Cobalt Reporting is Here to Stay: Introducing the CRT 1.1

Cobalt Reporting is Here to Stay: Introducing the CRT 1.1

Bring up the topic of responsible mineral sourcing, and cobalt is the word on the tip of everyone’s tongue.

In March 2018, the Responsible Minerals Initiative announced the pilot Cobalt Reporting Template (CRT). On Dec. 21, 2018, version 1.1 of the CRT was released.

Companies have put a focus on cobalt, much of which ends up in lithium-ion batteries, being responsibly sourced. It was almost the fifth conflict mineral, joining the 3TGs when Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was introduced in the United States, but it was met with corporate resistance.

The topic has since gained attention after a 2017 Amnesty International report drew attention to child labor in the supply chain, with a focus on cobalt mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and companies such as Apple have committed to tracking cobalt throughout the supply chain.

The CRT was developed as an industry-standard template to voluntarily collect cobalt data throughout the supply chain, at the request of downstream reporting companies. The pilot template was introduced in March 2018 for a six-month trial period.

Following the pilot and a feedback period, the template (with changes to fix bugs, function in Japanese and an updated Smelter Reference List) was formally launched as version 1.1. According to the RMI, further updates are expected in the spring of 2019.

The majority of cobalt comes as a secondary source from nickel and copper; the only true large scale dedicated cobalt mine is located in Morocco. The Cobalt Institute will play a large role in cobalt processor validation, following the trend of metals associations become involved in validation program management.

This is the first voluntary initiative for responsible minerals reporting adopted by industry, and it could be the first of many — the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has a list of more than 30 proposed minerals that require responsible sourcing practices. The CRT is similar to the existing Conflict Mineral Reporting Template (CMRT), the key difference being the CMRT tracks tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold (3TG), and the CRT tracks cobalt only.

Assent’s supply chain data management platform allows companies to use the most up-to-date industry standards, such as the CRT, to survey the supply chain and conduct due diligence.

The Assent Compliance Platform allows users to survey the supply chain using the CRT, conduct focused supplier sendouts and gather smelter data. To learn more about how Assent can support your responsible mineral sourcing program email info@assentcompliance.com.

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