How can we secure our cobalt supply?

The twelfth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) is about ensuring sustainable production and consumption patterns. The LDE Centre for Sustainability focuses on the complex societal issue of sustainability and the circular economy. Students and academics address complex research questions to pave a way towards improving sustainability. One of the questions is how we can secure the supply chain of cobalt in a sustainable way.

The European Commission has identified cobalt as a critical material based on two characteristics: "great importance for use" and "uncertain availability". The material is crucial for many electrical appliances.


Global energy systems are undergoing systemic changes. This results in an increasing demand for rechargeable batteries, which is expected to cause significant growth in the cobalt market. In the interest of sustainable development, we must ensure sustainable management and more efficient use of natural resources such as cobalt.

The recent graduates Joanna Kotnis and Esther van de Camp have tackled the subject of cobalt from different perspectives. Joanna's research lays the foundation for an analysis of the material flow of cobalt at city level, namely The Hague. Esther takes a global perspective and investigated the resilience of cobalt chains in the context of the e-mobility revolution.

Esther en Joanna

Key takeaways for securing the future of cobalt's supply: 

cobalt english 1cobalt english 2

Our students have done extensive research into such topics. The Centre for Sustainability has made a compact magazine of all student research with questions such as: How do we transition away from gas? Where in The Hague will green infrastructure deliver the most impact for resilience? And why is it so difficult for Urban Farming to take off as a successful venture?  Read about it in our magazine that you can find online here!