Around two-thirds of the metal is now mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and sustainable mining in the developing country is a long-term challenge. Volkswagen is involved along the entire value chain in sustainability initiatives such as the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) or the Global Battery Alliance of the World Economic Forum.
The measures in the initiatives are accompanied by the company’s own specifications and checks along the supply chain, which are simplified by the increased transparency provided by the direct procurement of materials. As part of the RMI, for example, Volkswagen is working on a certification system for cobalt in order to improve mining conditions and make the origin of the material traceable. The Drive Sustainability working group is developing uniform monitoring instruments and sustainability training courses for suppliers. The targeted reduction of cobalt within the Lithium-ion battery is also of central importance. The share of the raw material is to be reduced from currently twelve to 14 percent (weight share in the cathode) to five percent within the next three to five years. Volkswagen is working on developing cobalt-free battery cells.