported by GBA members and the broader GBA community of stakeholders.
Eliminating child labor requires concerted action on a wide variety of fronts. The CAP focuses on the following actions:
- Supporting responsible production and sourcing of Congolese cobalt, through:
- Establishing a common set of expectations for responsible cobalt across the value chain, and
- Developing a common monitoring and evaluation framework
- Supporting formalization of the cobalt ASM industry in the DRC, through:
- Driving investment and engagement toward on-the-ground projects and scaling-up efforts
- Identifying best practices within cobalt ASM supply chains that can be replicated and scaled, and
- Facilitating stakeholder engagement to foster responsible cobalt production and trade practices.
- Harmonizing our members’ initiatives for greater impact, through:
- Facilitating multi-stakeholder dialogue for sharing, learning, and leveraging collaboration.
To achieve our objectives – with a unified voice to increase scale and the impact of our individual and collective efforts – we are conducting the following activities in partnership with our stakeholders:
- Engagement. Coordinating international stakeholder engagement on responsible cobalt production practices and sourcing expectations for both ASM and LSM to facilitate the necessary legitimacy and recognition by the market.
- Dialogue. Organizing multi-stakeholder dialogue and consultation in the cobalt supply chain to create spaces for sharing, learning, and leveraging collaboration.
- Measuring and Reporting. Facilitating a means for stakeholders to report ongoing projects into a common monitoring and evaluation framework.
- Best Practices. Fostering the identification of best practices within ASM supply chains that can be replicated, scaled, and attract funding.
- Mutually Recognized Expectations. Establishing one common set of best practices and minimum standards for ASM cobalt, by leveraging existing standards, thus creating a shared understanding of key principles in the market that addresses local priorities.
- Leveraging Funds. CAP supported the creation of a Fund for the Prevention of Child Labour in Mining Communities to address the root causes of child labor and forced labor, strengthen mining communities, respecting the human rights of those affected by the value chain, and promoting local economic opportunities and diversification.
The Cobalt Action Partnership is managed by a Project Management Office. Decision-making is guided by a Steering Committee made up of voting members, including GBA members and government representatives, and non-voting observers (international organizations and government representatives).
Project Management Office: The Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), an initiative of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA).
- Private Sector:
- Gillian Davidson, Eurasian Resources Group (ERG)
- Anne-Marie Fleury, Glencore
- Cristina Duranti, Good Shepherd International Foundation
- Mickael Daudin, Pact
- Esma Mneina, Natural Resources Canada
- Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
- International Labour Organization (ILO)
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
- International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
- Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit/ Society for International Cooperation (GIZ)
- United States Embassy in the Democratic Republic of Congo
The Cobalt Action Partnership is led and supported by a consortium of organizations that have expertise, field presence, and programs that are aligned with and contribute toward the CAP’s mission.
- Fair Cobalt Alliance (FCA)
- International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
- United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)