Call on Canada to protect human rights and the planet in the battery supply chain
Photo: Artisanal extraction of salt in Salinas Grandes, Argentina (Photo by Diego Leanza, Amnesty International, 2018
To minimize the harmful effects of climate change on human rights, Canada needs to transition to a zero-carbon economy as quickly as possible.
Rechargeable batteries are key to this transition. Unfortunately, rechargeable batteries currently on the market, like lithium-ion batteries, have a hefty human rights and environmental price tag: people in countries where battery minerals are mined report human rights abuses and environmental harms.
Previous Amnesty research exposed how cobalt mined by children in the DRC could be entering the supply chains of some of the world’s biggest electronic and electric vehicle brands, while in South America, evidence points to lithium extraction posing risks to Indigenous peoples’ water resources and fragile ecosystems.
If our energy transition is facilitated by human exploitation, dispossession, and environmental harm, we will look back on this critical time with regret. It does not need to be like this.
Amnesty International has just released “Powering Change”, a set of key principles that business and governments must adopt to avoid causing or contributing to human rights and environment harms along the battery value chain. We are calling on the Canadian government to endorse the Principles.
Send a message to the Ministers of Innovation, Science and Technology and Environment and Climate Change to make sure Canada endorses the Principles.
Now is the time for Canada to make sure that the shift to renewable energy does not come at the expense of human rights.