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5 Sep 2022


Study finds voluntary standards in the raw materials sector are inappropriate as tools for implementing human rights due diligence

"An Examination of Industry Standards in the Raw Materials Sector", 5 Sep 2022

Voluntary standards and other industry initiatives for the extraction of raw materials have established themselves increasingly in recent years as an instrument with which companies can implement their due diligence obligations. Yet, the existing standards are marked by a series of systematic, content-related and methodological shortcomings. This paper provides a first assessment of the methodological robustness of the various standards in the raw materials sector. In a first step, we defined the methodological requirements placed on raw materials standards. Following this, we analysed to what extent the selected standards address these requirements.

The study shows that the industry initiatives contribute to very different extents towards implementing due diligence obligations, and our findings suggest that they can never be applied as a sole instrument to this end. This study provides some initial points of reference for defining minimum criteria when industry standards are to be used as one of several instruments for the implementation of due diligence obligations.