Despite stakeholders’ increasing recognition to prevent human rights abuses in the extraction and trade of minerals, public reporting on conflict minerals by companies remains limited, and the quality and comparability of existing reports presents opportunities for improvement. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) are collaborating on a 15-month project to help change that, by provide globally applicable guidance and tools for reporting.
The project aims to improve the quality and comparability of due diligence disclosure through consolidated reporting guidance. The new guidance will be based on existing internationally-recognized tools and frameworks, such as the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. It is expected to help refine companies’ existing due diligence management systems and related public reporting.
“As companies face increasingly stringent reporting expectations from governments, shareholders and others regarding minerals sourced from conflict-affected and high-risk areas, this RMI-GRI project is not only timely but crucial for companies trying to meet market and regulatory expectations,” said Tim Mohin, Chief Executive of the GRI.
Meaningful and comparable data help companies improve their regulatory compliance, identify their gaps, and promote accountability and transparency in the minerals supply chain. With this knowledge, companies are also further enabled to make informed decisions about potential conflict minerals in their supply chains.
The RMI is one of the most widely used resources for companies to address minerals due diligence challenges in their supply chains, and GRI’s reporting standards, developed through robust stakeholder consultative processes, is trusted by companies and governments worldwide. The RMI and GRI share a commitment to the responsible sourcing of minerals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas, and have been collaborating on related research since January for the first phase of this new project.
“By leveraging the due diligence expertise of our Responsible Minerals Initiative and the reporting expertise of GRI, we can refine approaches and offer new tools that will greatly enhance the risk management and transparency efforts of companies,” said Rob Lederer, Executive Director of the Responsible Business Alliance.
The project has three phases:
- Inception (January - April 2018) - Conduct research and interview multi-stakeholder experts from government, civil society, industry, investors and international institutions to understand stakeholder expectations and define the landscape and urgency of the issue.
- Corporate Leadership Group (CLG) (April - December 2018) - Companies invited to discuss the research findings from Phase 1, to develop a common understanding of how existing tools and frameworks serve companies, discuss best practices, and how identified gaps can be addressed with additional reporting guidance on responsible minerals sourcing.
- Dissemination (Early 2019) - Develop consolidated guidance for responsible minerals sourcing reporting based on the outcome of Phase 2, and inform the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB).
By joining Phase 2, the CLG on Conflict Minerals, companies will be able to influence global discussions, tackle the challenges of reporting, and demonstrate leadership on responsible sourcing. Participants are invited to help shape the detailed agenda and decide the focus of the debate, to ensure that the companies’ key questions and need for guidance can be accommodated. The program will comprise of four meetings – two in-person and two online – over 2018. Interested individuals who work for a company that is an RMI member and/or GRI GOLD Community member and have at least three years of sustainability reporting experience and extensive knowledge of responsible minerals sourcing disclosures are invited to contact the project leads from GRI or RMI.