Sustainably sourced mineral resources: a multi-stakeholder process for developing a certification system (NamiRo)

Duration: January 2015 – December 2017

Project Leader: Prof. Dr. Michael Hiete -  Business Chemistry Department at the University of Ulm

Project Partners: Prof. Dr. Christian Klein – Corporate Finance Department at the University of Kassel; Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Hahn – Chair of Sustainability Management at the University of Hohenheim; Prof. Dr. Stefan Seuring - Supply Chain Management Program at the University of Kassel; Dr. Gudrun Franken – Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR); Dr. Andreas Barth, Dr. Frank Schmidt und Enrico Kallmeier - Beak Consultants GmbH

Funding: BMBF


NamiRo stands for sustainably produced mineral resources. The aim of the project is to develop a standard or certification scheme for mineral resources which is able to foster market transparency in mining and smelting of mineral resources. The target of this research project is the development of a system, e.g. for standard setting, diligence or certification, which documents and evaluates the extraction and processing of mineral resources in terms of their sustainability impacts transparently, along the various process steps in the value chain. Why is this relevant? Mineral resources and other commodities have in common that they are globally traded according to their material quality, though often in disregard of the circumstances of their production and processing. Mining and beneficiation are associated with numerous environmental aspects. Companies producing with high environmental and social standards have therefore a competitive disadvantage and their achievements are often not honored. This leads to market distortions, especially in case of internationally traded resources, hindering innovations in sustainability. Moreover, end-customers are requesting more and more often sustainably produced products, investors are in search of possibilities for sustainable investments and companies take responsibility for the whole supply chain of their products. Thus, customers at different positions of the supply chain start requesting information about the extent to which sustainability is assured during mineral exploitation and processing to fulfill their supply chainresponsibility. Different interests exist for fostering market transparency of mineral resources and for making environmental and social contributions visible. Up to now, such systems exist particularly for conflict minerals and high-value resources such as gold and diamonds. The acceptance, effectiveness as well as intended and unintended consequences (for example regarding social implications of such systems), are determined by a number of factors rooted in the general framework and the development process of the respective system.