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Ten leading car companies including BMW and Volkswagen said they would address the ethical and environmental issues around their use of raw materials, following reports that child labour is used to mine cobalt for batteries.

The car companies said they would set up a “Raw Materials Observatory” to “identify and address ethical, environmental, human and labour rights issues in the sourcing of raw materials.”

The statement came after a meeting of 70 car companies, suppliers, NGOs and EU institutions in Brussels.

It follows growing concerns about child labour in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which provides over half of the world’s supply of cobalt, a critical metal for most electric car batteries.

This month the London Metal Exchange said it had asked its members to tell them their responsible sourcing policies, after concern was raised about the presence of untraceable cobalt on the exchange.

The other members of the group called “Drive Sustainability” include Daimler, Ford, Honda, Jaguar Land rover, Scania,Toyota Motor Europe, Volvo Cars and Volvo Group.

The group said it will unveil its action plan to address risks in the supply chain at the beginning of next year.

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