Handbook on Environmental Due Diligence in Mineral Supply Chains
New OECD Handbook on Environmental Due Diligence in Mineral Supply Chains
On 21 September 2023, The OECD introduced a new Handbook on Environmental Due Diligence in Mineral Supply Chains, which was developed to help companies embed environmental considerations into their mineral supply chain due diligence procedures. The handbook was presented at the Re-sourcing conference in Vienna, where the German Environment Agency (UBA) described it as “a milestone for environmental protection in global value chains. For the first time, a clear description is given of how companies can identify, assess and prioritise environmental issues at the beginning of their global supply chains and take measures to prevent, mitigate or to provide remedy in such cases.”
Mining is indispensable for the energy transition as well as achieving UN sustainable development goals, and is a source of livelihood for millions. However, if not properly managed, actors in mineral supply chains may be at risk of contributing to human rights violations, conflict finance, and serious envioronmental impacts. Many companies, particularly in the automobile, electronics, manufacturing, construction and jewellery sectors are dependent on minerals and metals from high-risk supply chains. At the same time, they are also under increasingly strict expectations for responsible business conduct.
These are increasingly reflected in statutory requirements such as the German Supply Chain Act or the new EU Battery Regulation: Companies are now legally obligated to identify and address human rights and environmental impacts they might cause, contribute to or be directly linked to through their business relationships.
Builds on OECD instruments on Responsible Business Conduct
The handbook builds on the leading international, government-backed standards on supply chain due diligence and responsible business conduct: the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct, the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas and the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct. This handbook demonstrates how OECD instruments on due diligence can be applied to address environmental risks and impacts in mineral supply chains by contextualising existing recommendations and directing users towards useful resources.
Over four chapters, it describes why risk-based environmental due diligence for companies in global value chains are important, what adverse environmental effects may occur, and how environmental aspects can be taken into account with step-by-step implementation of the 6-stage OECD due diligence framework. Specifically, the handbook provides an overview of environmental risk indicators in the upstream minerals supply chain and directs companies to useful resources to help them identify, assess and prioritise environmental risks they might contribute to or be linked to. This information can supplement and bolster existing company due diligence practices to meet growing expectations on environmental risk management.
The project was funded in part by the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV). The German Environment Agency (UBA) and the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) provided support and assistance.
This Handbook was authored by the OECD Centre for Responsible Business Conduct, which drew on the technical expertise and support of UBA, BGR and OECD’s Environment Directorate. Levin Sources Limited provided support in the initial drafting and consultation process. The document also benefitted from input from 25 organisations as part of an expert working group, including representatives from government, the private sector and civil society.
Get the Handbook here
For further information, please contact Sophia Gnych, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Minerals Handbook in a Nutshell
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