OECD Tool on Environmental Due Diligence in Mineral Supply Chains

Environmental Issues of Mineral and Metal Supply in a broader sustainability context Click to enlarge
Environmental Issues of Mineral and Metal Supply in a broader sustainability context
Source: S.Z. / Fotolia

The minerals and metals industries, including the mining sector, have been associated with incidents related to human rights violations and serious environmental impacts. How to address human rights violations and conflict related risks has been taken up broadly in due diligence guidance and company practice in mineral supply chains.

Framework, Goal & Scope

Sector specific practical guidance on environmental issues is missing so far. In order to support on-going activities of companies to address these challenges and incentivize broader uptake, an OECD Practical Tool on Environmental Due Diligence in Mineral Supply Chains shall be developed.

This Practical Tool shall describe how the 5-step generic due diligence framework recommended by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) can be applied to environmental risks and impacts in global mineral supply chains with a focus on extraction, processing and refining of mineral raw materials. The Tool is intended to support implementation of the cross-sectoral OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) and also be supportive for companies that are conducting due diligence according to the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas.


The envisaged Practical Tool shall support companies in their environmental risk assessment and environmental management and will also look at how environment related risks intersect with human rights related risks and adverse impacts and other areas of RBC. By providing approaches and best practice examples, it shall help companies engage with stakeholders and develop effective measures to cease, prevent, mitigate, and in some cases remediate environmental impacts across mineral supply chains.

Metal smelting
Metal smelting
Source: Zhao jiankang / Fotolia.com

Kick-off event @ 2021 OECD Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains

The Tool is developed in a participative multi-stakeholder process at the OECD, starting 2021 and finishing 2022. The process was kicked-off with a virtual side event at the 2021 OECD Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains hosted by the German Environment Agency (UBA), the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) and OECD. It served to outline the initiative, to learn about perspectives from stakeholders on environmental due diligence issues, to assess gaps and needs and to invite interested parties to contribute to the process.

Short oral interventions by:
• Mark van der Wal (IUCN),
• Elisa Tonda (UNEP),
• Leah Butler (Responsible Minerals Initiative),
• Dione Macedo (Brazil, Ministry of Mines and Energy),
• Stephanie Venuti (OECD),
• Tyler Gillard (OECD),
• Gudrun Franken (Germany, BGR),
• Jan Kosmol (Germany, UBA),

followed by an interactive Q&A session with the participants.

Background:
Under the new Federal Government’s 2020 Raw Materials Strategy, the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) has committed to initiate an international process to develop an international practical tool on environmental due diligence in mineral supply chains. UBA and BGR are supporting the Ministry of Environment in advancing this initiative.

Contact:
Jan Kosmol; Section III 2.2 Resource Conservation, Material Cycles, Minerals & Metals Industry; jan [dot] kosmol [at] uba [dot] de

Gudrun Franken; Head of Unit Mining and Sustainability, B1.2 Geology of Mineral Resources, Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR); gudrun [dot] franken [at] bgr [dot] de

Stephanie Venuti; Policy Advisor, Center for Responsible Business Conduct, OECD - Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; stephanie [dot] venuti [at] oecd [dot] org

Logos BGR, OECD, BMU, UBA
OECD Tool on Environmental Due Diligence in Mineral Supply Chains
Source: BGR / OECD / BMU / UBA