Civil society organisations critically assess supply chains of German… — Volkswagen 2017

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Major German car use tons of metals every The primary materials are often in very harsh labour By Sheila Mysorekar

Not only so “conflict re­sources” such as or coltan are being produced little regard for human the labour conditions are harsh in ore as well, for instance. German use great quantities of iron, copper and other metals.

The car is an especially important bulk Therefore, civil society have done research whether the corporations are aware of labour conditions prevail in supply chain and what do when such information is In September, the non-governmental organisations for the World, Misereor and the Global Forum Europe published a on the matter. It confronts German car with their responsibility for the conditions in the production of commodities as as car parts.

Sadly enough, violations of rights and environmental pollution to be commonplace in this business, as the Uwe Kerkow, Jens Martens and Müller elaborate. They the entire value chain ore mining to the finished car, examples of raw material supply countries like Zambia, and India.

From chunks of ore to the car

A car typically consists of steel and to more than 60 %. why the authors checked diligently and how iron and steel are being which corporations dominate industry, how mining is done and how is turned into steel. point out that mining ore leads to violent land forced evictions and relocations. study illustrates the matter by the case of India, among (please see essay by Aditi Roy in D+C/E+Z 2012/06, p. 234 ff.).

Copper is another metal is indispensable in car production. The study that copper extraction the use of chemicals, which in many regions leads to contamination of water, for instance in Peru.

important component of cars is which is made from For the bauxite open-pit mining, forests are cut down and poisonous taken for granted, which serious health problems for the communities. The civil society present Brazil as a typical The authors conclude: “Many prove that human violations are frequent in the extraction of ore, bauxite and copper as as in the production of steel and aluminium, all of are essential for car manufacturing.” On this they con­sider the responsibility of the car for human rights violations and hazards in their supply

The study takes stock of major car manufacturers which their headquarters in Germany: Daimler and BMW. These produce 10.3 million annually, which in turn at least 11 million tons materials, as the document spells It analyses the structure of production and chains as well as the prevalent conditions. It also assesses practices in the commodities business and an appraisal of the sustainabi­lity reports by BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen as as their major suppliers ThyssenKrupp, the German-based steel

Volkswagen 2017

Checking supply chains

At on paper, the corporations admit their social and environmental including for human rights, is not to what happens within factories, but must cover the chain too. The civil critics maintain, nonetheless, corporate sustainability strategies reflect the managers’ worries supply bottlenecks, rather social and environmental standards in exporting countries. The study by Bread for the World, Misereor and the Policy Forum concludes the corporations do not systematically check basic labour standards, rights and ecological principles are in their supply chains.

The car industry takes a different Upon request by D+C/E+Z, the office of BMW’s corporate office stated that, as a of principle, the company wants rights to be enforced, so all suppliers are to strictly adhere to all legal BMW reports, moreover, that have been under an since 2008 to issue a disclosure about their regarding relevant sustainability The catalogue of questions is said to been made compulsory for small enterprises and service in 2010. BMW insists that queries confirmed that “no materials from critical were used in the products of our so such materials were not in products of the BMW Group either”.


Daimler made similar pointing out that its corporate guidelines for suppliers demand standards worldwide and are part of the with direct suppliers: “We of our suppliers that they the contents of our guideline to their own that they commit accordingly and that they the compliance with the sustainability along the supply chain.” according to Daimler, certification the entire supply chain be “impossible due to the high complexity of and delivery relations”.

In the eyes of for the World, Misereor and the Global Forum, that is not enough. demand transparency in the entire chain, from iron ore to the car. Their recent argues that neither regulations nor voluntary corporate have stemmed the abuse of rights. The authors demand Germany’s Federal Government make compliance with rights as well as environmental and standards a precondition for development with commodity exporting

Sheila Mysorekar

Volkswagen 2017
Volkswagen 2017
Volkswagen 2017
Volkswagen 2017
Volkswagen 2017

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