A Changing World

The global pandemic has forced the world to slow down economically. Thought leaders[1] have highlighted these challenging times as an opportunity for governments and private industry to take significant steps to fight climate change. The timing of the pandemic, coupled with the increasing call for responsible business practices from customers, investors and the market[2], sets a welcoming stage for the launch of The Copper Mark. With the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as its inspiration and organizing framework, the Copper Mark assesses copper producers – important actors in the supply chain of dozens of industries – against a set of responsible production criteria.

At the heart of the Copper Mark is the recognition that collaboration is key to promoting efficient and impactful responsible production practices. The Copper Mark was designed to be pragmatic, inclusive, recognition-based, progressive and rely on continuous monitoring. As a new organization, the Copper Mark has the benefit of learning from and collaborating with other organizations and current systems. By incorporating various perspectives and leveraging best practices, the Copper Mark aims to add value where it is needed and support ongoing efforts where they are working. This pledge to collaboration is evidenced through the Copper Mark’s adoption of an existing set of requirements and tools; development of an assurance system built around existing requirements and recognition; ongoing partnership on a multi-metal due diligence standard; and commitment to multi-stakeholder participation in governance.

Leveraging existing requirements and tools

The Copper Mark did not develop a “Copper Standard.” Rather, it has adopted the Risk Readiness Assessment (RRA) of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI). The RRA is a self-assessment platform, already in use by RMI member companies. The Copper Mark designed its Assurance Framework to provide an independent, site-level, assessment of copper producer’s performance against the RRA’s 32 environmental, social and governance criteria for responsible production. The criteria are themselves derived from the requirements of over 40 voluntary sustainability standards implemented in mineral supply chains. These requirements can be applied not just to copper but any metal supply chain. While the requirements apply to mining companies, smelters, and refiners, end users in the electronics and automotive industries already use the RRA tool to complete their company due diligence. By promoting the RRA, the Copper Mark helps to connect metal producers with end user companies and facilitates the flow of information on responsible production practices.

Recognition

A core principle of The Copper Mark Assurance Process is to recognize as “equivalent” other systems where they match and meet the Copper Mark Criteria.[3] To that end, the Copper Mark engages existing standards and programs to partner on best practices, reduce assessment fatigue and expand the breadth of influence. In order to ensure consistency, the Copper Mark works with the RMI to publish the Criteria Guide and Equivalency Matrix to provide guidance and transparency on expectations and equivalent systems. Furthermore, the Copper Mark engages with LBMA regarding ways to align expectations for responsible sourcing practices.