Volkswagen – you’re a brilliant company. Why such an unhelpful, cautious, unimaginative response? Children cannot eat reports. Ja?

Matthias Muller, CEO of Volkswagen
Please show your support for Dorsen

Oh dear. Volkswagen come back with a typical politically correct response with no offer of practical help for the cobalt children. I write back. Have you any intention of helping in a practical way? I point out that children cannot eat reports.

CEO of Volkswagen

Our follow-up email to Volkswagen, 10 May 2017. This is the afternoon before Dorsen and Richard where shown on Sky News being offered a place by the charity, Kimbilio.

From: Flinty Maguire, Cobalt Children []
Sent: 10 May 2017 12:21
To: ‘’ <>
Cc: ‘’ <>; Kimbilio Ian Harvey ( <>; ‘’ <>
Subject: RE: Ref. no.: VW-2017/05-008417
Importance: High

Dear  Maurizio Meloni  and Karl-Heinz Straub

Thank you for your response.

May I make this point: the children have already been hurt. The evidence is documented and filmed.

May I ask if you have any intention of making a practical gesture to support them?

It’s a shame that no corporation has come forward to actively support these children. What a missed opportunity for positive publicity.

Frankly, a gesture of support is needed from corporations. It would be welcomed and praised. We need just one corporation to show some responsibility and compassion for what has happened in the past to these children, and what is still happening.  A corporation has a golden opportunity to set a great example.

Please note: there is a Sky News report to be aired, hopefully tonight around 8pm. It revisits a recent report featuring the children Richard and Dorsen, who are the inspiration of this campaign.

It would be wonderful if you responded with some form of practical help. Academic talk is appreciated, but a practical approach actually helps children. Children do not eat reports. They need respite and  food.

All good wishes

Flinty Maguire


A reminder…  Dorsen and Richard have been helped. Their fathers are still starving and struggling to mine cobalt. There are thousands of children still in the mines.


SIGH. And here is Volkwagen’s standard, PC reply with no practical help offered.

From: []
Sent: 10 May 2017 07:57
Subject: Ref. no.: VW-2017/05-008417

Ref. no.: VW-2017/05-008417

10 May 2017

Dear Ms Maguire,

Thank you for your e-mail addressed to the Board of Management of the Volkswagen AG. As the responsible department for customer affairs, we have received your correspondence for further attention.

We can reassure you that we are just as concerned as you are about the reports regarding the working conditions in cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

We are in contact with our suppliers concerning the topic of cobalt. However, on the basis of the information available to us, we cannot confirm the delivery relationships presented in the news.

An important task for the Volkswagen Group is the integration of environmental and social standards into its Supplier Management Guidelines, whereby each agent in the value chain acts independently. With the contractual integration of the concept “Sustainability in Supplier Relationships”, the company and its business partners have assumed ecological, economic and social responsibility.

If it is suspected that direct suppliers or their subcontractors may not comply with our sustainability requirements, we ask them for a written statement. They are given an opportunity to present the matter and any corrective action to resolve the issues. If the answers are not satisfactory, further appropriate action is taken. This may include site visits to suppliers and other individual qualification measures for suppliers.

Volkswagen welcomes the proposition of improving transparency in the raw materials sector and we are active in several initiatives to remedy child labour or adults working in hazardous conditions. Since 2013, Volkswagen has participated in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) alongside governments and non-governmental organizations. Furthermore, we are currently an active stakeholder in the NamiRo research project for “sustainably extracted mineral commodities”

We hope this has answered your questions in a sufficient manner.

Yours sincerely,
i. V. Maurizio Meloni i. V. Karl-Heinz Straub

Volkswagen AG
38436 Wolfsburg
Tel +49 (0) 1806 890000**
Fax +49 (0) 1805 329865*
Mail to

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* 0,14 €/Min. aus dem dt. Festnetz, max. 0,42 €/Min. aus dem Mobilfunknetz

Sitz/Domicile: Wolfsburg
Registergericht/Court of Registry: Amtsgericht Braunschweig HRB Nr./. Commercial Register No.: 100484 Vorsitzender des Aufsichtsrats/Chairman of the Supervisory Board: Hans Dieter Poetsch Vorstand/Board of Management: Matthias Mueller (Vorsitzender/Chairman), Karlheinz Blessing, Herbert Diess, Francisco J. Garcia Sanz, Jochem Heizmann, Andreas Renschler, Rupert Stadler, Hiltrud D. Werner, Frank Witter

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