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Best of 2018: Publications and Blogs

Best of 2018: Publications and Blogs

January 2, 2019, by Jack Cooper

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When we're not consulting for clients, conducting studies and developing policies and strategies, we're sharing our research and expertise through reports, studies, thought pieces and articles, and at conferences and events.

We published a lot in 2018 on topics including the green economy, responsible mineral supply chains, support for small jewellery professionals, Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) and the environment. Our team has also contributed chapters to books and journals, discussed the Kimberley Process and ethical consumption in the Financial Times, and shared research to inform other published and ongoing studies.

We hope the following summary gives you an idea of some of our points of focus in 2018. As always, we're always looking to collaborate. Links to contact us can be found at the bottom of this post.

How the transition to the green economy will impact minerals, extractive industries and communities

The second part of our Green Economy Series, 'Solar Photovoltaic and Energy Storage in the Electric Grid' was released in 2018.

In early 2018 we published the second part of our Green Economy Series, this time on minerals used in solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and lithium-ion batteries. Our researchers focused on the sourcing methods and risks associated with the supply chains of 17 minerals essential for the production of panels and batteries, including aluminium, cobalt, lithium, manganese and zinc.

An analysis of the governance of countries with the highest market and production share of the 17 minerals was conducted, along with an examination of innovations in the sector, market predictions, and how changing demands might affect different stakeholders, including miners and communities.

The publication generated a lot of interest in the green economy and extractive industries research space, and went on to inform articles and publications, including:

Energy in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities, published by Springer Open

Green Conflict Minerals: The fuels of conflict in the transition to a low-carbon economy, published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Minerals in the Green Economy: Solar Panels and Lithium-ion Batteries, published by the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF)

Part three of the series will focus on minerals used in wind turbines, including rare earth minerals. It is due out in early 2019.

Part three of the Green Economy Series, on minerals used in wind technology, will be published in 2019.

Following the publication of the second part of the Green Economy Series, our project team went on to conduct a rapid scoping and value chain mapping study for 13 minerals, including many used in green economy technologies, for the Social Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER). The comprehensive metallurgy sector profiles developed for the client went on to inform further research to expand understanding of how the demands of green economy technologies will change mineral supply chains.

Supporting Small and Medium-scale Enterprises

Organisations sourcing minerals need to remain vigilant to changing consumer expectations, improving standards and certifications, and civil society explorations of relevant sectors. 2018 was no exception.

We're supporting organisations large and small operate legally, profitably and sustainably.

In 2017-18, we completed a project for the European Commission to conduct research and develop recommendations to build EU Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) capacity for the performance of supply chain due diligence ahead of the upcoming EU Regulation on conflict minerals. The results of the study were published in 2018, providing a clear picture of the types of support available to SMEs looking to perform due diligence on their supply chains, due diligence activities currently performed by SMEs, and desired types of support. The study was published by the European Commission and is available to read and download.

'Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs)', as means to promoting legal advancement and compliance, are one of the focal points of Dr Fabiana Di Lorenzo's work.

Levin Sources' Responsible Sourcing Manager Dr Fabiana Di Lorenzo contributed a chapter to a book published by Springer International: Building New Bridges Between Business and Society. The chapter focuses on mandatory and voluntary standards on due diligence and supply chain transparency in the mineral sector and the rise of multi-stakeholder initiatives, or 'Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs)', as means to promoting legal advancement and compliance. More information on the book, including a link to purchase, can be found here.

Our popular 'Better Business in the Jewellery Sector' series was published in the summer of 2018.

Throughout the summer we worked on a series of blogs specifically to support and inspire small jewellery industry professionals in their missions to improve their sustainability performance. The Better Business in the Jewellery Sector series was developed in response to Human Rights Watch's The Hidden Cost of Jewelry, a report that explored the human rights and environmental risks associated with jewellery supply chains and increased pressure on producers to identify, manage and report on risks.

The series focused on: (click to read)

1. Jewellery supply chain transparency;

2. Tracing jewellery minerals back to source;

3. Building the internal and organisational capacity needed to drive change;

4. The difference between trust and compliance-based cultures in the jewellery sector;

5. The difference between 'responsible' and 'sustainable' mineral sourcing and risk management.

Our Responsible Mining and Sourcing teams continued to work with clients all along mineral supply chains throughout 2018, developing robust supply chain due diligence and performance improvement strategies, conducting market entry analyses and helping organisations large and small align their practices with different standards. If you'd like to discuss a project, reach out to our team.

Building knowledge and driving discussion in the ASM space

We continued to lead ground-breaking research and advisory in the Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) space, improving understanding of the important development minerals sector and building the case for productive, legal and safe mining activities around the world.

Development minerals, used in construction, manufacturing, and agriculture applications, were the focus of baseline study reports published in 2018

In March, our work for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)'s Development Minerals Programme was published in two volumes. The reports focused on the baseline assessment and value chain analysis of development minerals in Uganda our team conducted in 2017/18. The findings of the reports have informed sections of the draft Republic of Uganda Mining and Minerals Policy, including as justification of the importance of regulating the production of development minerals. The policy, that has the goals of "developing the mining industry through increased investment, value addition, national participation and revenue generation to contribute significantly to socioeconomic transformation and poverty eradication", is due for review in 2019.

