German carmaker Volkswagen has quit purchasing mica from a few suppliers in India, taking after a Thomson Reuters Foundation examination that discovered child workers were dying in illegal, unregulated mines, an organization official said.
A three-month examination in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh uncovered that no less than seven youngsters were killed since June mining for mica, the mineral that puts a radiance in makeup and car paint.
The investigation, coupled with a study of the industry by human rights group Terre des Hommes, prompted the world’s top-selling carmaker to start investigations into its suppliers in India, VW spokeswoman Leslie Bothge said.
VW and its tier one, or direct, paint suppliers in India have put additional due diligence efforts in place to make sure the mica they are buying comes from legal mines where child labour is not used, Bothge said.
“Additional efforts were also undertaken at the second tier level,” Bothge said in an e-mail in response to questions. “This has led to the temporary suspension of purchases on some supply chains until the due diligence is completed and respective measures have been put in place.”
VW’s paint suppliers are discussing the possibility of creating an “industry and multi-stakeholder platform” to address the issue and find solutions to avoid child labour in the mica supply chain, she said.
“To find sustainable solutions … is not an easy task, and one that (will) also take some time,” Bothge said.
India is one of the world’s biggest makers of mica, a silver-shaded, crystalline mineral that has picked up noticeable quality lately as an environmentally friendly material.
Other major worldwide brands purchasing mica from India likewise pledged to bulk up assessments of their suppliers child labour after the investigation. These incorporate Chinese pigment manufacturer Fujian Kuncai Material Technology Co Ltd, German drugmaker Merck KGaA and beauty care products creator L’Oreal.