Mr. Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler: Will you help these cobalt children, please? Children like Dorsen have helped companies make lots of profit. Dorsen works 12 hours a day for as little as 8p or 10̔¢. This is slave labour and a human rights abuse. Your help would be appreciated. Your company would be lauded.
Will Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler help #Dorsen and the Congolese cobalt children?
27 April 2017: Daimler response from Dr. Wolfram Hegar regarding Dorsen and Richard, child cobalt miners in the DR Congo: research, talk, but no practical help offered. We have written back...
Email response received from Dr. Wolfram Hegar, for which we thank him. Unfortunately, his letter makes no reference to Dorsen or Richard, child cobalt miners, or what Daimler can do to help these children in a practical sense.
The points Dr. Wolfam Hegar made were:
Daimler is against exploitation.
Daimler is scrutinizing their supply chain.
Daimler is researching and talking about the issue of human rights abuses.
This is welcomed but does not offer practical help to children who desperately need it every hour or every working day:
Our Cobalt Children letter explains:
Individuals, like me, can raise a little money to aid Congolese artisanal and child miners*, but it’s a drop in the ocean. Fundraising needs to be sustained on a large scale.
Countless consumers do care, but we need organising. You company can add value to goods by aligning them with fair trade and ethical practice, giving consumers the choice to pay more at the point of sale in the form of a donation, or by purchasing something extra (a lapel pin, a badge, a case marked #conflictminerals #DRCongo; there are endless possibilities), or by purchasing goods branded for the purpose of raising funds for Congolese welfare. Such funds could be directed to on-the-ground field workers and established projects and charities.
Is your company proactive and willing to participate?
Our conclusion on Daimler's response: Daimler does not address the key point in our letter: to fundraise and organise practical help for Dorsen, Richard and the cobalt children. No help is offered.
Good to know that Daimler say they take the issue of the human rights abuses of cobalt children and creusseurs seriously. Research and talks are useful, but we need PRACTICAL HELP for Dorsen, Richard and the cobalt children. They need practical help for: food, shelter, clothes, schooling and their general welfare.
Second email sent: 28 April 2017.
Our question: Will Vodafone support our fundraising project to help Dorsen, Richard and the cobalt children?
From: Flinty Maguire, Cobalt Children [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: 28 April 2017 15:17 To: 'firstname.lastname@example.org' <email@example.com> Subject: Cobalt children in the DR Congo: Dorsen and Richard
Dear Dr. Heger
Thank you for your email. I understand from corporates that there is a zero tolerance policy to child labour; that there is research into supply chains and that, in reality, it is difficult to trace the source of cobalt. The answers I am receiving from corporates are similar to the answers received by Mark Dummett of Amnesty International, when he sought clarification on cobalt sourcing for his report: This Is What We Die For, published January 2016.
However, I asked for specfic help in fundraising for cobalt children, including Dorsen and Richard, who spoke of their miserable existence in Alex Crawford's Sky News film. This film, posted on Facebook, has received over 44 million views. There are over 836,000 shares.
An update on the Dorsen and Richard situation. We have canvased the support of Sky News. A member of the Sky News team hopes to visit DR Congo next week to liaise with the director of Kimbilio, a project based in Lubumbashi. Kimbilio is supported by the registered children's charity: Congo Children Trust, founded by Ian Harvey of the UK. The charity supports street children and children forced to work mines. I am in direct contact with Ian Harvey and Nick Ludlam. There is a plan to try to locate Dorsen and Richard and make an assessment of their needs. Sky News may cover this story again if we can make progress. Not only do we plan to offer assistance to Dorsen, Richard and other children, but we can, collectively, highlight the issue of child cobalt and artisanal mining in the DR Congo again.
Please will you help us raise funds for Dorsen and Richard and the cobalt children? It's practical help they need: relief from 12 hour days, beatings, starvation, hard labour, health threats. Academic research, conferences, corporate responses have their place, but these children need our practical help now.
I look forward to your reply which will be published on www.cobaltchildren.org
Many thanks and kind regards
Flinty Maguire (Ms)
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: 27 April 2017 14:10 To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Your letter to Daimler
Dear Mr. Maguire,
we thank you for your letter and opportunity to respond to your concerns.
In response to your overall query we would like to emphasize that Daimler neither sources directly from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) nor from suppliers in the DRC. Further, Daimler rejects generally - in its own operations as well as its supply chain - any work or circumstances which are likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children. We can state, that none of the companies which were named by the original report that brought the issue to attention last year, are direct suppliers of our company.
Nevertheless, we take the issue raised very seriously in general and consequently initialized a follow up process with our direct suppliers in order to further scrutinize the issue as such and to check the processes and measures taken by our suppliers to prevent such alleged practices in their upstream supply chains.
Daimler requires all of its suppliers to comply with the relevant regulations and laws. Our "Supplier Sustainability Standards" impose strict obligations with respect to working conditions, social standards, environmental standards and business ethics that go beyond the requirements of the law. These standards are an integral part of the contracts that Daimler concludes with its suppliers. Our suppliers undertake to comply with these standards, communicate them to their employees, and apply them to their upstream value chains.
Daimler, together with other companies, has taken additional and further action and initiated a pilot project under the auspices of the German Global Compact Network, to conduct a joint human rights risk assessment focused on high-voltage batteries and electro mobility and aimed to assess potential risks associated with these products. This process specifically included, but was not limited to, Cobalt, and, at the request of the participants also assessed other materials connected with electro mobility. The report on the project (in German) can be found at:
Beyond this, we are also currently in talks with various initiatives set-up to tackle human rights issues in supply chains, amongst others, the EICC/Responsible Raw Materials Initiative, the responsible materials initiative of the World Economic Forum as well as the GIZ (German Development Organization) concerning potential Public Private Partnership initiatives, which in part also engage locally in their work.
With the above information and new initiatives we hope we can demonstrate to you that we take the issue seriously and are undertaking further action to continuously improve our human rights due diligence approach in regard to the general issue.
Dr. Wolfram Heger
Senior Manager Corporate Responsibility Management
Integrität und Recht – IL/CR
From: Flinty Maguire, Cobalt Children [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: 18 April 2017 14:16 To: 'firstname.lastname@example.org' <email@example.com> Subject: FAO Dieter Zetsche, CEO Daimler
Dear Mr Dieter Zetsche,
I posted a letter to you on the 10 April 2017. I attach it here again.
I wish to draw your attention to the Sky News report: “Inside the Congo mines that exploit children”. The report deals with the mining of cobalt used in lithium ion batteries in profitable and widely used items such as smartphones and laptops.
The Sky News report features Dorsen, an 8 year old boy who mines cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He works 12 hours a day for as little as eight British pence. This Sky News report triggered the Cobalt Children campaign to ask companies, such as yours, to organize help for these children and creusseurs.
The Sky News report is posted on Facebook has had 43 million views and has been shared over 834,000 times. There are over 150,000 comments.
I am sure you will agree that this overwhelming response from the general public to the issue of child labour in cobalt mines, and the exploited labour of creusseurs, warrants comment and action from your company.
I appreciate you need to consider your response which I look forward to receiving on or before 8st May, 2017. From now, until that date, Dorsen may have worked 252 hours of hard labour mining cobalt, which may include being beaten, starved and injured. This child, and others like him, need our collective help and they need it soon. We cannot let this issue go on for more years. It shames us all.