Big insurers fail to tackle abuses in cobalt mining

30 July 2020

Dutch insurance companies continue to invest billions in cobalt mining despite it being rife with human rights abuses, according to a new report Time to start caring about cobalt from Fair Finance Guide Netherlands. 

Demand for cobalt has soared as it is essential for the batteries used in our smart phones, computers and electric cars. But child labour, deadly working conditions and forced evictions are common.

FFG Netherlands found the nine largest insurance groups in the Netherlands (Achmea, Aegon, Allianz, ASR, CZ, Menzis, NN Group, VGZ and Vivat) are insufficiently committed to preventing or tackling serious human rights violations in the cobalt sector. Under authoritative UN guidelines, insurers must raise concerns about cobalt extraction with companies that use cobalt when investing in those companies. But in practice, insurers hardly do this. Collectively, the nine insurance companies invest at least € 12.8 billion in 23 of the largest manufacturers of products containing cobalt, including companies such as Apple, BMW, Daimler, Microsoft and Volkswagen.

Read the FFI news report here.