Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Inclusive Development International (IDI) have reported the negative impact of car manufacturers’ aluminum supply chains and how it is affecting farmlands, waterways, and the release of greenhouse gas in African, South American, and Asian communities.
On Thursday, the human rights groups published a 63-page report detailing the negative impact of aluminium production by world’s leading car manufacturers.
The report stretched to discuss the ongoing mining and refinement of the raw material bauxite in Guinea, Ghana, Brazil, Malaysia, China, and Australia.
“Aluminum is really a blind spot for the car industry. There’s been a lot of focus on other materials that you need to make electric vehicles like cobalt and lithium for electric batteries, but very little focus on the human rights impacts of aluminum,” said Jim Wormington, senior Africa researcher at HRW.
“We think that needs to change because the car industry has a huge amount of influence over mining companies and the sector more broadly. And if the car industry starts to take the human rights and environmental impacts of aluminum seriously, so will mining companies,”
In a statement, HRW also said that the world’s leading automakers “have publicly committed to addressing human rights abuses in their supply chains, they have done little to evaluate and address the human rights impact of aluminum production”.
Some of the world’s leading car manufacturers mentioned, included: Ford, Toyota, BMW, Volvo, Daimler, Volkswagen, Renault, General Motors, and Groupe PSA — a partner to Stellantis.
However, 3 car manufacturing companies — the giant electric-powered car company, Tesla; Hyundai; and BYD; did not respond to requests to participate in the studies.
According to the report, these companies in 2019 used a fifth of all aluminium consumed worldwide, and predicted an increase by 2050.
Following Jim’s logical explanation, the increase in aluminium use equals the increase in production of electric vehicles.
“That’s the contradiction with many new technologies that we need to fight climate change, including electric vehicles.
“The reality is that they’re going to be produced from raw materials that rely on mining.
“So what’s essential as that transition happens is that we have a conversation about how, if we’re going to have more mining, we’re going to have mining in a responsible and human rights-protecting way,”
By Elijah Christopher
Elijah Christopher is a journalist at A New Touch Of Africa, is also a creative writer, a poet, and an IT enthusiast. He contributed to the collaborative poem written in celebration of Edwin Morgan Centenary, the first Glasgow poet laureate and Scottish national poet from the University of Glasgow. He loves meeting people and learning about new places, cultures, events, and lifestyles.