Key themes and insights
Among the key points and insights made during the day:
- Companies are not just concentrating on “conflict minerals” but “responsible sourcing” in the round: Labour conditions, practices and rights; health, safety and environmental standards; along with, land rights, governance, bribery and corruption are also important facets that are being focused on too.
- The situation is dynamic: While traditional gold, tin, tungsten and tantalum have been under the spotlight, cobalt, mica, gemstones and jade are gaining attention and new regions are growing in significance. The situation is likely to remain dynamic.
- Legislation and stakeholder pressure is driving change: Regulators, institutional investors and increasingly consumers have increasingly greater expectations for companies to be more transparent about their operating practices and to assume greater responsibility for the well-being of people and the environment, which includes those in extended supply chains.
- Reconsider divesting from a region or from artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM): While this might be seen as an easy solution to support claims to be “conflict free”, it may lead to other significant social impacts for those involved in upstream supply chains. ASM employs around 40 million people in 80 countries, and an estimated 150 million people indirectly dependent on it for their livelihood. We must be more active in addressing underlying issues.
- Due diligence is important: The OECD’s five-step framework is the basis for high quality due diligence and provides a framework for continual improvement. It’s not about having no risk it’s about recognising the risks in your supply chain and having in place the mechanisms for dealing with them.
- Work together: No one downstream user will solve upstream problems. The Responsible Business Alliance, London Bullion Markets Association, the Responsible Jewellery Council and the European Partnership on Responsible Minerals provide an important framework in leveraging impact, avoiding duplication and collectively address issues on the ground.
Risks across the mineral supply chains – what have we learned so far? With: Sakhila Mirza, General Counsel, London Bullion Market Association; Andrew Cooper, Manager – Standards, Responsible Jewellery Council; and, Angela Jorns, Specialist, Responsible Mining & Development, Levin Sources.
- Industry schemes can leverage impact: The nature of industry schemes in representing either access to market or a significant buying power means that they can be more effective in leveraging influence.
- Industry schemes are continuously evolving: Schemes are continuously developing as they mature to reflect emerging risks, learnings and to refine the process.
- In future there is likely to be more cross-recognition: As most industry schemes are confirmed as compliant with the OECD’s due diligence guidelines, the ability to cross recognise has increased.
- Implementing due diligence only for conflict minerals risks overlooking other issues: Audits needs to cover a broad range of social and environmental issues. It is now not enough to simply assess mines for issues relating to conflict.
- Companies and industry schemes should get more recognition for engaging with the ASM sector: The ASM sector employs millions of people globally. While often considered riskier for companies, engaging with and tackling issues related to ASM has huge potential to improve the lives of millions of people working in this sector.
Resources and links
- Amnesty International
- Cobalt Industry Responsible Assessment Framework
- DELVE (World Bank and Pact) 2019: State of the ASM Sector
- DELVE ASM Database Global platform on ASM data
- EITI Standard
- EU Regulation on the Responsible Sourcing of Minerals
- European Partnership for Responsible Minerals
- Global Batteries Alliance
- Global Witness
- IISD for the IGF (2017) Global Trends in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM): A review of key numbers and issues
- LBMA Good Gold List
- Levin Sources
- OECD Alignment Assessment
- OECD Assessment of Gold from Columbia
- OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas
- OECD FAQ on sourcing from ASM
- The Responsible Business Alliance
- The Responsible Cobalt Initiative
- The Responsible Minerals Initiative
- Resource Matters
- Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network
- RJC Code of Conduct
- RJC Chain of Custody Standard
- RMI Blockchain Guidelines