Title: Social risk in raw materials extraction: a macro-scale assessment
Publisher: Fruitrop Thema
Publication Year: 2018
JRC N°: JRC110585
ISBN: 978-2-9562141-1-3 (online)
ISSN: 2426-9654 (online)
URI: http://www.fruitrop.com/media/Publications/FruiTrop-Thema/Social-LCA-volume-4-6th-SocSem#book/264
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Raw materials are essential for any modern society and contribute to the achievement of many Development Goals [1]. On the other side, the production of materials can generate severe social impacts, usually in the case of poor governance and weak institutional and legal frameworks. Many authorities, including the European Union, have issued regulations to improve transparency in product supply chains. This is also mirrored in some private sector initiatives. For instance, the EU Regulation on Conflict Minerals [2] requires that companies importing tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold by high-risk and conflict-affected areas perform a supply chain due diligence analysis to facilitate that suppliers are not involved with conflicts, human right violations, illegal trade, etc. Given the above context, assessing social considerations in supply chains is essential both for policy and business in order to progress towards the sustainable supply of raw materials and contributing to several development goals. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) theory and methodologies help to assess complex supply chains and provide insights into impacts to the environment and to socio-economic systems in a structured manner. They complement other types of assessments, such as site specific analyses. In particular, Social LCA (SLCA) offers a framework for the quantitative assessment of social impacts in products, sectors, organizations [3]. The purpose of this study is to apply SLCA methodology and selected databases to perform a macro-scale (top-down) assessment of social risk of the mining and quarrying sectors in a set of six extra-EU countries, compared to the EU-28 average. This approach has also been considered in background developments for the “2018 Raw Material Scoreboard” developed by European Commission. Results show the social performance of the EU mining and quarrying sector compared to extra-EU countries. In addition, these results offer an insight into the contribution of upstream phases and locations in the minerals supply chain. In the case of the EU mining and quarrying sector, the three top locations contributing to the impact category “fair salary” are India, China and UK. Since supply chain due diligence is increasingly required by legislation, and also by some companies/associations, relevant analytical tools and data supporting supply chain analyses will be therefore extremely useful for business and policy makers. The approach and results could be a basis for an evaluation of e.g. social footprint assessments and evaluation of trading partners. At the same time, robustness of results and data gaps must be carefully evaluated.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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