Research study “Sustainability Schemes for Mineral Resources – A Comparative Overview“
For the last two decades, several new sustainability schemes for the mining level and mineral supply chains have been developed that focus on various commodities, mining scales, supply chain tiers, countries and issues. That’s why the current debate is mostly about how sustainability schemes can better be harmonized and work together in order to improve stakeholders’ orientation and understanding of schemes, reduce costs for certification and deliver measurable progress in sustainability. This report presents a comparative overview of nineteen sustainability schemes, their features and moreover closer delineates focused management activities, differences in standard design, traceability, assurance and transparency of standard compliance. In order to provide comparability among sustainability requirements for the mining level in particular, the standard documents of the nineteen schemes were screened for relevant aspects and a consolidated framework of issues was developed. Furthermore, the extent of requirements of each scheme was estimated and visualized for each issue. Finally, the report gives recommendations for harmonization e.g. through a common modular standard. Harmonization could foster comparability and credibility which can result in greater uptake. Indeed, concerted efforts of numerous actors are needed to realize responsible mining worldwide. However, increased harmonization of standards will always depend on the willingness of the involved stakeholders to reach a consensus on objectives and approaches.
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