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.
Electronics Watch publishes an updated version of its Principles of Worker-Driven Remedy, as a guiding framework for public buyers and other stakeholders to address harm to workers in supply chains. Developed in consultation with trade unions, labour rights organisations, and public buyers, the Principles put affected workers at the heart of the remediation process.
The tin supply chain benefits from Bolivian cooperative production at the expense of miners´ health and safety.
An impressive community of practice gathered for the Australian Government's Modern Slavery Conference, June 27-29 in Melbourne. According to the latest estimates, nearly 50 million people live in conditions of modern slavery, with half of them facing daily realities of forced labour.
A new Report by the ILO about the ongoing forced labour in Malaysia's rubber glove supply chain provides some critical recommendations for governments, manufacturers, buyers, and recruiters as well as workers' organisations and unions.
Two new communications colleagues joined us at Electronics Watch earlier this month: Harriet Edwards, Communications and Events Manager, and Anthony Silkoff, Communications Consultant. They bring vital skills to the team, which will help us continue to increase and improve communications with our stakeholders.
Electronics Watch has recently joined the Circular & Fair ICT Pact (CFIT), an initiative under the Sustainable Public Procurement Programme of the UN One Planet Network.