Thursday, 17 April 2014

Article on challenges in sustainability certification of metals

Why is certified metal not available in the same way as commodities like wood, cotton and fish? 

New article in Proceedings of the 2013 International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technologies (ISSST).

Responsible sourcing of metals (and the minerals from which they originate) confronts unique materials
management and market complexities. Based on a review of certification programs, procedures and activities this paper examines challenges to responsible sourcing in the supply-chain of metals. Empirical evidence was derived from the Conflict-Free Smelter Program, an initiative lead by the electronics industry to address the problem of conflict minerals. Challenges to metal certification involve business and physical barriers to tracing metal flows, including mixing and transformation of materials that takes place in upstream production. Chain-of-custody models have not matured for metals programs and there is variation in the choice of appropriate sustainability criteria across schemes. Experience from certification programs in other commodity sector inform how these challenges might be overcome.


Steven B. Young, Goretty Dias, Yuan Zhe. Challenges in Sustainability Certification of Metals. Proc. International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technologies (ISSST), v1 (2013).

See also ISSST conferences:  and