Global sustainability of electric vehicles minerals: A critical review of news media

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The rapid adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) has fueled a race to secure supplies of critical minerals. A comprehensive review of the sustainability impacts of extractions of these minerals at a global level, however, is lacking. Using coverage as a proxy of concerns and attention, this study analyzed news media stories over the 2015–2021 period to identify specific issues concerning the social and environmental impacts of eight EVs minerals. Based on keywords per news story as an indicator of media attention, impact hotspots are mapped across multiple indicators for the scope and intensity of issues. Our analysis indicates that the impacts that received the most attention were related to indigenous rights, access to material and immaterial resources, social benefits, and conflicts. In particular, the extraction of copper, aluminum, cobalt, and manganese received relatively high coverage on most social impacts, whereas cobalt and graphite received the most intensive media attention. Given the global nature of the EV mineral supply chain and new proposed mining projects, the insights on impact hotpots indicate where to focus policy efforts to mitigate negative impacts. We conclude by discussing pressing issues about supply shortage, international governance, and opportunities regarding alternative models for more sustainable mineral extractions of these minerals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101231
JournalExtractive Industries and Society
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Critical minerals
  • Electric vehicles
  • Media analysis
  • Mineral supply chain
  • Socio-environmental impacts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Economic Geology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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