Mercedes-Benz will responsibly source cobalt and lithium


Wants to let go of cobalt altogether in the future

As we know already, human rights abuse is very prevalent in the mining industry regardless of the ore, especially in African nations. Mercedes-Benz wants to change that, at least with cobalt and lithium mining. Besides achieving CO2-neutrality in the coming years, one of the focus points in its ‘Ambition2039’ strategy is to responsibly source raw materials required for the battery cells.

Meaning, Mercedes-Benz will source cobalt and lithium only from certified mines in the future. The company has been working with Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) and auditing and advisory firm RCS Global to identify the mines that are following the standards, and also to establish transparency over the cobalt supply chains behind battery cells.

More than 120 suppliers were identified and 60 audits were conducted after a corresponding risk assessment. As things stand at present, there are currently no cobalt mines certified in accordance with IRMA’s Standard for Responsible Mining. Cobalt is one of the raw materials in batteries that is subject to intense criticism in terms of human rights.

Mercedes-Benz is therefore working with IRMA and RCS Global on a step-by-step approach for dealing with particularly challenging local situations. This approach will be taken with a limited number of cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, auditing them against a series of specific sets of requirements in the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining.

Also, Mercedes-Benz wants to reduce the cobalt content in its battery cells to less than 10%, and at some point in the future, wants to let go of cobalt altogether with new material compositions.

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