Revised standard enhances The Copper Mark’s value

April 23, 2024 – The Copper Mark stands as the world’s leading assurance framework for responsible value chains of copper, molybdenum, nickel and zinc. A revised standard effective from 1st January 2024 further enhances the value of The Copper Mark and its sister products The Molybdenum Mark, The Nickel Mark and The Zinc Mark for both producers themselves and the markets they serve. In view of climate change and the energy transition, responsible production is increasingly becoming a prerequisite for global market access and access to capital.

Since the launch of its assurance framework in 2020, over 30% of all globally mined copper now originates from sites that have received The Copper Mark. Sites currently undergoing assurance represent an additional 10% of global production. Molybdenum, nickel and zinc have also been incorporated into the assurance framework starting late 2022. Currently, 25 sites have already been assigned either The Molybdenum Mark, The Nickel Mark or The Zinc Mark, or a combination thereof.

The Copper Mark and the three other metal marks hold equal importance for large, medium-sized and smaller companies alike. Participation is based on the independent evaluation of sites against 33 different criteria for environmental performance, social behavior and governance, as defined in the Risk Readiness Assessment Criteria Guide. In pursuit of continuous improvement among participants, these requirements were tightened after a two year long, inclusive, revision process in October 2023. As of 2024, both new participants in The Copper Mark and those renewing their participation must meet the new standard.

Performance against the standard is assessed at site-level, by independent third-party assessors that have been approved by The Copper Mark. A key strength of The Copper Mark is its robust assurance process, delivering transparent outcomes and public reports on the performance of each site in relation to the 33 criteria of the standard.

Michèle Brülhart, Executive Director of The Copper Mark, remarked: “The revised standard is more prescriptive in terms of what is required for assessment. Even more importantly, new chapters on climate action, circular economy and responsible supply chains have been added. Our aim is to position The Copper Mark even more clearly as a credible option for regulators and for customers that are seeking responsible mining and production practices.”

Targeting the entire value chain
The Copper Mark explicitly focuses on the entire value chain. Producers in mining, smelting/refining and fabrication are able to apply for the Copper Mark, the Molybdenum Mark, the Nickel Mark and/or the Zinc Mark by meeting the responsible production and sourcing criteria defined in the Copper Mark standards. In addition to the core standard on environmental, social and governance topics, the Joint Due Diligence Standard for Copper, Lead, Molybdenum, Nickel and Zinc allows sites to meet market regulations of the London Metals Exchange by demonstrating responsible mineral sourcing practices.
Furthermore, The Copper Mark Chain of Custody standard establishes rules to support product-level claims of responsibly sourced copper. For producers, The Chain of Custody Standard serves as a voluntary add-on option to an assessment against The Copper Mark criteria. Downstream supply chain actors (e.g. manufacturers and end users) can utilize the Chain of Custody Standard as a standalone framework to bolster their corporate social responsibility policies.

Michèle Brülhart stated, “Through our standards framework and requirements, we support our participants in identifying and implementing on-the-ground changes to their operations. It’s important to recognize that the value of The Copper Mark extends throughout the entire value chain and is increasingly recognized and acknowledged by customers. This is evidenced by the steady increase in partners publicly supporting our organization. More than 40 well-known brands from all over the world now already endorse The Copper Mark’s objectives.”

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