Questioning legitimacy of responsible cobalt sourcing in the DRC

Hadassah Arian

In reaction to the global focus on ‘battery minerals’ along with increased sustainability pressures, a new ‘responsible sourcing framework’ is changing the DRC’s cobalt supply chain governance. Diverse actors are actively cooperating based on their common stated goal of making cobalt sourcing more responsible, launching a range of national as well as international initiatives. The research upon which this seminar is based brings a discourse analysis of how ‘responsible cobalt’ is legitimised into conversation with an analysis of the everyday practices and interactions of cobalt mining communities, in order to give an insight into the contested field of legitimacy. Pointing to potential legitimacy gaps contributes to understanding current implementation difficulties, while also creating possibilities to propose alternative pathways that center mining communities’ priorities in responsible sourcing activities.