BMW will buy cobalt from Australia and Morocco to ensure the mineral is responsibly sourced, shunning the Democratic Republic of Congo and its questionable mining practices.
According to Bloomberg, the decision coincides with a London Metal Exchange review into whether its cobalt is linked with child labour.
Andreas Wendt, BMW board member responsible for procurement, told media the decision will affect the next generation of battery-electric models, set to arrive in 2020.
In the short term, the company won't buy cobalt from small Congolese mines as their practices are "simply not compatible with [BMW's] sustainability standards", according to Wendt.
BMW says leaning on Australia and Morocco for supply will "achieve better long-term supply security and price stability", with Wendt arguing they "operate in line with our sustainability standards and there are no issues with working conditions such as child labor".
UNICEF estimates more than 40,000 children were working in Congolese mines back in 2014. The nation has the world's largest Cobalt reserves – and the mineral is a critical component in the lithium-ion batteries powering battery-electric vehicles.
Although it's a step, BMW isn't completely disconnected from cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It's part of a pilot project investigating sustainable cobalt mining in the African nation, teamed with BASF, Samsung SDI and Samsung Electronics.