The “Strategic Dialogue on Sustainable Raw Materials for Europe” (STRADE), a 3-year research project (through 2018) to develop scientifically validated recommendations for a long-term European strategy on raw materials, successfully held its project kickoff in Darmstadt, Germany in January 2016.
With participation from EU representatives at DG GROWTH and the Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME), the meeting united all seven project partners – Oeko-Institut e.V., SNL Financial, The Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy (CEPMLP) of the University of Dundee, Projekt-Consult GmbH, Georange, University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg and DMT-Kai Batla (Pty) Ltd in Johannesburg, South Africa – to discuss the project goals, plan and deliverables.
The project team shall collaborate with networks in Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas to gain a deeper understanding for an informed EU raw-material strategy. International stakeholder workshops shall offer opportunities to share experience on raw-materials extraction and engagement and to discuss raw-material resource strategies for policy, industry and general society in developing and advanced countries. The dialogue events combine with research results to recommend transparent and traceable criteria for safe, environmental and social practices in extracting raw materials. Such an internationally accepted evaluation scheme shall serve political and economic policymakers and investors to assess production sites’ sustainability levels.
Funded within the framework of the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Union, the newly launched research project STRADE takes a closer look at these questions: How can the sustainable supply of raw materials for the European Union be secured? How can natural resources be sustainably exploited from an environmental and social perspective? How can the European Union successfully work together with developing countries on an international level?
“Poorly managed resource extraction can have a considerably negative impact on the environment, in particular on drinking water, and on individuals and societies,” explains Dr. Doris Schüler, project coordinator at Oeko-Institut. “An evaluation scheme would help to identify improper mining standards and to improve conditions in the surroundings and for humankind. STRADE will discuss how the EU can offer targeted assistance to promote implementing sustainable mining standards and related certification standards and to become more involved in international bodies.”