LBMA Supports OECDs COVID-19 Call to Action
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
The Multi-Stakeholder Steering Group (MSG) overseeing the implementation of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Mineral Supply Chains, of which LBMA is a member, adopted a Call to Action in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Ruth Crowell, LBMA’s CEO is Vice Chair of the Multi-Stakeholder Steering Group.
LBMA urges its membership and all stakeholders to act now to safeguard gains related to due diligence in supply chains in alignment with the OECD Guidance. Civil society have also issued a Call to Action urging emergency action for vulnerable artisanal and small-scale (ASM) mining communities and supply chains. In times of heightened risks in global mineral supply chains, the carrying out of due diligence and support for on-the-ground, OECD-aligned initiatives remain more important than ever.
For further details please contact Susannah.Mclaren@lbma.org.uk.
COVID-19 – Call to Action for Responsible Mineral Supply Chains
- Activate humanitarian and emergency response networks to reduce the potentially devastating impacts of COVID-19 on ASM communities, particularly those related to health and social and economic well-being, acknowledging that women may be more acutely affected, and maintaining trade needs to be balanced with managing risks from COVID-19. Critical responses may involve working with local mineral producing governments and international and local NGOs to sensitize mining communities and support the deployment of health and awareness- raising responses. On-the-ground programmes implemented through NGOs are uniquely placed to leverage existing networks and infrastructure and reach very remote areas otherwise difficult to access.
- Allocate funds for on-the-ground programmes and SMEs, with conditions. The crisis necessitates the rapid release of emergency funds for due diligence programmes operating in producing areas, and to support small and medium-sized enterprises in mineral supply chains through loan guarantee programmes and grants. Given implications on cash flow and liquidity, establishing a quick timescale for funding allocation will be important. Encouraging the conditioning of such financial support to programmes on the commitment to continued responsible production and sourcing in line with the OECD Guidance will help governments and business ensure that the benefits of such support are shared and that risks related to sourcing from conflict-affected and high-risk areas are adequately managed.
- Foster the sustainable inclusion of responsible ASM projects into global supply chains, with the support of all stakeholders, in particular but not exclusively smelters and refineries certified by international industry schemes aligned with the OECD Guidance.
- Ensuring the right balance of maintaining integrity and flexibility in due diligence efforts during this period. Due diligence is an iterative process of identifying, prioritising and mitigating risk. Due diligence should always be undertaken in accordance with domestic law. This means in the short term that expectations for assessments and audits will need to take into account government virus containment and mitigation measures. We invite the OECD Secretariat to prepare a note, in consultation with the MSG, clarifying expectations during the crisis, and explaining how due diligence, in particular on-the-ground risk assessments and audits, may be affected.
The OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Mineral Supply Chains provides detailed recommendations to help companies respect human rights and avoid contributing to conflict through their mineral purchasing decisions and practices. This Guidance is for use by any company potentially sourcing minerals or metals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas. The OECD Guidance is global in scope, and applies to all mineral supply chains. The Multi-stakeholder Steering Group is made up of about 50 representatives from government, civil society, and private sector (see full list below). The MSG works closely with the OECD Secretariat, providing guidance and support with respect to operational aspects of the work plan relating to the implementation of the Due Diligence Guidance.