Ford has become the first American automaker to join the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance, or IRMA, an expansion of the company’s commitment to safeguard human rights, communities where such work is done, and the broader environment. The membership is another step towards FoMoCo’s human rights aspiration to responsibly source all raw materials used within vehicles globally – a journey Ford has been taking steps toward for over 20 years.
As we recently reported, Ford has also committed to lead the electric vehicle and sustainable mobility revolution by nearly doubling, to $22 billion, what it will invest in developing EVs. That work will also increase the company’s reliance on mined material, particularly related to the production of electric vehicle batteries.
Historically, mining activities have contributed to negative environmental and social effects, including the use of child labor, acid runoff into essential water and food sources, and noise and air pollution. Many materials are mined in areas of the world designated as conflict-affected and high-risk areas, where poor governance can lead to a higher risk of conflict and exploitation.
IRMA works to advance responsible mining practices, providing third-party verification and certification against comprehensive environmental and social criteria for all mined materials. The global standard was developed over 10 years, in consultation with more than 100 stakeholder groups including mining companies, affected communities, NGOs, labor groups, and purchasing companies using mined materials. The standard covers all mined materials, except for energy fuels, and is applicable to all sizes of industrial mines in all parts of the world.
“Everything we make and everything that goes into our products throughout the supply chain must not only comply with local laws but follow our commitment to sustainability and human rights protection,” said Sue Slaughter, Ford’s purchasing director for supply chain sustainability.” Joining IRMA helps us and other companies consistently achieve that goal by forwarding best practices to address environmental, social, and governance issues.”
The company’s work with IRMA will support collaborative work with cross-industry brands so that it may communicate to mining companies consistent, clear, and shared expectations for responsible practices.
“We welcome Ford’s membership and commend their leadership as the first American automaker to join IRMA,” said Aimee Boulanger, executive director, IRMA. “We look forward to working with Ford as it joins a growing number of companies leveraging their purchasing to protect communities and the environment on which they depend where mining happens.”