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Workshop – Blood Batteries: The dark side of renewable energy


Cobaltminers, Electric Car and Cell Phone Battery

Elon Musk famously said, “We will not stop until every car on the road is electric”. Since then, most major car manufacturers have developed electric models; trucks, busses, bikes, you name it – everything can be powered by the magic battery. However, producing a battery is resource intensive and demand for metals like cobalt, copper and nickel is soaring. To fill that demand, artisanal miners in the Congo are digging deep, working under terrible conditions and with death as a looming risk. Are we switching carbon lock-in for metal lock-in, with considerable human and environmental cost? What are stakeholders doing to prevent human rights violations in their supply chains?

What is Cobalt?
"Cobalt is an element critical for powering the clean energy revolution. More than 50% of the world’s cobalt supply originates in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). According to the government’s own estimates, 20% of the cobalt currently exported from the DRC comes from artisanal miners in the southern part of the country. There are approximately 110,000 to 150,000 artisanal miners in this region, who work alongside much larger industrial operations. These artisanal miners, referred to as creuseurs in the DRC, mine by hand using the most basic tools to dig out rocks from tunnels deep underground. Much of the cobalt produced in the DRC is destined for smelters, refiners and processors located in China, where it gets turned into a variety of chemical products used in the manufacture of rechargeable batteries" from Amnesty Internationals report "Time to Recharge - which you can find in full here. You can also watch a video detailing how cobalt enter the supply chain here.

Confirmed Panelists

Radu Mares, senior researcher at Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights. He is specialised in the area of business and human rights, with a focus on multinational enterprises and global supply chains. He will moderate the event. 

Théo Jaekel, Senior Specialist in Human Rights and Supply Chain at Swedish law firm Vinge. Has previously worked for Swedwatch in mining, electronics and public procurement. 

Philip Peck, Associate Professor at the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE). With more than 20 years of international experience, Philip worked in civil engineering and mining for nearly a decade prior to entering academia.Philip’s research focuses on the technical, socio-economic, environmental, policy, and deployment parameters of new technology systems.

Eva Bennis, director of sustainability and compliance at Volvo Group Trucks Purchasing.


15.00 to 17.00, 24 April 2018


IIIEE Aula, Tegnérsplatsen 4, Lund


Link for signing up

The participation is for free, but if you have registered but are forced to cancel your participation, please send us an e-mail: ludwig [dot] bengtsson_sonesson [at] cec [dot] lu [dot] se

Kind regards,
Lund University Sustainaiblity Forum

Photos: Cobalt miners in the DRC by Amnesty/Afrewatch

Lunds universitets hållbarhetsforum
Sölvegatan 37
223 62 Lund

contact [at] sustainability [dot] lu [dot] se