The International Energy Agency forecasts that electric vehicles (EVs) could account for a third of the global new car market by the end of this decade. While the prospect of a growing fleet of EVs is good news for the climate, the emergence of electric vehicles raises its own set of sustainability challenges.
One area of notable concern surrounds the raw materials that are used in EV batteries, which may be sourced from regions of the world where environmental and social governance are weak. This reality runs counter to the sustainable promise of the clean energy transition and has raised concern among clean technology companies, EV manufacturers and investors concerned with environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.
David Manley and Hervé Lado of the Natural Resource Governance Institute explore the environmental and human realities surrounding the production of one such material, cobalt, which is an essential element in the lithium-ion batteries that power most electric vehicles. The majority of cobalt is produced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has attracted attention as demand for cobalt has grown. Manley and Lado discuss efforts to improve oversight of the cobalt value chain, and what’s potentially at stake for the clean energy transition, and economies that are dependent on raw materials production, should ESG concerns not be adequately addressed.
The podcast episode was hosted and produced by Andy Stone.