Cobalt is a component in our lithium-ion batteries, and an important mineral to source responsibly. We are working actively to reduce sourcing risk.
As electrification grows in importance to our vehicle portfolio, so too does the focus on cobalt, which is used in lithium-ion batteries. There are concerns around the use of child labor in the mining of this mineral, which would represent a serious violation of our Supplier Code of Conduct and terms and conditions in supplier contracts.
Through our membership in the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), formerly known as the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative, we are working directly and actively on a cobalt sub-team in the following areas:
As part of the Responsible Minerals Initiative, we request that cobalt refiners complete assessments of social and environmental risk.
The work we are undertaking in the cobalt supply chain builds off the practices we have established around conflict mineral sourcing. Annual SEC disclosure of conflict mineral sourcing is fully integrated into our business processes. A dedicated team conducts due diligence, analyzes findings and reports conflict mineral information from our supply base that encompasses more than 4,400 supplier locations. Governance processes include a compliance committee of multifunctional GM leaders and an executive steering committee to provide leadership and direction for the program.
Beyond our own reporting activities, we work with our own supplier base regularly to increase education and awareness, including conducting periodic webinars and providing a dedicated email contact to answer specific questions. We continue to collaborate with others in the industry to educate suppliers. We co-chair the AIAG Conflict Minerals Work Group, which works on common automotive industry solutions with other OEMs and suppliers.
We are involved with several sub-teams within RMI, including the Smelter Engagement Team. If a smelter/refiner has not been validated as conflict-free (conformant to the RMI audit protocol), then GM sends letters to the smelters or refiners (SORs) to encourage them to participate in this third-party audit. To date, GM has sent letters to 118 smelters/refiners. To further encourage SORs to participate in the audit, GM has made contributions to the not-for-profit RMI Initial Audit Fund in 2017 and 2018. This fund is used to help offset the costs for the SOR to participate in the audit.
We uncovered a risk of child labor in mining mica in India. We worked with and met face-to-face with our Tier I supplier. We stopped their sourcing from their supplier (our Tier II) until we had assurance that the issue was mitigated. Third-party audit results were reviewed as part of this risk mitigation. In addition, we are working collaboratively within RMI and other RMI member companies on this issue.