Ensuring sustainable cobalt sourcing (2016)

Umicore’s Sustainable Procurement Framework for Cobalt ensures that a key raw material is sourced according to the principles of ethics and sustainability.

Umicore products are made of many different raw materials. One of them - cobalt - demands special attention. While we recover cobalt from our recycling activities, we also buy substantial quantities of mined metal. About 60% of the world’s cobalt comes from the south east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This region has experienced much instability and has been associated with practices such as forced labour, child labour, unhealthy working conditions and corruption.

In 2004 we introduced a procurement framework to ensure that Umicore only sources ethical cobalt that is mined in sustainable conditions. The framework - which was the first of its kind in the industry - has undergone several improvements over the years. Umicore also obtained third-party validation that its cobalt purchases for 2015 and 2016 were in conformity with the principles set out in our Sustainable Procurement Framework for Cobalt. This is another industry first and requires an external auditor to review our procurement processes. The audit findings also help us continually improve our procurement process. The compliance report for 2016 can be found here.

Our Sustainable Procurement Framework for Cobalt sets the bar higher for the cobalt industry. Our unique approach provides assurance to our customers and the end-users of their products that Umicore products are made of raw materials that are sourced ethically and sustainably. This will help Umicore turn its ethical and sustainable approach into a greater competitive advantage.

Click here to access a detailed description of the Framework

Click here to access the latest compliance report

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