In November 2023, the International Raw Materials Observatory hosted an Expert roundtable on enhancing EU-Africa cooperation regarding raw materials supply, within the framework of the new EU Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA).
The roundtable, which was held under Chatham House Rules, delved into critical aspects of responsible sourcing, addressing topics that included the roles of investors and industry, the challenges encountered, and solutions that integrate modern technology with crime-fighting methods.
Participants recognised the subjectivity inherent in defining responsible sourcing, with the certification process often serving merely as a symbolic badge. Additionally, a significant obstacle arises when attempting to implement responsible sourcing policies in African countries, primarily due to weak institutional structures that foster corruption and low standards for the rule of law in many countries.
Nonetheless, a unanimous consensus emerged among participants: responsible sourcing stands as the cornerstone for achieving equitable and sustainable resourcing of CRM, thereby driving Europe’s transition to green energy. The imperative is clear — establishing transparent, traceable, and ethics-based practices across mineral value chains, spanning from exploration to the production of intermediate and final products such as smartphones, wind turbines and electric vehicles.