Yesterday, the Global Battery Alliance's Cobalt Action Partnership (GBA CAP) published the Report from Stakeholder Consultations on the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Cobalt ESG Management Framework, written by RESOLVE and IMPACT. CAP engaged RESOLVE and IMPACT to learn from cobalt stakeholders and supply chain actors from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and internationally about needs and opportunities to support the artisanal cobalt sector. (The Responsible Cobalt Initiative is also conducting Chinese language consultations, and will consolidate and share findings in a separate report.)

About 70% of the global cobalt supply comes from the DRC, with an estimated 10-30% of this volume produced by artisanal miners. The development and commercial significance of this sector has led to many studies and initiatives to understand and design approaches to realize economic benefits for communities while intervening on serious human rights, labor, environmental, and governance risks and impacts. This CAP-commissioned report focuses on the ASM Cobalt Framework, a set of progressive requirements with the goal of helping to build a more inclusive and responsible cobalt supply chain.

Through this consultation with 145 Congolese and international organizations, stakeholders raised important questions and concerns but largely expressed willingness to engage constructively to make the Framework a robust and credible tool. The Framework's progressive improvement and investment structure is fundamental to this stakeholder support—a theme that RESOLVE has also heard emphasized in our work in artisanal gold and on the CRAFT Code.

The consultation also underscored the need for coordination across supply chain and development initiatives, not only to meet due diligence needs but also to help address root causes of unsafe, informal mining and child labor. There are efforts underway via GBA CAP, Cobalt for Development, the Fair Cobalt Alliance, the Responsible Cobalt Initiative, the EGC-Trafigura initiative, and others – and therefore significant room to enhance collaboration in the interest of improved outcomes in the DRC; coherent, credible systems; and other shared goals.

We are grateful to the many stakeholders who shared their time and expertise; GBA CAP for commissioning the consultation and their ongoing consideration of stakeholder engagement on these challenging issues; and IMPACT for their partnership on this consultation, including the DRC-based team with the critical role of engaging with stakeholders in Kolwezi, Lubumbashi, and Kinshasa.

The report is available in English, French, and Chinese on GBA's publication page. For more on the Framework, please see the consultation website.