Sep 12, 2020
Volvo Cars will use blockchain technology to track the origin of cobalt that is used in cars’ batteries. More than half of the world’s cobalt supply comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo. In this war-inflicted area, extensive child labor is used in order to mine cobalt.
Volvo Cars said that it would make the cobalt used in its batteries globally traceable using blockchain technology, Reuters reported. Volvo signed an agreement with its two battery suppliers, China’s CATL and South Korea’s LG Chem, to carry out the project.
The companies behind manufacturing electric cars had been facing scrutiny from all around the world as they failed to keep track of the cobalt that is used in the cars’ batteries. Cobalt is used to make lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars. But more than half of the supply comes from the war-hit Democratic Republic of Congo.
In this African country, extensive child labor is used to mine this blue metallic element. Any company using cobalt can encourage authorities in the country to violate basic human rights. Nearly 20% of the total mining of cobalt is done by children using their bare hands.
Volvo Cars’ head of procurement, Martina Buchhauser, said that with blockchain technology, they could take the next step towards ensuring full traceability of their supply chain and minimizing any related risks. The Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network (RSBN), in collaboration with IBM and RCS Global, will roll out the technology in LG Chem’s supply chain.