Umicore's pioneering approach to ethical cobalt sourcing

Umicore is the first company in the world to have introduced a Sustainable Procurement Framework for Cobalt and is the first to obtain external validation for its ethical procurement approach in this area. It aims to minimize the risk of any connection between the cobalt in its supply chain – and subsequently that of its customers – and human rights abuses or unethical business practices.

The framework builds on the specific approach to sustainable and ethical cobalt sourcing that Umicore introduced in 2004. Since then it has evolved to address specific risks linked to unethical mining practices, such as child labour and poor health and safety conditions.  

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Validation statement

  • A worldwide leader in cobalt For over 100 years Umicore has been a world leader in cobalt products. Cobalt is used in many applications, from tooling to rechargeable batteries for electric cars.

  • Cobalt supply chain risks Cobalt ore is found in many parts of the world. The raw material can be found in many parts of the world but some reserves are in regions fraught with challenges, giving rise to unethical practices such as forced labour, poor health and safety conditions, child labour and corruption.

  • Sustainable cobalt sourcing We want to ensure that no unethically mined cobalt enters our process and our sustainable procurement framework for cobalt aims to protect our customers from any association with unethically sourced materials.

  • Due diligence process To ensure the traceability of materials in our supply chain we carry out detailed research and risk assessments of our suppliers. This includes visiting plants, screening policies and procedures and, if required, developing improvement programmes.

  • Third party assurance We have received independent third party validation for applying our sustainable procurement framework for cobalt and are committed to make continued improvements.

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