The US-based Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is calling for companies that source lithium-ion batteries for electronic products such as electric vehicles to commit to using only “ethically-sourced materials”.
UCS’s clean vehicles policy analyst, Josh Goldman, said the use of lithium, cobalt, nickel “and other metals that are part of an EV lithium-ion battery pack, have raised red flags about the poor human rights and worker protection records in the countries where these materials are mined”.
In a UCS blog post, Goldman said: “Companies should be held accountable for enacting and enforcing policies to only use ethically-sourced materials.”
Goldman said while “some companies are off to a good start” in terms of their commitments to responsible sourcing— “the human rights issues related to the lithium-ion battery supply chain cannot be ignored”.
“It’s not just EVs that are at issue here. All manufacturers of electronic devices need to find better sources for their batteries and it is their responsibility to source materials from places that have worker protections,” Goldman said. “It’s also the responsibility of our government to ensure that Americans can buy products that are ethically and sustainably sourced.”