Ford Motor said this morning in Dearborn that it is the first American automaker to join the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance, IRMA, “to safeguard human rights, communities where such work is done, and the broader environment.” Ford said this is another step Towards its desire to responsibly source all raw materials used within vehicles globally. BMW Group and IndustriALL are already members.
This follows Fords desire to catch up with other global automakers on what now appears to be a headlong rush to electric vehicles and sustainable mobility. Ford has nearly doubled, to $22 billion, what it will invest in developing EVs and solutions. This will increase the company’s reliance on mined material, particularly related to production of electric vehicle batteries.
“Historically, mining activities have contributed to negative environmental and social effects, including use of child labor, acid runoff into essential water and food sources, and noise and air pollution,” Ford said. “Many materials are mined in areas of the world designated as conflict-affected and high-risk areas, where poor governance can lead to higher risk of conflict and exploitation.”
IRMA works to advance responsible mining practices, providing third-party verification and certification against comprehensive environmental and social criteria for all mined materials. The global standard was developed over 10 years, in consultation with more than 100 stakeholder groups including mining companies, affected communities, NGOs, labor groups and purchasing companies using mined materials. The standard covers all mined materials (except for energy fuels? Big oil?) and is applicable to all sizes of industrial mines in all parts of the world.
“Everything we make and everything that goes into our products throughout the supply chain must not only comply with local laws, but follow our commitment to sustainability and human rights protection,” said Sue Slaughter, Ford’s purchasing director for supply chain sustainability. “Joining IRMA helps us, and other companies consistently achieve that goal by forwarding best practices to address environmental, social, and governance issues.”