Union-Affiliated Investment firm challenges Rivian Automotive to Steer Clear of Deep Sea Mining

by Arlo Hemphill

October 21, 2021

The SOC Investment Group is calling on Rivian Automotive to address human rights and environmental concerns in its supply chain before its IPO.

© Marten van Dijl / Greenpeace

The SOC Investment Group, which manages the pension funds of over 4 million American union workers, has called on electric vehicle startup Rivian Automotive to address human rights and environmental concerns in their supply chain in advance of their Initial Public Offering.

Among the asks posed to Rivian is that they commit to never source minerals from the deep seabed and that they publicly support a moratorium on deep sea mining.  Should Rivian accept these demands, they would become the first American automakers to join companies such as BMW, Volvo Group, Google, and Samsung in making a public stand against the world’s newest destructive extractive industry.

Greenpeace USA supports the SOC and the union workers they represent in challenging Rivian to make these commitments to protect the oceans. Greenpeace and allies WWF and the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) are calling on all electric vehicle manufacturers to sign onto a joint Business Statement on deep sea mining that can be found at: https://www.noseabedmining.org/

The letter from SOC to Rivian was sent yesterday, October 20th, and can be found at: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d374de8aae9940001c8ed59/t/61705ede562c207ed1a40ea2/1634754270325/Rivian_Marcario_Letter_Human_Rights_Final_10.20.21.pdf

In response to this announcement Greenpeace USA’s Senior Oceans Campaigner Arlo Hemphill said:

“Opening the seabed to mining in the name of clean batteries risks broad-scale biodiversity loss, disruption of stored carbon on the seafloor, and poses unforeseen risks to traditional Pacific communities.  European automakers BMW and Volvo Group have chosen to act responsibly by committing to not using deep sea minerals in their batteries and are calling on governments to issue a moratorium on the practice.

As an emerging leader in electric vehicles, Rivian has an unprecedented opportunity to lead the American automaker sector in ensuring our transition to electric vehicles does not come with the unintended consequence of wholesale ocean destruction.

GPUS stands with SOC Investment Group and the more than 4 million union members whose pensions they represent in calling on Rivian to make a similar commitment to protect the oceans. We urge them to honor their proclaimed values of ‘responsible environmental, social, and governance practices’ and ensure that their battery supply chain is free of human rights abuses and environmental harms.”


Media Contacts:

Tanya Brooks, [email protected], tel.: 703-342-9226

Arlo Hemphill, [email protected]

Arlo Hemphill

By Arlo Hemphill

Arlo Hemphill is a senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace USA on board the Greenpeace ship Esperanza en-route to the Sargasso Sea.

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