The recent opening of the LA Auto Show was disrupted by protesters aiming to shine a light on harmful practices found in current EV supply chains. In addition to the environmental toll that manufacturing processes take on the environment, EV supply chains are also polluted by Uyghur forced labor and child labor, as reported by Wired.
Exposing the dirty underbelly of EV manufacture
Protesters dressed in Squid Game costumes staged a die-in at the LA Auto Show to draw attention to major environmental and modern slavery issues currently infecting EV production. The supply chain for EVs includes many industries, from mineral mining to metal smelting and battery manufacturing. China, a major supplier of many components needed for EVs, has shifted the mining of raw materials, processing facilities, and parts manufacturing to the Uyghur region, implicating Uyghur forced labor.
According to Sheffield Hallam University report:
“The Chinese government has…essentially (made) international supply chains captive to repressive programs and systematic forced labor,”
It is widely accepted that anything coming out of the Xinjiang region includes Uyghur forced labor. As the largest automaker, Toyota was singled out by protesters demanding that they use their “purchasing power as a force for good” and stop buying components made in the Uyghur region. Protesters also highlighted that the manufacture of EV components is damaging the environment as it’s often fueled by coal. Protesters criticized Hyundai for their reliance on coal-powered steel plants and their use of undocumented child labor in the U.S. as reported by a Reuters investigation last December.