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Amnesty International calls on EV makers to produce 'ethical battery' within five years

Thu 21 March 2019 | Back to news list

The human rights organisation, Amnesty International, has called on car makers to publicly report on the full impacts of battery production, pointing to child labour used in the mining of cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as the upstream environmental impacts.
Amnesty made the challenge to industry representatives at the Nordic Electric Vehicle (EV) Summit in Oslo.
Amnesty said it was aiming to highlight how lithium-ion batteries are linked to human rights abuses. The campaign also called on companies to ensure that batteries are disposed of responsibly. Amnesty said that there is already significant evidence showing that battery waste from electronics, which contains various hazardous materials, has been irresponsibly disposed of, contaminating soil, water and air.
Amnesty is working with Greenpeace USA to identify and map human rights and environmental impacts throughout the battery lifecycle, including vital points of intervention need to produce an ethical battery.
Meanwhile, it says that efforts are under way in Norway to create a legal requirement on corporations to conduct human rights due diligence. Amnesty’s work will focus on all three phases of the battery lifecycle:
  • Extraction: mapping supply chains of key minerals, calling for human rights impacts to be identified, prevented and addressed, and calling for a prohibition on commercial deep-sea mining;
  • Manufacturing: calling for carbon footprints to be properly disclosed, minimised, and offset; and for work-related rights, including health, equality and non-discrimination, to be legally protected and enforced;
  • Re-use and recovery: calling for products to be designed and regulated so that their potential for re-use is optimised and waste is penalised; and illegal or dangerous exportation and dumping of batteries is prevented.
Amnesty is now calling on industry leaders to commit to a radical overhaul of their approach to energy solutions. As a first step, it says that companies should publicly disclose information about how human rights abuses and environmental risks are being prevented, identified and addressed throughout the lithium-ion battery’s lifecycle.

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