Why SUSHI BIKES has joined the Fair Cobalt Alliance

This is a guest blog authored by SUSHI BIKES founder and CEO Andy Weinzierl, as Munich-based SUSHI BIKES joins the FCA as the first e-bike brand, joining the growing membership of the FCA.

SUSHI BIKES is a young start-up for e-bikes, founded in 2019. We produce quality e-bikes for the urban environment at an affordable price since we want everyone to be able to contribute to green mobility. For us, green mobility is a lifestyle that starts with a feeling and ends with a revolutionized streetscape.

Bringing a new product to the market comes along with great responsibility. We developed a product that contributes to green mobility but at the same time we are facing the challenge to produce this product as sustainable as possible. That is why we combine both approaches by seeing this commitment to all life on earth as a continuous process that starts with the big idea of ​​sustainable mobility and extends to the intricacies of everyday life.

We are a small team and a company in growth and unlike large industrial groups, we do not have many suppliers and manufacturers nor a lot of leverage when we enter into negotiations. Nevertheless, we are aware of the importance of the right suppliers and raw materials and also work with the manufacturers to improve our products.

At the moment, we only have direct visibility on our tier one suppliers. They, however, source components from a wide array of suppliers, with the supply chain going several supply chain tiers up to where the raw materials originated. As a result of this complexity, it is not easy to trace the entire supply chain of individual bicycle components. Nevertheless, we accept our responsibility and are always striving to improve continuously in order to contribute our part to a more sustainable development. To this end, we are regularly visiting our production facilities, actively measuring our emissions and pursuing other sustainable initiatives and behavior. For instance, we are a partner of  Deutsche Recycling and working on bringing the SUSHI BIKES akku back to the circular economy. Now we can proudly announce to be a part of the  Fair Cobalt Alliance in order to increase our impact on the cobalt extraction and to support fair labor conditions throughout the supply chain.

SUSHI BIKES is aware of the complexity of the battery supply chain and the ESG challenges associated with the production of cobalt, especially as cobalt is an essential component of batteries in current electromobility. By using lithium-ion batteries, cobalt is directly part of our supply chain. The negative impacts artisanal cobalt extraction can have on local communities have been well documented and widely reported. As a company trying to build a sustainable and fair solution to e-mobility, we see it as our responsibility to ensure that our commitment to fairness extends throughout the entire supply chain of the necessary raw materials, especially where the extraction occurs in challenging sourcing environments potentially impacting local communities negatively. Being a small actor at the end of a global supply chain, however, we find it difficult to have a direct influence upstream. This is exactly where the Fair Cobalt Alliance plays a crucial role for us, allowing us to contribute to collective action on the ground, despite being a small player far removed from the challenges that occur elsewhere in the world Turning a supply chain risk that many try to avoid, into an opportunity for creating decent jobs and driving local development in one of the poorest places on earth.

We already started talking to the FCA a year ago, but at that stage our team was too small and we did not have the bandwidth to do things seriously. Now, a year later, we are finally ready to join the alliance.  For us, FCA membership is more than a mere financial contribution, it is an important step taken with others on a common  journey to better understand the impact of our supply chain. By ourselves it would not be possible to get directly involved. By joining a collective action, we can now achieve real impact in the field.

On a guest editorial on the SUSHI BIKES Blog, David Sturmes welcomes SUSHI BIKES to the Fair Cobalt Alliance. If you want to find out more about sustainability at SUSHI BIKES, visit www.sushi-bikes.com/impact.