Submitted by Responsible Business Alliance
The Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) and RCS Global Group (RCS Global) have announced a new strategic partnership to scale their existing efforts to drive continual improvements in the production of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Implemented since 2018, RCS Global’s Better Mining program has generated strong insight, understanding and improvement of the human rights, health and safety conditions on individual cobalt ASM sites. This partnership will enable the program to be expanded to additional mine sites to achieve broad-based systemic impact, and to build a picture of trends in conditions across the sector to support development initiatives and policymaking.
At the mine level, each site assessed and monitored will be supplied with monthly corrective action plans with support given to mine operators to deliver the plans and also drive continual improvements. Site monitoring information will also be provided to buyers and downstream users to enhance their due diligence efforts.
Overall, the partnership will strengthen connections between the downstream and the upstream in the ASM cobalt supply chain. It also marks the next step toward the establishment of a more transparent, robust, and digitized cobalt due diligence system for a part of the DRC’s cobalt sector that accounts for roughly 20 percent of the country’s production.
In the first year the partnership, through the support of RMI members, will seek to expand monitoring to six sites and, with the additional support of other interested parties, to 12 or more sites by 2023. The RMI and RCS Global are working together to prioritize candidate sites and to engage mining operators and relevant government stakeholders about the benefits of the monitoring approach and to seek authorization for onboarding.
Under the partnership, RCS Global will provide critical implementation activities: initial site assessments, permanent on-the-ground monitoring, monthly risk mitigation and corrective action plan development and consultation, and robust data reporting via a digital information management system.
The RMI will provide strategic support, funding, stakeholder engagement, and advice to RMI members and cobalt refiners on how this work supports their due diligence activities.
“The Responsible Minerals Initiative is committed to tackling the significant challenges involved in responsible cobalt production and sourcing,” said Leah Butler, Vice President, Responsible Business Alliance. “We are determined to unlock the demand for responsibly produced ASM cobalt and are excited to take this crucial next step with RCS Global. We encourage companies along the value chain to actively engage in this effort.”
“Mine site monitoring and the implementation of mine level improvements are critical to enhance safety and reduce exploitation in the artisanal mining sector, which remains a key contributor to the global raw materials market,” said Nicholas Garrett, CEO, RCS Global Group. “RCS Global’s implementation track record points to demonstrable improvements of conditions on mine sites where we work, across raw material sectors. We are excited to scale our effort in partnership with the RMI and other interested organizations in support of industry objectives to improve conditions in ASM sectors globally.”
About RCS Global Group
RCS Global Group is the global market leader in responsible sourcing audit and advisory products. RCS Global offers our global clients full source to store assurance services covering production, trade and transformation through offices at every stage of the raw materials supply chain. RCS Global Group creates positive impact by offering companies the knowledge and tools to act more responsibly, also allowing them to measure, demonstrate and report on their own - and their supply chains’ – compliance and continuous improvement over time.
With a core focus in battery raw materials, the Group has progressively expanded its reach into other natural resources and industrial materials. Clients include the world’s leading automotive and electronics brands and the Group is regularly featured in the media and at industry conferences and in public forums. For more information, visit www.rcsglobal.com
About the Responsible Minerals Initiative
The Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) is an initiative of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA). The RMI is a multi-industry initiative with more than 380 member companies. Its members contribute to the development and international uptake of a range of tools and resources focused on minerals supply chain due diligence, including independent third-party audit programs for smelters, Minerals Reporting Templates, supply chain risk assessment tools, Country of Origin data, and guidance documents on responsible sourcing of tin, tantalum, tungsten, gold, cobalt, and mica. The RMI runs regular workshops on responsible sourcing issues and contributes to policy development with civil society organizations and governments. For more information, visit http://www.responsiblemineralsinitiative.org
The Responsible Business Alliance is the world’s largest industry coalition dedicated to corporate social responsibility in global supply chains.
About the RBA
The Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) is a nonprofit coalition of leading companies dedicated to improving social, environmental and ethical conditions in their global supply chains. The RBA has a Code of Conduct and a range of programs, training and assessment tools to support continual improvement. The RBA and its Responsible Minerals, Labor and Factory Initiatives have more than 380 members with combined annual revenues of greater than $7.7 trillion, directly employing over 21.5 million people, with products manufactured in more than 120 countries.
Vision & Mission
Vision: A global electronics industry that creates sustainable value for workers, the environment and business.
Mission: Members, suppliers and stakeholders collaborate to improve working and environmental conditions through leading standards and practices.
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