SOURCE: The Guardian
DATE: September 5, 2019
SNIP: Most of the world’s top companies extracting key minerals for electric vehicles, solar panels and wind turbines have been linked with human rights abuses in their mines, research has found.
Analysis published by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC), an international corporate watchdog, revealed that 87% of the 23 largest companies mining cobalt, copper, lithium, manganese, nickel and zinc – the six minerals essential to the renewable energy industry – have faced allegations of abuse including land rights infringements, corruption, violence or death over the past 10 years.
As the global economy switches to low-carbon technologies to combat global heating, demand for minerals could rise by as much as 900% by 2050, according to World Bank estimates. In order to prevent further human rights abuses, renewable energy companies urgently need to clean up their supply chains.
The watchdog found no correlation between the existence of a company’s human rights policy and whether such a policy prevented it from receiving allegations of abuses, indicating that the current company policies were either insufficient or not adequately enforced in their supply chains. For example, the top five lithium companies have all had human rights abuse allegations made against them, yet only one company had a publicly available policy on human rights.
The BHRRC has launched a tracker tool to allow investors, businesses and civil society groups to trace the allegations made against companies mining the six key minerals for the electric car, solar and wind sectors.