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RMI and RCI Publish Revised Cobalt Refiner Supply Chain Due Diligence Standard

Collaboration Refines Tools That Support Ethical Cobalt Value Chains Globally

ALEXANDRIA and BEIJING, August 19, 2021 – The Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) and Responsible Cobalt Initiative (RCI) today announced the publication of their revised Cobalt Refiner Supply Chain Due Diligence Standard.

The two organizations collaborated to revise the Cobalt Refiner Supply Chain Due Diligence Standard that was originally released in August 2018. The revised Standard is designed to further support companies’ due diligence and responsible production and sourcing activities within the cobalt value chain and enables companies to also comply with the London Metal Exchange (LME) Responsible Sourcing requirements.

The revised cobalt standard is the result of a multi-year process to review the process and results of independent third-party assessments and receive feedback from refiners, auditors and customers. The revised standard went through multiple rounds of consultation, including a public comment and review period, and builds on the learnings and implementation of the previous cobalt standard and further clarifies requirements. Major updates include:

  • Clarified required data points that must be captured by system of controls and transparency for all cobalt-bearing material received.
  • Clarified requirements to assess plausibility of material coming from declared sources.
  • Further articulation of company risk management requirements.
  • Addition of Step 6: Community Participation, which encourages companies to consider ways to effectively engage local communities to establish partnerships with artisanal miners, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders.

SUN Lihui, Director of China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemicals Importers & Exporters (CCCMC) and Chairman of Responsible Cobalt Initiative (RCI), said, “As a key raw material of new energy battery, cobalt value chain’s responsibility, stability and predictability are widely concerned. The standard will effectively guide the companies’ responsible procurement practice, advocate the up- and downstream companies to collaborate along the supply chain, and govern the risks in the supply chain in line with the principles of continuously improving, and addressing both the symptoms and root causes.”

“Expectations on companies to demonstrate responsible cobalt production and sourcing are increasing worldwide,” said Rob Lederer, CEO of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA). “Implementation of this revised standard will enhance responsible cobalt trade by setting clear and progressive requirements for companies in the cobalt value chain.”  

The revised Standard is developed in line with the principles and requirements of the Chinese Due Diligence Guidelines for Responsible Mineral Supply Chains and the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Mineral Supply Chains from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas.

The Standard encourages companies to source responsibly from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas and, where relevant, from artisanal and small-scale mineral producers. Procurement responsibilities include due diligence and risk management but may also include engagement with stakeholders in the supply chain to drive positive impact for the local communities that are beyond the actions required under this Standard.

The Standard will undergo an independent third-party OECD Alignment Assessment, necessary to obtain formal approval by the LME.

The revised Cobalt Refiner Supply Chain Due Diligence Standard can be accessed here.


The Responsible Cobalt Initiative (RCI) is an international initiative jointly initiated by the up- and downstream companies in the global cobalt supply chain, and relevant organizations. It is dedicated to identifying, preventing and addressing the social and environmental challenges in the face of cobalt supply chain with a systematic method, minimizing negative impacts, improving community livelihood, and building an inclusive, sustainable and responsible cobalt supply chain. Through improving the transparency of supply chain and the governance capacity of companies, cooperating with stakeholders and implementing on-the-ground action programs, introducing good practices in the industry, and consulting with stakeholders, RCI strives to facilitate the cooperation and dialogue between the up- and downsteam actors, and address the risks and challenges along the cobalt supply chain.

About RMI

The Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) is an initiative of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA). The RMI is a multi-industry initiative with more than 400 member companies. Its members contribute to the development and international uptake of a range of tools and resources focused on minerals supply chain due diligence, including independent third-party audit programs for smelters, Minerals Reporting Templates, supply chain risk assessment tools, Country of Origin data, and guidance documents on responsible sourcing of all minerals/metals. The RMI runs regular workshops on responsible sourcing issues and contributes to policy development with civil society organizations and governments. For more information, visit

Media Contacts:

Jarrett Bens, Senior Director of Communications
Responsible Business Alliance
Phone: +1 571.858.5721

Rachel Zhou, Deputy Secretary-General
Responsible Cobalt Initiative
Phone: + 86 10 85692646

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