On May 23, companies and industry associations in the metals sector, government, trade unions and civil society organisations, amongst which IUCN NL, signed the ‘International RBC Agreement for the Metals Sector: Delivering Responsible Metals Supply Chains Together’. The aim is to promote international responsible business conduct and to combat human rights and environmental rights violations in the metals sector.

Header photo: IUCN NL director Coenraad Krijger signing the IMVO convenant Metaalketen. Photo by Dirk Hol

Minerals extraction goes at the expense of biodiversity and it often negatively affects local communities. To minimize harm to people and nature, the agreement focuses on the long-term social and environmental effects in the metals sector in relation to the sourcing of raw materials and the procurement of services.

Limiting negative effects on people and nature

The agreement aims to enhance transparency in the metals supply chains and to contribute to improved compliance. ‘Increased transparency and compliance contribute to limiting illegal practices. The agreement can thus contribute to reducing the negative impact of the metals sector on biodiversity and the environment,’ says Marianne Hilders, Senior Expert Green Economy at IUCN NL.

Metals are essential for the production of many goods and technologies and are crucial for the low-carbon transition. The implementation of the agreement will be devoted towards:

  • providing companies with the necessary knowledge, instruments and other resources to be able understand and/or address potential risks in their supply chains (from extraction to recycling)
  • identifying and addressing potential risks linked to the secondary materials (metal scrap) supply chains
  • encouraging relevant actors in the metals supply chains (at the national and international level) to adopt and implement the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights.

Promoting demanding standards for responsible mining

With its participation in the IRBC Agreement, IUCN NL hopes to promote demanding standards for responsible mining, such as the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance. ‘By promoting a transparent and responsible mining industry, we aim to minimize the negative effects of minerals extraction on people and nature and to contribute to preserving the livelihoods and living environment of vulnerable communities in mining areas,’ Hilders explains.   

Multi-stakeholder collaboration

Various organisations joined in this multi-stakeholder collaboration to promote international responsible business conduct and address severe negative impact to people and the environment connected to the metals supply chains.  In the name of SER and all parties to the agreement, we call on all stakeholders in the metals sector to support and join our effort in working towards responsible metals supply chains.

More information

Should you be interested in joining or like to learn more:

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Mark van der Wal
Senior Expert Ecosystems & Extractives