Sustainability, dormakaba News
dormakaba publishes cobalt traceability study to highlight the need for responsible supply chains
Thursday, 13 July 2023
Rümlang, 13 July, 2023 - 70% of the world’s cobalt, a key metal powering today’s technology, is sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo, known to be linked with systemic human rights and transparency issues. This global challenge requires the collaborative action of many parties, including companies. The Report on Cobalt Traceability, commissioned by dormakaba to the University of St. Gallen, will help corporations to better understand the topic and provides practical recommendations for more responsible supply chains.
Cobalt is a rare metal used in lithium batteries, which powers our phones, electric vehicles, or windmills. With the technological development the demand for cobalt has more than doubled since the early 2000s. 70% of today’s cobalt is sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), known for allegations of forced labor, labor exploitation, child labor and health and safety concerns, among other human rights risks.
dormakaba wanted to learn more about tracing cobalt in fragmented supply chains related to the electronics components used in its and products from other companies. Therefore, dormakaba consulted with human rights experts and commissioned the Institute for Business Ethics at the University of St. Gallen to develop the study “Tracing Cobalt in Fragmented Supply Chains”. Based on the study’s main findings, there is general agreement among leading experts and organizations that no company can claim that the cobalt they have in their products is not stemming in part from the DRC. The report provides a detailed overview of the upstream part of the cobalt supply chain, as well as the actors that participate in the extraction and handling of this mineral. Numerous sustainability and supply chain professionals contributed with their expertise to the report. Therefore, the study also provides information on best practices and measures that the experts believe have the potential to improve labor standards and prevent human rights violations in cobalt supply chains.
“This study is yet another initiative showing the strong commitment of our company to human rights and the protection of vulnerable groups around the globe. Creating more transparent and responsible mineral supply chains is possible only with the collective action of many parties. We hope the insights in this study will help other companies to improve their understanding and management of the human rights risks linked to their cobalt supply chains,” says Stephanie Ossenbach, Group Sustainability Officer at dormakaba.
Since the study has been developed, dormakaba initiated dialogues with its key suppliers on human rights and environmental risks in joint upstream value chains and discussed opportunities for collaboration to meet increased legal and public expectations. Moreover, the company set a target to ensure supply chain traceability for minerals having high risk of child labor by 2027.
Due to its leading role in human rights due diligence, dormakaba is often invited to share experiences and best practice in multistakeholder discussions high on the business and human rights agenda, for example the webinar series on Child Labor Due Diligence, organized by SECO International Labor Affairs (Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs) and the UN Global Compact (Swiss network).