Areas of application automotive industry.

  • Main areas of application: batteries (high-voltage batteries, low-voltage batteries)
  • Minute quantities: magnets, alloys and tyres 

Raw-material-specific risks.

  • Child labour
  • Violation of labour rights
  • Human rights abuses in connection with cobalt extraction, transportation or trade
  • Human rights abuses by public or private security forces
  • Negative environmental impacts, such as water and soil pollution
  • Corruption

Measures taken by the BMW Group.

  • Comprehensive risk assessment carried out; highest risks identified for material originating from the DR Congo, especially artisanal mines. Co-financing of a scientific study examining the extent and causes of child labour in the DR Congo by the University of California, Berkeley. Decision: local engagement recommended (see Training)
  • Increase transparency in the cobalt supply chain up to fourth-generation high-voltage batteries, as well as for low-voltage batteries, in cooperation with battery cell suppliers; thereby encourage the supply chain to obtain certification of smelters/refiners (RMI standard) and mines (IRMA standard)
  • Direct purchase for the fifth generation of our high-voltage batteries used for the first time in the BMW iX3 that was released in 2020. The BMW Group sources cobalt directly from raw material producers in Morocco and Australia and makes it available to battery cell suppliers. In this way, we can ensure traceability (100 percent mass balance) of the cobalt and are already committed to compliance with environmental standards and human rights during extraction at the mine
  • Training for the cobalt supply chain in the DR Congo as part of the local Cobalt for Development project: The aim here is to meet the challenges of responsible artisanal mining in the DR Congo. By the end of 2022, 14 mining cooperatives employing several thousand miners had been trained in responsible mining practices within this framework. In addition, we were able to increase school attendance from 70 to 95 percent in neighboring communities, and 89 small businesses, such as a bakery and sewing shop, were set up with the help of savings groups
  • Establishment of a closed material cycle for the reuse of the raw materials nickel, lithium and cobalt from high-voltage batteries at the China site
  • Further development of cell chemistry: The amount of cobalt in the cathode material for the fifth-generation battery cells has been reduced to 10 percent