ESG Issues

Minerals and metal supply chains have a central role to play in the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): they provide key materials for many production processes and industries of the future, generate revenues, trade, and employment globally. Their criticality has been reaffirmed by the Energy Transition, since they are essential to build the technologies needed to shift to a net-zero economy.

As the demand for minerals and metals grows at unprecedented levels, their supply chains face significant demands and regulatory requirements regarding sustainability across environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. Next to tightening legislations, investors, consumers and civil society expect companies to avert, mitigate and remedy adverse ESG impacts, and to report on their performance.

Approach

To support the efforts of companies to manage ESG risks and impacts, RMI has developed a tailored portfolio of resources that applies across mineral and metal supply chains.

RMI’s approach is based on the United Nation Guiding Principles (UNGP), and on the OECD Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct and on Responsible Mineral Sourcing.  They establish the responsibility for businesses to respect human rights and the environment, prevent and mitigate adverse impacts and provide or collaborate to remedy, if a business causes, contributes or is linked to adverse impacts. In line with the UNGP and the OECD, RMI supports companies to:

Tools

We enable RMI members, auditees and industry stakeholders to collaboratively assess and drive improvements on the ESG performance of their operations and supply chains. The RMI Toolkit includes:

Risk Identification

  • Guidelines for prioritization of minerals and metals
  • The Material Insights platform supports companies understand their supply chains and ESG related risks. It includes an overview of standards and multi-stakeholder initiatives to enable users to collaborate and act together to mitigate and remediate risks.
  • The Material Change report assesses the importance of 37 materials to automotive and electronic industries and evaluates environmental, social and governance risks for those materials at industry levels.

Prevention and Mitigation

  • The Material Insights platform includes guidance on risk mitigation and helps companies to take preventative actions.

Monitoring

  • The RMI’s Risk Readiness Assessment (RRA) is a self-assessment and self-reporting tool for minerals and metals producers and processors. This helps companies to understand their level of maturity in the management of ESG risks and impacts and, eventually, prepare for a third party ESG audit.  
  • The RMI Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Standard for Mineral Supply Chains allows eligible mineral processors to evaluate their performance against ESG risks through an independent third-party audit managed by the RMI
  • The ESG Assessment Procedure (Also in Chinese) helps companies and auditors to prepare for an audit, understand the audit results and develop follow-up actions.
  • The Material Insights platform supports companies understand their supply chains and ESG related risks. It includes an overview of standards and multi-stakeholder initiatives to enable users to collaborate and act together to mitigate and remediate risks.

Remedy

  • Critical Findings protocol of the RMI ESG Assessment Procedure guides companies in taking immediate action to mitigate and remediate severe impact on human rights and environment identified through the ESG audit.
  • Guidelines on remediation
  • Grievance Platform

Continuous Improvement

  • RMI online courses on the platform include tutorials on selected ESG issues such as forced labor, grievance mechanism
  • Corrective Action Plans (CAP) are a tool that helps companies audited against the RMI’s ESG standard to define and implement corrective and preventative actions to close the gaps identified during the assessment

Reporting

What You Can Do

  • Map your supply chain and identify salient ESG risks
  • Complete a Risk Readiness Assessment (RRA) for your company
  • If your company has processing, smelting, refining operations, undergo RMI ESG standard audit
  • If your company operations are downstream, consider RBA’s VAP audit
  • Verify if your suppliers monitor and report on their ESG performance through RBA-Online
  • Contact your suppliers and encourage them to complete a Risk Readiness Assessment and RMI ESG standard audit
  • Use your leverage to drive mitigation, remediation and continuous improvement of adverse impacts

Learn more about the actions you can take to source responsibly:

Join the RMI and engage with peers, industry organizations and stakeholders to develop, share and utilize tools and resources for responsible minerals sourcing.