Friday, 31 January 2014

Journal article: Prospects for sustainability certification of metals

This article exams sustainability standards and certifications applied to metals and other materials based on a presentation at SAM-7 "Society and Materials" conference in Aachen, May 2013.

  • Young, S. B., Yuan, Z., & Dias, G. (2014). Prospects for sustainability certification of metals. Metallurgical Research & Technology (formerly “Revue de M├ętallurgie”). March (6 pages),
Certification initiatives are product-focused, rely on standards and use sustainability metrics to inform end-users on the provenance of commodities. In the metals sector, the phenomenon of formal certification programs has recently gained traction. Four initiatives are reviewed to illustrate the status and prospects of metal certification. The prime case is the Conflict Free Smelter Program operated by the global electronics industry. This scheme has developed and applied standards on mineral chain-of-custody, including use of third-parties to audit smelters and refineries all over the world. Additional programs discussed are the Green Lead Project, Fair Trade and Fair Mined gold, and the Responsible Jewellery Council. Collectively these initiatives address a variety of sustainability criteria, including social, economic and environmental dimensions, but focus only on precious and specialty metals (Au, platinum group, Pb, Sn, Ta and W). Metals certifications programs are building capacity and infrastructure compared to mature programs in agriculture and other commodity sectors. Opportunities and issues for growth of metals certification are considered.
Key words: metal, product, certification, sustainability, metrics, standards, auditing