Under relevant international standards (e.g. UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights), companies have the responsibility to mitigate or remediate any negative impact caused – directly or indirectly by their activities.
Ceasing relationships with problematic suppliers or ceasing to source from the DRC or from ASM does not constitute a proper mitigation practice. Companies can work with problematic suppliers so they are equipped to deal with the issues in their operations. However, when suppliers fail to comply after repeated attempts, there may be reasonable ground for companies to suspend sourcing from that supplier.
Approaches to remediation
- Partnering with civil society organisations and/or governmental institutions to remedy any identified violations.
- Development approach - funding relevant programmes/projects in the community.
- Working with local cooperatives to ensure fair compensation of miners.
Key questions for companies
Identified cases of human rights violations/negative impact
- How does the company respond when it finds evidence of human rights violations in its supply chain? Does the company intend to cut out those parts of the supply chain or encourage that its suppliers do so? If yes, what is the company fs view on the socio-economic outcomes of that choice?
- Has the company identified instances of such violations? Has it acknowledged them publicly? Has it engaged with other stakeholders (DRC national and provincial governments/civil society, NGOs/affected stakeholders) to find adequate solutions and provide remediation? E.g. has the company considered ways to help children back into school while continuing to pay them a salary to ensure their quality of life is not affected?
Upstream/on the ground remediation
- Given its previous/ongoing/intended reliance on cobalt sourced from the DRC and the potential for this material to be linked to human rights/child labour risks, does the company engage in supporting upstream development/remediation activity in cobalt mining regions in the DRC? If not, explain the rationale for that choice?
- If the company engages in such activities, is it able to provide more details regarding:
- Direct or indirect nature of the support; and whether it is individual or collaborative (can the company explain the choice of either). ¡ ¡ Organisations/stakeholders that it may be partnering with (e.g. NGOs, governments).
- Scope of the support, including focus areas (education, training, other).
- Does the company assess the impact of these programmes? If yes, how often?
How investors can promote responsible cobalt sourcing practices
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Responding to and remedying human rights violations