The UNDP reports Levin Sources contributed to are available to read and download.

Levin Sources' Victoria Gronwald (third from left) presented findings from our research into the gender roles of women in artisanal diamond mining communities in Côte d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone.

We were commissioned by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to conduct research and develop recommendations to inform the Kimberley Process (KP) reform efforts and in-country KP support planning, with a specific focus on empowering women to overcome barriers in artisanal diamond mining. As part of the project, Responsible Sourcing and Development Specialist Victoria Gronwald joined a panel at the European Development Days event in Brussels to share findings from our fieldwork in Côte d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone. The panel discussion is available as a podcast from the event and two publications, with local and global policy recommendations, will be available in 2019.

Staying with the focus on gender in mining, in March 2018 we co-authored an article with the IGF on fostering economic independence for women in ASM, and how doing so promotes sustainable development across the sector and throughout communities.

Levin Sources' Senior Manager of Good Governance Holger Grundel wrote an article for the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) on the historic fluctuations of donor interest in ASM and why prioritising ASM is key if donor agencies are to achieve goals.

Improving mining-related environmental performance

The world's attention was very much on environmental performance in 2018 with various initiatives, agreements, events and conferences making headlines. Levin Sources continued to focus on improving the performance of organisations all along mineral supply chains, conducting ground-breaking research on ASM in forest landscape and publishing on mine site rehabilitation. We raised the profile of environmental risks linked to ASM at UN Biodiversity Convention on Biological Diversity conferences in Sharm El Sheikh and Cairo, and spoke at the United Nations General Assembly in New York and chaired a session Forest-Smart Mining at the IGF's annual conference in Geneva.

The Frugal Rehabilitation Methodology is the product of action research-based approaches in rehabilitation demonstration, stakeholder consultation and over two years of effort in training and capacity-building.

In May, CRC Press published Extracting Innovations: Mining, Energy, and Technological Change in the Digital Age, featuring a chapter by core Levin Sources team members and associates. The chapter focused on the rehabilitation of mined-out areas - a vital life cycle stage of mining projects. Our team highlighted the value of the Frugal Rehabilitation Methodology: an economically affordable, socially acceptable and ecologically viable method of improving land for use in alternative livelihoods post-closure. More information, including a link to buy the book, is available here.

We discussed the reasons why an integrated response is needed to mainstream biodiversity best practices across the mining sector in a blog in late 2018.

To coincide with our session at the Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties (COP14), we published a new blog that examines the severity of direct, indirect and cumulative impacts of poorly managed Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) and explores why ASM is often low, or missing, from international conservation agendas. The blog considers options for driving progress for focus on the environmental impacts of ASM, including the formative World Bank–OECD knowledge centre, and proposes an integrated approach between initiatives and stakeholders seeking to maximise positive impacts. To find out more, read: Why an integrated response is needed to mainstream biodiversity best practices across the mining sector.

Our work for the World Bank-managed program on Forest-Smart Mining will be published in 2019.

Our work for the World Bank-managed program on Forest-Smart Mining, including case studies of ASM in forest areas and recommendations to inform key land management and environmental performance decisions, will be available later this year- lots more on that soon.

If you'd like to discuss a project or programme, please email us with your requirements here.

For media enquiries, including potential collaborations on articles and/or research, email Jack Cooper.


Full list of publications featured in this article (in order of appearance):

Green Economy Series: Solar Photovoltaic and Energy Storage in the Electric Grid, published by Levin Sources

Energy in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities, published by Springer Open

Green Conflict Minerals: The fuels of conflict in the transition to a low-carbon economy, published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Minerals in the Green Economy: Solar Panels and Lithium-ion Batteries, published by the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF)

Report: Study on the Support System for SME Supply Chain Due Diligence, published by the European Commission

Building New Bridges Between Business and Society: Recent Research and New Cases in CSR, Sustainability, Ethics and Governance, published by Springer International

Better Business in the Jewellery Sector: Supply Chain Transparency, published by Levin Sources

Better Business in the Jewellery Sector: Traceability, published by Levin Sources

Better Business in the Jewellery Sector: Building Capacity for Change, published by Levin Sources

Better Business in the Jewellery Sector: Trust-Based and Compliance-Based Cultures, published by Levin Sources

Better Business in the Jewellery Sector: The Difference Between Responsible and Sustainable Sourcing, published by Levin Sources

Baseline Assessment of Development Minerals in Uganda - Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, published by ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme

Kimberley Process: Building Sustainable Conditions for Peace and Prosperity, podcast produced by European Development Days

Why We Should Foster Economic Independence for Women in Artisanal and Small-scale Mining, published by Levin Sources and the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF)

Artisanal and Small-scale Mining and Changing Donor Priorities, published by Levin Sources and the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM)

Extracting Innovations: Mining, Energy and Technological Change in the Digital Age, published by CRC Press

Why an Integrated Response is Needed to Mainstream Biodiversity Best Practices Across the Mining Sector, published by Levin Sources

 

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