Fund advisor presses EV startup Rivian on environment, human rights ahead of IPO

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DETROIT, Oct 20 (Reuters) – A union-affiliated pension fund advisor mentioned it’s urgent Rivian on human rights and setting considerations within the electrical automobile startup’s battery provide chain forward of its anticipated blockbuster preliminary public providing.

SOC Funding Group, in a letter despatched Wednesday to Rivian board member Rose Marcario, known as on the Irvine, California-based firm to “decide to a rigorous human rights evaluation of Rivian and its worth chain” earlier than it finalizes the S-1 doc with U.S. regulators for its IPO. SOC offered a replica of the letter to Reuters.

“Failure to deal with potential human rights abuses and environmental harms related to the battery life cycle exposes Rivian to important regulatory, litigation and reputational dangers,” SOC Government Director Dieter Waizenegger mentioned within the letter, calling on Rivian to reply by Nov. 3.

“It simply was baffling to us once we have been wanting by way of the S-1 that they are fully silent on that,” he added in an interview with Reuters, citing the corporate’s advertising to shoppers who get pleasure from an out of doors life-style. “The (battery) provide chain and manufacturing is rife with human rights dangers.”

As problems with environmental, social and company governance tackle rising necessary with buyers, automakers have come below stress to show that such minerals as lithium and cobalt for his or her electrical autos batteries are sourced with out human rights abuses.

Prior to now, Tesla Chief Government Elon Musk has expressed his want to get rid of using cobalt from the EV chief’s batteries due to the monetary and status danger of a steel related to youngster labor and poor security situations at artisanal mines within the Democratic Republic of Congo, the world’s dominant producer.

SOC known as on Rivian to undertake insurance policies to establish and forestall human rights dangers and environmental impacts by way of its provide chain primarily based on United Nations guiding ideas for companies.

It additionally needs Rivian to publicly assist a moratorium on deep-seabed mining, undertake a coverage to not purchase minerals from the deep seabed, designate a board committee with accountability for oversight of those points and report yearly to buyers on the corporate’s efforts.

Rivian mentioned the well being and wellbeing of individuals and the planet knowledgeable the way it operates.

“Working with supplies suppliers and provide chain companions on moral sourcing practices is a crucial piece of that,” the corporate mentioned in a press release. “As we have specified by our IPO submitting paperwork, we’re dedicated to accountable environmental, social, and governance practices and that features thorough reporting and disclosure.”

Rivian is nearing an IPO within the coming weeks that would appeal to a valuation of about $80 billion and lift between $5 billion and $8 billion for the corporate. Its pre-IPO buyers embrace Ford Motor Co , , T. Rowe Worth and BlackRock .

SOC, previously referred to as CtW Funding Group, is an advisor for union pension funds which have greater than $250 billion in belongings. It has taken a extra activist method with such corporations as Doordash , Uber and Lyft , round such points as board variety, government pay and firm inventory construction.

That is the primary time SOC has approached an automaker concerning the battery provide chain, and Waizenegger mentioned it’s going to increase the difficulty with different automakers, in addition to buyers.

Waizenegger cited BlackRock, the world’s largest asset supervisor, as having required corporations it invests in to stop human rights abuses. He mentioned SOC had not but reached out to BlackRock about its letter to Rivian.

He additionally mentioned such automakers as Ford and Daimler AG have made commitments to guard human rights and the setting. As well as, AB Volvo and BMW have backed a name for a moratorium on deep-sea mining.

Amnesty Worldwide, which has reported prior to now on human rights abuses in cobalt mines in Africa, have seen SOC’s letter to Rivian, and welcomed the push. It was one of many authors of a report demanding corporations within the battery provide chain shield people rights and the setting.

Richard Kent, the group’s researcher on human rights and power transition, mentioned all automakers are falling wanting implementing the United Nations guiding ideas on enterprise and human rights.

“Traders are enjoying an more and more lively position in due diligence all over the world, notably in corporations driving the power transition,” he mentioned.

Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit
Enhancing by Nick Zieminski


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