The BMW Group is changing its strategy for purchasing raw materials for electric cars. In the case of important materials such as lithium and cobalt, intermediaries are to disappear from the supply chain.
“We have restructured our supply chains and will be purchasing cobalt and lithium directly from 2020,” said Andreas Wendt, Chief Purchasing Officer, to the trade magazine Generation E. Previously, BMW had purchased raw materials indirectly via suppliers. According to Wendt, BMW wants to achieve transparency about the origin of the raw materials in this way.
BMW is also sticking to their plan of no longer purchasing cobalt from the Congo, but from Australia and Morocco. Even then, there had been speculation about a direct purchase by the car manufacturer. “Compliance with human rights is our top priority,” said the BMW Board of Management.
According to Wendt, supply security is guaranteed despite the new supply structures. “Our supply contracts guarantee security of supply until 2025 and beyond,” said the board member responsible for purchasing. No wonder, after all, BMW is working with a large corporation in this case: The operator of the Australian mine Murrin Murrin, from which part of the cobalt is to come in future, is the mining giant Glencore.
However, BMW is not saying goodbye to the Congo altogether: Together with BASF, Samsung SDI and Samsung Electronics, the company is continuing its involvement in a pilot project for sustainable cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) will act as coordinator on behalf of the quartet. Specifically, mining in small, artisanal structures under humane conditions is to be promoted.
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