A ground-breaking non-profit pilot initiative making the production of cobalt more responsible and transparent.

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A ground-breaking public-private initiative aimed at transforming mining communities in the DR Congo. We are making the production and export of cobalt more ethical, transparent and traceable.

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Better Cobalt is a data-generating pilot project that uses technology and trained field agents to monitor the production and trade of cobalt to improve social impact and responsible practice.

Once proved, the system has the potential to be scaled across the DRC cobalt mining sector.

The pilot will deliver up to 4 supply chains originating from ASM and semi-mechanized mine sites.

Cobalt produced at these sites will be validated against the highest internationally ratified responsible sourcing standards while also specifically focusing on child labor and human rights abuses.

The Better Cobalt Approach:

  1. 1.Supply chain evaluation
  2. 2.Smart monitoring by field agents
  3. 3.Optional electronic traceability from mine site
  4. 4.Information stored on secure database
  5. 5.Real time reporting
  6. 6.Continual monitoring and assessment

Better Cobalt will:

  • Enable – for the first time – comprehensive, OECD compliant, due diligence in DRC cobalt
  • Facilitate systemic improvements in the conditions of cobalt production in the DRC
  • Monitor the impact of mining as well as CSR and development interventions in local communities


Better Cobalt offers development donors and commercial actors involved in DRC cobalt the opportunity to play an active role in a truly cutting-edge, impactful intervention that will directly improve the working conditions and opportunities of DRC citizens working in the sector.

Our launch partners include China's largest cobalt refiner, Huayou Cobalt. Additionally Fairphone, Huayou, and Signify have signed a partnership aimed at a transparent and responsible ASM Cobalt supply chain. This partnership supports the Better Cobalt initiative's work in providing ASM cobalt monitoring data. Better Cobalt also recieves financial support from other midstream and downstream companies beyond this consortium. 

There is still time for your organisation to join the Better Cobalt Initiative as a supporter or participant. Find out more below. 

Huayou Cobalt in partnership with Fairphone and Signify and other upstream, midstream and downstream companies.

Better Cobalt Signify Better Cobalt Signify Better Cobalt Signify

There are two ways you can support the Better Cobalt Initiative

Better Cobalt Participants

Allows companies to benefit directly from the secured cobalt supply dimension, as well as the added CSR and impact opportunities the direct participation affords

Better Cobalt Supporters

Allows companies to publicly support this great cause without immediately committing to directly participating in Better Cobalt supply chain

How your organisation can support Better Cobalt

Better Cobalt Participant Better Cobalt Supporter
Be an active participant or off-taker from the pilot supply chain
 
Become a member of the Better Cobalt steering group
 
Be an official founder-partner of Better Cobalt
 
Access to the Better Sourcing Program Data Platform
 
Opportunity to engage in future Better Cobalt linked projects (incl Blockchain)
Have the opportunity to be involved in public campaigns on Better Cobalt
Be an official supporter of Better Cobalt and feature in promotional material
Promote your support for Better Cobalt in company reporting
Access to monthly progress briefing

How Better Sourcing works. Risk and incident monitoring and traceability

The reality of DRC Cobalt at present

  • Lack of quality data on conditions within cobalt ASM sites and a lack of transparency
  • There is a persistence of child labor and other serious human rights issues/incidents. But data on this is not collected consistently and systematically to allow for more effective responses
  • The result is that presently child labor eradication efforts, which are so important, are not linked to measurable improvements in supply chains
  • Impact is not systematically demonstrable and solutions are often not scalable

There is a need for a coordinated response

  • There is currently no OECD aligned chain of custody system implemented in the cobalt sector to systematically distinguish and validate responsible production as compliant with the CCCMC/RCI/RMI Cobalt Refiner Assurance Framework Protocol
  • Industry is spending money on audits that provide a limited insight into the production and trading stages but do not provide significant enough assurance or development value
  • Once the auditor goes, conditions can change very quickly

Better Cobalt will:

  1. Create a digital footprint for artisanally mined DRC cobalt

  2. Enable – for the first time – comprehensive, OECD compliant, due diligence 

  3. Facilitate systemic improvements in the conditions of cobalt production and tradein the DRC

  4. Monitor the impact of mining as well as CSR and development interventions in local communities

  5. Draw on the experience and knowledge of our existing teams on the ground in the DRC to train Better Cobalt staff and supply chain participants and stakeholders

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©2018 Better Cobalt