Raw materials: Commission launches new online portal to support responsible sourcing in businesses

mines

(Dominik Vanyi, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Today, the European Commission is launching Due Diligence Ready!, an online portal that provides businesses with guidance on how to check the sources of the metals and minerals entering their supply chains – the so-called “due diligence” process. It will help them ensure that their use of raw materials respects human rights while improving transparency and accountability across their value chains.

Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: “Today, market demand for responsibly sourced raw materials is growing. These materials are essential to new business sectors and clean technologies like high-power batteries, and businesses should ensure that each step in the value chain is carried out in a transparent, responsible and sustainable way. I welcome the launch of Due Diligence Ready! which will help businesses make more informed choices.”

Due Diligence Ready! will help businesses to:

  • Improve their due diligence capacity of minerals’ sourcing: the portal will provide businesses with information and training materials to carry out due diligence. The tool is particularly dedicated to small and medium businesses but all companies with minerals and metals in their supply chains are encouraged to use it.
  • Facilitate compliance with the EU’s Regulation on Responsible Sourcing of Minerals (the so-called “Conflict minerals Regulation”): the portal will offer guidance on the responsible sourcing of metals and minerals, in particular tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold. Such metals and minerals are used in the production of everyday products such as mobile phones, cars and jewelry. The portal will help companies comply with the EU’s Regulation on Responsible Sourcing of Minerals, which sets out due diligence requirements for EU importers of these metals and minerals.
  • Respond to growing market demand for responsibly sourced minerals: by improving transparency along the value chain, Due Diligence Ready! will help businesses respond to the growing awareness and demand for sustainable products and services, and contribute to positive developments in the minerals and metals sector.

Background

Mineral resources hold great potential for our economy, especially for strategic business areas like batteries, high-performance computing or microelectronics. However, when mined in conflict-affected or high-risk areas, they can add to the continuation of violent clashes, human rights abuses. This has raised concerns among customers, suppliers, regulators, investors, non-governmental organisations and citizens who are increasingly asking companies, including small and medium businesses, to show that the minerals and metals entering their supply chains have not contributed to activities that harm people.

To address these problems, the EU passed the EU’s Regulation on Responsible Sourcing of Minerals,also sometimes referred to as the “Conflict minerals Regulation”, in May 2017. These new rules will ensure that minerals used by European industries are sourced responsibly, diverting revenues away from rebel groups, conflict, and terror. The regulation also supports the development of local communities and businesses. The rules will cover up to 95% of imports as of 1 January 2021. In the meantime, the Commission and Member States will work to make sure that the necessary structures are in place to ensure EU-wide implementation.

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