Umicore visits all mines it buys from and ensures that no unethical practices occur in its supply chain.
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Umicore is aware of the risks linked to the sourcing of cobalt. Infringement of human rights, child labor, environmental issues, and inadequate health and safety protection are reported in certain parts of the cobalt supply chain, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The DRC produces about 65% of the world’s cobalt. As such, it remains an important source for companies that require a geographically diversified supply. About 80% of the cobalt mined in the DRC originates from industrialized operations that often meet high labor, social and environmental standards. At the same time, part of the cobalt supply is extracted by hand in small-scale, so-called artisanal mines, where severe social misconduct has been reported.
Umicore was the first company worldwide to create a Sustainable Procurement Framework for Cobalt to prevent unethical practices in its supply chain (and consequently those of its customers). It is applied to all purchases worldwide. Within this Framework, each supplier undergoes an initial screening and is subject to scheduled and unscheduled site visits. Their performance is assessed on different sustainability criteria, including human rights, environment and health and safety.
These practices are aligned with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. In addition, our application of the Framework receives an annual, independent third-party validation, and we are committed to continually making improvements.