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Founder story: Elon Musk (co-founder) is a controversial figure with a complicated history. But he is a forward-thinker that can help drive a more sustainable future.
Industry standards: Automakers have a history of poor environmental standards. The manufacturing process requires loads of resources, equipment and infrastructure. Tesla has a $500bn+ market cap, so we understand that complete sustainability is difficult to accomplish.
Materials: Modern cars use metals (aluminum in common), silica, rubber, plastic, rubber, soy, wheat, rice… to name a few. In terms of sustainability, the lithium ion battery is most concerning.
Tesla's current battery uses cobalt... linked to human rights violations in the Congo. Cobalt also makes the vehicle more expensive. Tesla is currently working to remove cobalt from their supply chain.
Ethics: To hit ambitious production goals, Tesla overworked domestic workers in a pretty ugly way. That adds to their controversy in the Congo. Not a good look when a billionaire does so well and you find out workers were unhappy.
Bottom line: Tesla has sustainability tied to its mission, and they are doing awesome things in the solar energy space. Still, their current business model is not sustainable. Wait until Tesla removes cobalt, improves worker conditions and reduces vehicle prices to make an ethical purchase.
Dig deeper → 5 min.