Transnational Governance of Sustainable Commodity Supply Chains

The demand for metallic raw materials is expected to further increase in the coming years, especially in the context of energy transition, electrification of transport and digitalization of the economy. Aside from debates about diversifying the production of goods and raw materials as well as the perception of supply relationships as a security risk, the question of stability and resilience of supply chains is of major importance.

With its export-oriented economy and without substantial extraction of raw materials of its own, Germany is particularly dependent on the import of raw materials. Conversely, German politics can also play a prominent role in shaping sustainable supply chains and promoting due diligence with respect to human rights.

This research project examines the implementation and enforcement of voluntary and binding standards as well as the role of state actors on the basis of a transregional and intersectoral comparison. In so doing, it analyses the commodity copper from the Andean countries Peru and Chile as well as the commodity platinum from two countries in southern Africa, Zimbabwe and South Africa. By examining two metals with different contextual conditions, the project aims to identify both general and specific approaches to designing sustainable supply chains from raw material extraction to processing.

The project focuses on the question of how the German Federal Government, and specifically development policy in multi-actor partnerships with corporates, can implement standardised governance mechanisms in the raw materials sector. The aim is to analyse the potentials and risks along raw material supply chains and identify entry points for their sustainable design by corporates and politics.

The project cooperates closely with the "Research Network Sustainable Global Supply Chains" coordinated by Prof Dr Günther Maihold.

Duration: July 2020–June 2023

Head of Project: Dr Melanie Müller

Associates: Christina Saulich, Svenja Schöneich

Project Assistant: Viktoria Reisch

Financial Support: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development


Günther Maihold, Melanie Müller, Christina Saulich, Svenja Schöneich

Responsibility in Supply Chains

Germany’s Due Diligence Act Is a Good Start

SWP Comment 2021/C 21, March 2021, 7 Pages


Bernice McLean, Melanie Müller

Shaping sustainable supply chains

Supply Chain Disruptions and African-European Relations

in:, 10.03.2021 (online)
Melanie Müller

Crisis-proofing Supply Chains: “It’s about Human Rights Too”

The pandemic has exposed the magnitude of global dependency on supply relationships. Melanie Müller discusses with Candida Splett how the resilience of supply chains can be improved. Human rights are an important aspect.

Point of View, 03.02.2021
Günther Maihold, Viktoria Reisch

Environmental Rights and Conflicts over Raw Materials in Latin America

The Escazú Agreement Is Ready to Come into Force in 2021

SWP Comment 2021/C 04, January 2021, 8 Pages



SWP Comments

Wolfram Lacher
Libya’s Flawed Unity Government

A Semblance of Compromise Obscures Old and New Rifts

Muriel Asseburg
Palestinian Elections, Finally

Significance, Challenges and European Responsibilities

SWP Research Papers

Peter Lintl
The Haredim as a Challenge for the Jewish State

The Culture War over Israel’s Identity

Muriel Asseburg
Reconstruction in Syria

Challenges and Policy Options for the EU and its Member States