The leadership of the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) and ResponsibleSteel™ have announced a strategic partnership, to serve the interests of purchasers seeking consistency in the responsible sourcing of iron and steel throughout their supply chains.
ResponsibleSteel and IRMA share two objectives in their new partnership:
- To create value for companies implementing environmentally and socially responsible practices from the source of the mined raw material, through the steel supply chain and to the final product
- To assure purchasers and investors seeking more consistency in responsibility standards that ResponsibleSteel and IRMA are responsive to this need and actively working to provide aligned solutions.
Aimee Boulanger, Coordinator for IRMA, said, “Steel is a key component for thousands of the products that make our lives possible, from building materials to automobiles. Together, mining and the processing of mined material to make steel have a substantial impact, both positive and negative. Leading purchasers and manufacturers are seeking consistent environmental and social responsibility in their sourcing throughout the supply chain. Through our collaboration IRMA and ResponsibleSteel will serve the needs of downstream purchasers of steel, and assure accountability from mine to market.”
Matt Dransfield, Managing Director for ResponsibleSteel, said, “Our mission is to provide businesses and consumers worldwide with confidence that the steel they use has been sourced and produced responsibly, from suppliers of raw materials, through to end users. This can only be achieved through cooperation and mutual commitment of companies at all levels of the steel supply chain, their customers and representatives of civil society. As we develop the ResponsibleSteel standard in consultation with our multi-stakeholder membership, key themes that have come through are ‘don’t reinvent the wheel’ and ‘form effective partnerships’. Our new partnership with IRMA provides a leading response to these requests for collaboration. We will actively seek further collaboration with others that share our goal to increase market value for comprehensive environmental and social responsibility.”
IRMA is a newly launching standard and certification system for environmental and social responsibility in the mining sector set to launch in late 2017. IRMA has spent a decade working with diverse leaders to develop a global standard for environmental and social responsibility in mining. ResponsibleSteel is the first global multi-stakeholder standard and certification initiative for steel, that will administer an independent third-party certification program for the steel value chain. ResponsibleSteel is an emerging program, built on five years of work to define and promote responsibly sourced and produced steel. Both systems bring fresh perspective to the standards field and fill gaps not covered by other certification schemes.
IRMA provides a multi-stakeholder developed and independently verified Standard for Responsible Mining and seeks channels to add value for participating mines and assure responsibility downstream of the mine site. ResponsibleSteel describes expectations for responsible practices in the sourcing and processing of raw materials for steel production, but avoids duplicating standards for responsible mine operations where they already exist and meet its needs. Both systems seek to support traceability that facilitates assurances of responsible practices, throughout the supply chain.
This alliance recognizes the growing support for these types of initiatives, and yet also addresses the concerns from many stakeholders that there is duplication between emerging schemes. Furthermore, IRMA and ResponsibleSteel view this partnership as non-exclusive. Both parties actively seek further collaboration with others that share their goals to increase market value for comprehensive environmental and social responsibility across sectors.
Founded in 2006 by a coalition of nongovernment organizations, businesses purchasing minerals and metals for resale in other products, affected communities, mining companies, and trade unions, IRMA envisions a world where the mining industry is respectful of the human rights and aspirations of affected communities; provides safe, healthy and respectful workplaces; avoids or minimizes harm to the environment; and leaves positive legacies.
IRMA joins others in a growing sustainability standards movement, such as the Forest Stewardship Council and the Marine Stewardship Council that are using market-based approaches to shape the environmental and social performance of industry. IRMA is seeking to improve the environmental and social performance of mining operations through the multi-stakeholder development of a set of best practice standards, as well as a system to independently verify implementation of those standards.
IRMA is the only global multi-commodity assurance program for responsible mining that fully embraces a multi-stakeholder approach for developing credible standards as well as a commitment to independent verification. Five key sectors with a stake in the environmental and social performance of mining are involved: 1. mining companies; 2. jewellery and technology retailers and other downstream users of mining products; 3. environmental and human rights non-profit organizations; 4. affected communities; 5. and labour.
ResponsibleSteelis the first global multi-stakeholder standard and certification initiative for steel. It is a not for profit membership organisation, and new members are welcome from anywhere in the world, from every part of the steel supply chain, and from civil society groups, associations, and other organisations. ResponsibleSteel is currently working with its members and other stakeholders to develop the ResponsibleSteel Standard for finalisation in 2018/19. For candidates to achieve ResponsibleSteel certification, these standards must be complied with and audited by independent verifiers.
The primary objectives of ResponsibleSteel are to define and promote responsibly sourced and produced steel, in order to:
- Allow steel producers to meet the sustainability needs of their customers
- Improve responsible sourcing in the steel supply chain and reduce supply chain risk
- Enable leading producers to promote steel as a responsible material.