As there is a growing demand for battery metals around the world to power a transition to a green economy, there is an also a growing reticence around the role that cobalt should play, with stark human rights concerns regarding the artisanal exploitation of cobalt coming from the DRC due to its association with child labour and hazardous working conditions. Avoiding Congolese cobalt has shown to exacerbate the conditions flagged by civil society and international media.
The Fair Cobalt Alliance (FCA), a multi-stakeholder action platform launched in August 2020, brings together actors from across the entire cobalt mineral supply chain to provide an answer to increasing scrutiny on ASM cobalt mining and the DRC mining sector. The purpose is to assist in the building of a DRC cobalt mining sector that is known to be a responsible partner in providing the minerals needed for a new green economy. This includes mobilizing resources from across the supply chain to provide technical assistance and investment to achieve the vision of a formal, fair, and secure ASM cobalt sector.
Based in Kolwezi, DRC, the FCA focuses on three pillars: 1. Enabling dignified working conditions 2. Protecting children’s rights and child labour remediation 3. Increasing financial resilience and family incomes.
To achieve these objectives the FCA opts for a multi-stakeholder approach as we believe that all actors on the supply chain, from the international actors to the national and local actors, have a role to play to ensure that the change is long lasting and replicable. An MSI approach allows for Industry and civil society to work together in a pre-competitive environment. The FCA has a strong commitment to transparency. ASM is here to stay, so it is preferable to invest rather than flee.
Fair Cobalt Alliance https://www.faircobaltalliance.org
Alexandra Lukamba oversees public and government relations at the Fair Cobalt Alliance. She is a social development and communication consultant. Her focus is on engaging and maintaining relationships with different stakeholders, including government, private sector, investors, and non-profit organisations. Alexandra holds a double master’s degree in Leadership and International Development from Sciences Po Paris and King’s College London.