Consumers are facing a false choice between caring for the environment and child rights when purchasing electric vehicles.
The electric batteries in these environmentally-friendly cars may have been produced through dangerous child labor in mineral mining.
With this in mind, Amnesty International published a report this week calling on electric automakers to “make the world’s first completely ethical battery with five years.”
The London-based organization accused electric automakers of failing to curb human rights abuses, including child labor, linked to the mining of key minerals needed for batteries.
“Finding effective solutions to the climate crisis is an absolute imperative, and electric cars have an important role to play in this,” Amnesty International chief Kumi Naidoo said. “But without radical changes, the batteries which power green vehicles will continue to be tainted by human rights abuses.”
“Companies who overlook human rights concerns as they clean up their energy sources are presenting their customers with a false choice; people or planet,” said Naidoo. “This approach is gravely flawed and will not deliver the sustainable changes we need to save humanity from climate devastation.”
According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the demand for electric cars is expected to increase more than thirtyfold by 2030. To meet this demand, the world is going to need more lithium — a key component in electric batteries.
Yet electric carmakers and electronics manufacturers have been slow to publicly report their products’ mineral supply chains, with rights groups pointing to child labor in mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo potentially tainting a company’s supply chain.
Notably, since 2016 Apple, BMW, Daimler, and Renault have published data about their supply chains. Amnesty International hopes more companies will do the same.