European law firm Fieldfisher has released a new guide "Supplying responsibly: Towards a clean metals supply chain", outlining how upstream suppliers of mineral and metals products can comply with new legislation on, and customer demand for, clean, conflict-free raw materials.
Recent legislative developments, such as the EU’s Conflict Minerals Regulation, track stakeholder demands for thorough supply chain due diligence showing products have been made using materials and processes that conform to the highest environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) standards.
The publication of Fieldfisher's guide follows the firm's presentation at the G7 Summit Fringe on 10 June 2021, hosted by Cornwall Trade and Investment, where the firm participated as a panellist in an event entitled "Invest in the future of mining".
The event featured a short video presentation and industry insights from Fieldfisher's Head of Mining and Metals, Jonathan Brooks, focusing on the UK's role in supporting clean minerals and metals supply chains.
In a communiqué following the G7 Summit on Sunday 13 June, G7 leaders confirmed pledges to increase climate finance contributions as part of efforts to reduce emissions and move towards cleaner energy generation.
“We will focus on accelerating progress on electrification and batteries, hydrogen, carbon capture, usage and storage, zero emission aviation and shipping, and for those countries that opt to use it, nuclear power,” the communiqué said.
Meeting the Paris Agreement targets will require unprecedented deployment of clean energy technologies and trigger a corresponding exponential demand for several critical minerals, including lithium, copper, tin, cobalt, rare earths and graphite.
In May 2021, the International Energy Agency projected the world needs to quadruple its current mineral requirements for clean energy technologies by 2040 and increase them six-fold to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Consequently, mineral and metal supply chains are of paramount importance and capacity increases must be delivered sustainably to ensure they contribute to an overall environmental benefit.
Commenting on the G7's commitments and the release of Fieldfisher's report, the firm's Head of Mining and Metals Jonathan Brooks said:
"Large reserves of metals and minerals required for renewable technologies are often found in states affected by conflict, human rights abuses, weak environmental standards and otherwise challenging governance issues.
"However, mining is an important contributor to the economies of these nations and many legitimate and well-intentioned mining companies and smelters operate in these areas and deserve to be rewarded for their efforts through supply chain due diligence.
"Enhanced supply chain scrutiny should not be about risk-avoidance by dodging certain jurisdictions, but rather about raising standards across the board.
"Demand for ethically produced resources will help prevent supply chain abuse and enable mining companies operating to recognised best practice standards to compete on a level playing field.
"This will help increase overall mineral and metal supply and reduce price volatility, while delivering environmental improvements both on the ground and downstream."
Download a copy of Fieldfisher's report: "Supplying responsibly: Towards a clean metals supply chain."
Fieldfisher is a European law firm with market-leading practices in many of the world's most dynamic sectors. We are an exciting, forward-thinking organisation with a particular focus on energy and natural resources, technology, financial services and life sciences.
Our integrated cross-departmental mining team specialises in advising companies and their funders in relation to mining projects across the world.
We are particularly well-represented in Europe, Africa, Russia and the CIS, but we also advise clients with interests in North America, Asia and Australasia.
The team is recognised as a leading practice in the small-to-mid cap part of the sector, with particular expertise in alternative mining finance on which we publish a comprehensive biennial guide.
We are also recognised as thought leaders on topics including ESG and sustainability in the mining industry and supply chain transparency in respect of conflict minerals and wider manufacturing operations.
Fieldfisher has 25 offices across 11 countries. We operate across our offices in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Beijing, Belfast, Birmingham, Bologna, Brussels, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Guangzhou, Hamburg, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Munich, Paris, Rome, Shanghai, Turin, Venice and Silicon Valley.
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