EU's due diligence law could boost competitiveness of mining sector

24 Feb 2023

Article by Oliver Noyan originally published on Euractiv.

The EU's plan to oblige companies to police their value chains for human rights and environmental standards has been met with fierce opposition from most industry sectors. However, for the mining industry, the new due diligence directive could prove to be a competitive advantage.

The European Commission's proposal on corporate due diligence intends to make European companies with more than 500 employees and €150 million annual turnover responsible for monitoring, preventing and mitigating human rights and environmental standards along their value chain.

As mining is considered to be a risk sector, the threshold is even lower with 250 employees and €40 million in turnover.

Despite concerns from most of the industry players, most of Europe's mining sector has silently embraced the upcoming legislation. Norge Mining for instance was quick to announce that it has positioned itself as a "pioneer" when it comes to corporate sustainability.

A similar stance can also be observed with the European Carbon and Graphite Association (ECGA).

"ECGA believes that responsible and ethical sourcing of carbon and graphite is rightly an essential part of EU policy, and it would be desirable that this is adequately implemented, but not only for the primary materials but also for the products thereafter," Corina Hebestreit, Secretary General of the European Carbon and Graphite Association told EURACTIV.

While the ECGA also emphasises that "excessive burdens on companies should be avoided" it is more favourable towards the directive compared to other associations that represent industries further up the value chain.

The Mechanical Engineering Association (VDMA) for instance has recently called the directive in its current form a "threat to European competitiveness."

On Monday (20. February) the VDMA even called on the German government to "prevent the EU Parliament's plans from being implemented in the Council in the way they are currently being discussed."
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Tags:  CRMs Critical Raw Materials Act mining industry due diligence corporate sustainability