Electronics Watch calls for the adoption of the EU directive on corporate sustainability due diligence
We urge member states to vote in favour of the directive on corporate sustainability due diligence to give workers around the world a better chance to live and work free from forced labour and abusive working conditions
Tragically, during the final days of 2023, 18 workers were killed and 38 were injured after an explosion at a nickel plant on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. Sulawesi is a hub for Indonesia's production of nickel, much of which is exported to meet the growing demand for use in renewable energy technologies, including batteries for electric vehicles.
In November 2023, a delegation from Electronics Watch travelled to Taiwan to provide training for local monitoring partners Serve the People Association (SPA) and to learn more about the issues facing electronics workers there. These include discrimination against union members, difficulties faced by migrant workers in securing repayment of recruitment fees, poor living conditions and unfair wage deductions.
Electronics Watch was pleased to co-organise a session on remedy with the University of Greenwich at the recent UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, which took place from 27-29 November.
Electronics Watch's Virtual Summit brought together affiliates, monitoring partners and experts from 32 different countries to share insights on how public buyers and workers are advancing human rights together.
Electronics Watch is today launching a new series called "Meet our Affiliates". The series will showcase some of our 1,538 affiliates and shine a light on the key people implementing responsible procurement within them. Today we publish the first of these profiles.
Part two – Obstacles and opportunities to improve conditions for miners
In part one, we reported on some of the shocking working conditions that the Electronics Watch team found on our visit to cobalt mines in the DRC. Now, we look at the vested interests in Congolese politics, the mining industry, the Congolese government's desire to regulate the cobalt supply chain, and what else might be done to improve conditions.
Part One – The precarious reality of artisanal mines
Electronics Watch travelled to Kolwezi in the province of Lualaba, in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Two worlds live side by side here, without ever crossing paths. On the one hand, the world of industrial mines, with their huge machines. On the other, the tens of thousands of "diggers" in small-scale artisanal mines, armed with a simple crowbar to exploit a mineral vein, in extremely dangerous conditions. The DRC alone has 80% of the world's cobalt stocks needed to manufacture batteries to serve the demand for electric vehicles, and no less than 30% of this stock is mined in an artisanal way. One to two million Congolese people depend on this production directly or indirectly, while world demand is booming.