In the quest for sustainable transportation for all, Tesla has had ongoing difficulties finding ethically-sourced metals, and now it’s under scrutiny once again.
Tesla has just joined a new initiative, the Fair Cobalt Alliance, supporting artisanal cobalt miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to Bloomberg. These cobalt workers largely mine by hand and are not formally-trained miners.
Also apart of the group is Glencore, which Tesla has worked with in the past to source its cobalt.
While nearly three-quarters of all cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, watchdog groups like Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development assert that human rights issues are not uncommon at these cobalt sites, and that often the chain of artisanal cobalt simply gets mixed up with industrial cobalt anyway.
Tesla sources Cobalt from Glencore. Glencore is one of only two miners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the list to be certified by the Responsible Mineral Initiative. i.e. no child labor etc.
— Spx (@AT69TA) August 16, 2020
Although the cobalt supply is plenty for now, the demand for cobalt is expected to skyrocket in the coming years as electric vehicles become commonplace around the world. Earlier in the year, Tesla agreed to reduce its cobalt use to 0%.
Though it’s unclear what the future of cobalt use at Tesla will be, we can at least hope that Glencore and Tesla are cooperating ethically from a ground level.