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Friday Five

25th Nov 2022

The ProcureTech100 are pioneers. Pioneers that are inspiring and driving digital transformation.  Pioneers that are customer-centric, innovative, high growth and making a social impact. Pioneers that are agile and scalable, with a team dedicated to creating an impact that matters

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techUK has published a new paper ‘Risks in Tech Supply Chains’ looking at some of the main sustainability, transparency and resilience risks facing the sector.

 

Supply chains in all sectors have faced significant supply chain pressures due to a perfect storm of a once-in-a-century pandemic, geopolitics and increasing demand for products.

 

Tech firms have some of the most complex supply chains imaginable so have been particularly exposed to these risks businesses have faced shortages, inflation, shipping delays and a lot more scrutiny on the environmental and human rights footprint of their operations, supply, and increasingly value chains.

The UK has begun to use battery energy storage systems to help meet the country's growing demand for electricity. The country's biggest system, which is located near Hull, is said to be able to store enough electricity to power 300,000 homes for two hours.

The facility was developed by North Yorkshire renewable power firm Harmony Energy using technology made by Tesla. It has been built next to the National Grid's Creyke Beck substation, which will be connected to Dogger Bank, the world's largest offshore wind farm, when it launches in the North Sea later this decade.

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Anglo American has signed a memorandum of understanding with Aurubis AG (“Aurubis”) – a global provider of non-ferrous metals and one of the world’s largest copper recyclers – to develop a copper product offering that responds to increasing expectations for future-enabling metals that are sustainably sourced and supplied.

The objective of the collaboration is to provide assurance around the way copper is mined, processed, transported and brought to market. Applying their combined expertise, Anglo American and Aurubis will also explore the opportunity for technology-driven traceability solutions to bring greater transparency to the entire production cycle, as well as areas of common interest in technology development.

This is a fascinating analysis of how the US and Europe could reduce their reliance on China for electric vehicle batteries. The idea that South Korean conglomerates LG and SK Hynix could supply the rest of the world with batteries without relying on China's lithium, nickel and cobalt resources is exciting.

However, there are some important caveats to this forecast. First, it only considers finished batteries—not the other components that go into making a battery. Second, it assumes that Europe will enact protectionist policies against China and its companies. Third, it assumes that there will be an alternative battery chemistry that requires fewer critical minerals from China than current ones do.

This forecast is significant because it demonstrates how quickly things are changing in the battery industry—and how dependent we've become on Chinese resources for our electronics devices.

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