German Carmaker Volkswagen Joins IBM-Backed Blockchain Platform for Cobalt Supply Chains 764

The German car manufacturing company, Volkswagen announced that it will be joining a blockchain-powered scheme to ensure the cobalt used in lithium-ion batteries for its electric vehicles is responsibly sourced.

Volkswagen hopes the technology, built on the International Business Machine (IBM) Blockchain Platform, will “increase efficiency, sustainability, and transparency in global mineral supply chains.”

In smartphones to cars, cobalt has become a crucial component for consumer products, but according to an IBM blog, it was reported that two-thirds of global production comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where an estimated two million miners face “profound challenges including human rights violations.” In 2017, Reuters reported that some cobalt mines use child labor and are controlled by insurgent militias.

The company announcements also add that

“Traditionally, miners, smelters and consumer brands had to rely on third-party audits and laborious manual processes to establish compliance with generally accepted industry standards.”

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