Due to their key role in the energy transition and digitalization, demand for metallic raw materials will continue to rise over the upcoming years. An electric car, for example, requires around six times the amount of metals and minerals as a conventional car. For this reason, the stability and resilience of supply chains is becoming ever more important. The vulnerability of commodity supply chains and the possibility of disruptions in the supply of raw materials are increasingly perceived as a security risk. Strategies to diversify supply chains, trading partners and the production of goods are therefore gaining attention.
As an industrial country, Germany is particularly dependent on raw material imports. In 2020, Germany imported metals worth €53.35 billion, a large percent of which came from outside of Europe. Raw materials thus ranked 6th among the top imported goods. That is why German policy can play an important role in shaping sustainable supply chains and promoting respect for human rights.
This research project focuses on the enforcement and implementation of voluntary and binding standards. In so doing, we are looking at the role of central actors such as companies, states and civil society in supply chain networks. By analysing the supply chains of copper from the Andean countries Peru and Chile and of platinum from two countries in southern Africa, Zimbabwe and South Africa, we seek to compare and contrast two supply chains under different contextual conditions. For example, China plays a central role in the copper trade, but hardly any in the platinum supply chain. This diversity enables both general and material- as well as country-specific results.
Duration: July 2020–June 2023
The project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Opportunities and Risks in the South African Mining Sector
Contributions to Research Papers 2021/RP 10, 13.12.2021, 125 Pages, pp. 73–76
New Potentials for Driving Sustainability in Mineral Value Chains
Germany’s Due Diligence Act Is a Good Start
The Covid-19 pandemic has uncovered the weakness of global supply chains
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.