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RCS Global Takeaways:
17th OECD Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains

The uptake of due diligence regulation and increased scrutiny over mineral value chains have drawn even greater attention to the 2024 OECD Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains than before. Besides mining and metals, automotive and electronics industries – which have been traditionally well represented at the forum – it was great to see that more and more actors from the energy sector have been joining the conversation, while participants from the civil society showed impressive results of joint initiatives and strong global collaboration to promote responsible sourcing.

The thematic focus of the forum was broader than ever, though some topics could only be found between the lines of the main event agenda. Here are some of the most widely discussed subjects during the partner sessions as well as in conversations outside of the conference rooms:

  • Environmental and social challenges linked to nickel mining in Indonesia and the Philippines were mentioned during multiple partner sessions. Several recent studies and initiatives covering the topic were presented during the forum, emphasising the intense stakeholder scrutiny of the sector. The automotive industry and renewables are under mounting pressure to demonstrate strong responsible sourcing performance and engage with the upstream supply chain in the two major nickel-producing countries to mitigate the adverse impacts of mineral extraction for the energy transition.
  • There is a growing awareness of issues linked to working conditions and child labour in the mica sector in Madagascar and the need for collective action to increase the resilience of ASM communities in the face of climate change. The forum provided a platform to discuss existing and emerging initiatives and updates in national legislation aimed at advancing the formalisation of the ASM sector and improving the conditions on the ground.
  • Arguably the most polarising discussion took place around responsible mining standards and audits, getting rather heated at times. While most participants would agree that the standards landscape has become increasingly complex and requires greater coherence and harmonisation, stakeholders from the mining industry versus downstream purchasers and civil society often advocated for diverging approaches to stakeholder participation, transparency and continuous improvement in relation to assurance schemes.
  • There are many lessons to be learned from the conflict minerals regulation as actors are aligning with new due diligence requirements, such as the Battery Regulation and Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive in the EU or the US Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act (UFLPA). However, it has also been noted that the expectations towards downstream companies to manage their human rights and environmental impacts go beyond the minimum legal obligations. Notably, several partner sessions highlighted the critical importance of incorporating rightsholders’ perspectives into companies’ due diligence practices – one of the forum’s recurring topics.

For RCS Global, the forum was a great opportunity to reconnect with our partners and peers, be part of the exciting conversations and brainstorm solutions to responsible sourcing challenges, be it in a conference room, during coffee breaks or cruising the Seine on a boat with stunning views of Paris.

If you would like to share your own impressions of the OECD Responsible Minerals Forum 2024 or have any related questions, please feel free to reach out to Anna: [email protected].

Anna Zhuravleva
Project Director, Responsible Sourcing Advisory