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23 Feb 2024

EU Raw Materials Coalition

CRMA: EU Raw Materials Coalition publishes civil society implementation guidelines

'Limiting environmental damage, human rights abuses and Indigenous Peoples' rights violations: Civil society guidelines for the implementation of the EU Critical Raw Materials Regulation', 23 February 2024

Following political agreement in last November, these guidelines offer practical recommendations for implementation of the CRMA in a way that prevents and mitigates environmental damage, human rights abuses and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights violations. They cover four key topics:

  • 'Raw material demand reduction is [...] key [...] to mitigate adverse impacts on local communities and Indigenous Peoples as well as the environment. While circularity measures are included in the CRMR, they require further development to go higher up the waste hierarchy. Emphasis is placed on operationalising moderation of demand through sufficiency measures, vital not only for increasing strategic autonomy but also for mitigating their impacts on people and the planet.
  • Strategic partnerships are recognized as crucial elements within the CRMR, yet they require a sustainable development approach that considers the unique needs of partner countries. Furthermore, it is imperative to establish clear definitions of value addition and implement robust mechanisms to ensure the active involvement of civil society and indigenous peoples, both within the EU and partner countries. These partnerships must transcend mere economic analysis and encompass human rights, Indigenous Peoples’ rights and environmental frameworks on an international scale.
  • The CRMR recognizes the need to ensure indigenous peoples’ rights under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. However, the inclusion of instruments such as Free, Prior, and Informed Consent is essential for respecting indigenous peoples’ rights within a legally binding framework, safeguarding their right to self-determination.
  • Certification and industry schemes are viewed as important tools for ensuring environmental and social compliance and adhering to due diligence standards. However, their effectiveness and necessity depend on how they are structured and monitored. They cannot replace existing environmental and social safeguards, and outsourcing assessments of human and environmental standards poses risks that must be addressed. The guidelines express concerns about over-reliance on certification and industry schemes, particularly in projects outside the EU where the EU has limited oversight.'

Part of the following timelines

EU Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA) enters into force amid civil society concerns

European raw materials laws, policies and partnerships & the fast and fair transition