Amnesty International calls on manufacturers to make ‘completely ethical’ batteries

By Ryan Hirons
Organisation claims EV battery production is linked to human rights abuse

Amnesty International is calling on leading EV manufacturers to produce ‘completely ethical’ batteries within five years after expressing concerns of their links to human rights abuse.

In 2016, the organisation found in an investigation that children and adults in the Democratic Republic of Congo working in hand-dug cobalt mines — the resource of which is a major component in lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles — faced serious health risks and were not protected by the government or ‘respected’ by companies using the materials.

Now, the firm wants ‘leading’ electric vehicle manufacturers to produce a battery that uses cobalt from ethical sources while also publishing data about their supply chains.

Speaking at the Nordic Electric Vehicle Summit in Oslo, Norway, Kumi Naidoo, secretary general of Amnesty International, said: “Finding effective solutions to the climate crisis is an absolute imperative, and electric cars have an important role to play in this. But without radical changes, the batteries which power green vehicles will continue to be tainted by human rights abuses”

“The massive global corporations that dominate the electric vehicle industry have the resources and expertise to create energy solutions that are truly clean and fair, and we are challenging them to come back to Oslo next year with proof of real progress. With demand for batteries soaring, now is the time for a drastic overhaul of our energy sources that prioritizes protection of human rights and the environment.”

Amnesty International also wants manufacturers to ensure batteries are disposed of responsibly once they reach end-of-life status to reduce their impact on the environment.

“Every stage of the battery lifecycle, from mineral extraction to disposal, carries human rights and environmental risks”, Naidoo added.