Mining sector to adhere to UN Human Rights guidance

Procurement professionals in the mining sector have a major new international initiative to contend with.…...

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Procurement professionals in the mining sector have a major new international initiative to contend with. The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) has announced new membership requirements that obligate members to implement the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Procurement teams in the British mining sector are already bound by the requirements of the UK Modern Slavery Act, which places obligations on all concerned to eradicate forced and exploited labour from supply chains. The UN’s Guiding Principles similarly set new standards for transparency in supply chains but also include additional environmental protection obligations.

ICMM, led by 27 mining sector CEOs, has become the first industry body to implement the UN’s Principles, which will now apply to all ICCM company members. Between them, they manage 650 assets across 50 countries.

The performance obligations received extensive input from academics, international organisations and NGOs.

Former UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Business and Human Rights and Harvard Kennedy School Professor John Ruggie said: “ICMM has repeatedly set the pace in the evolution of sustainability requirements for its industry, now including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights; and as a CEO-led organisation, it has the credibility and leverage to do so.”

Writing for Ethical Corporation magazine, ICCM COO Aidan Davy described the new membership requirements as “the most far-reaching voluntary initiative to advance environmental and social performance in the mining industry.” They will help stamp out unethical mining that exposes workers and even children to unacceptable danger.

He explained that the initiative will set standards that investors and companies interested in ethical supply chains and responsible mining can use to encourage others to adopt in key domains, including human rights, social performance, biodiversity, waste and water use.

The safeguarding of human rights is now taking its place as one of procurements other core functions. After initiatives such as this and the UK Modern Slavery Act, cost reduction, supply relationship management, sourcing savings and strategic sourcing will never be the same.

Ed Cross

Ed founded Odesma in 2014 with the explicit intent of creating a new kind of procurement consultancy founded entirely on cloud principles. Deploying best-of-breed subject matter experts alongside the best on demand technology to deliver rapid and effective change for customers.

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