After cobalt, industry focus shifts to other battery minerals in responsible sourcing

By RCS Global Group

Ever since the launch of the OECD Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains thirteen years ago, April has been a critical month in the field of responsible sourcing, and battery minerals have been at the centre of this focus. From copper to cobalt, but also lithium and nickel, this month has proved that downstream awareness of responsible sourcing risks beyond cobalt and 3TG is increasing while impacting the upstream sector and supporting the development of enhanced due diligence programs.

Copper has for long been outside of the core focus of due diligence and responsible sourcing requirements, but this changed last month. Adopting a proactive stance, the International Copper Association (ICA) announced the launch of its new responsible copper initiative, the Copper Mark, at the OECD Forum. As an assurance system and voluntary program, the initiative will be open to all industry members and cover mine sites, smelters and refiners.

Just as the Cobalt Industry Responsible Assessment Framework (CIRAF), the Mark does not create a new standard but bases its requirements on existing tools, including the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI)’s Risk Readiness Assessment (RRA) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), combined with third party assurance. This new development will strengthen the ability of downstream users to assess upstream producers and better understand midstream and upstream risks in copper.

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