Research on industrial use of materials not complete

Last week a research report initiated by the electronics and car industries was published, in which the industrial importance of 37 materials was researched, along with the impact on environmental and social issues. Terre des Hommes welcomes this research, but concludes that it insufficiently makes use of existing sources and data of the industries themselves.

The research report ‘Material Change’ for example has left out the high industry consumption of mica by the electronics and the automotive industries, saying the needed ‘data is missing’. This unjust assumption means mica cannot be prioritised in relation to the other 36 materials, meaning companies will conduct less due diligence to free their supply chains from the worst forms of child labour that exist in mica mining.

Extensive research

Terre des Hommes delivered an extensive research on global mica mining this year. ‘Data on mica are available and show that the electronics and automotive industries are the biggest users’.  The electronics industry (including car electronics) is the biggest purchaser of mica with 26% followed by paints and coatings with 24%. Car paints contain mica for the shimmering effect.

Furthermore ‘Material Change’ indicates that the amount of mica used in electronics is low. It states that mica is only used in 3% of electronic capacitors and not more than 70 components in cars and electronics contain mica. The research of Terre des Hommes however, quotes a car producer saying they identified 15.000 parts in their database containing mica.

Mapping risks

Terre des Hommes welcomes this first step of the electronics and car industries, represented in the Responsible Mineral Initiative and Drive Sustainability, to map the risks in their supply chains. But more importantly, Terre des Hommes urges the companies in the electronics and automotive industries to use ‘Material Change’ to conduct due diligence towards their own supply chain.

Read the research ‘Global Mica Mining and the impact on children´s rights'.

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