Due diligence in the private sector is no longer a best practice approach by companies – it is increasingly mandated by national and international regulation, and is becoming the new basis of corporpoate governance.
The EU Conflict Minerals Regulation came into force on 1 January 2021. It sets out supply chain due diligence obligations for companies importing into the EU tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold originating from conflict-affected and high-risk areas.
For the application of the regulation, a list of Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas (CAHRAs) compiled by Rand serves as a reference. Find the list
Through the online platform Due Diligence Ready! the European Commision offers SMEs guidance for strengthening due diligence with regard to conflict minerals in their supply chains. The platform offers information, tools and training materials in several languages.
Due diligence regulation usually targets large companies and corporations. However, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) also bear responsibility for their supply chains, and are thus encouraged to exercise due diligence. Download the Study on the Support System for SME Supply Chain Due Diligence published by the European Commission.
Mandatory due diligence requirements are scant. Instead, a growing field of voluntary initiatives are guiding corporate due diligence efforts. The global benchmark for corporate due diligence are the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct.
For the mining sector, OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains for Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas provides detailed recommendations to help companies respect human rights and avoid contributing to conflict through their mineral purchasing decisions and practices. This Guidance is useful for any company potentially sourcing minerals or metals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas.
Subsequently, industry initiatives have developed voluntary standards and certification schemes to assess due diligence efforts in the mining sector. Such initiatives and standards for the raw materials sector and mining have now proliferated. Some of these focus on specific raw materials, while other have a broader scope. Initiatives may also vary based on geographical scope or issues of concern. Below you will find a list of reviews and comparative assessments conducted by different organisations that will guide you through these many initiatives and standards.
- The OECD has reviewed five initiatives and focused on the assurance mechanisms that they establish for their member companies: Alignment Assessment of industry programmes with the OECD Minerals Guidance.
- The IGF and IISD reviewed 15 initiatives in terms of their contents and level of obligation demanded. Special attention is paid to analysing coverage, assurance, responsiveness and engagement: State of Sustainability Initiatives Review: Standards and the Extractive Economy
- The EU project STRADE reviewed six initiatives, with particular emphasis on environmental principles designed for application in large-scale mining: Voluntary initiatives in the mining sector and their principles and criteria on environmental sustainability
- The BGR provides a comparative overview of 19 sustainability initiatives and certification systems in its report Sustainability Schemes for Mineral Resources: A Comparative Overview
- The joint report by GIZ, University of Queensland and SMI CSRM, BMZ reviews how 14 mineral sustainability initiatives monitor and evaluate their results in terms of measuring progress towards the SDGs: M&E systems: Monitoring impact of mineral sustainability standards to align with the Sustainable Development Goals