Annual Progress Report Metals 2020-2021
On 11 October 2021, I joined the International Responsible Business Conduct Agreement for the Dutch Metals Sector as the independent chairperson, to oversee the implementation of the Agreement, act as its ambassador, and support national and international upscaling activities. So far, I have had introductory meetings with the independent Secretariat, met some of the Agreement parties, and am now ready to take on this wonderful and challenging opportunity to promote sustainability and responsible business conduct in the metals sector.
This second annual report highlights the events of the past year; achievements, challenges, and prospects for the future. The overall feeling is that of progress - at a slower pace than anticipated - but progress nonetheless. The parties are eager to move forward and to show that they can collaborate and support each other in organising the necessary change in the organisations and business practices. Their common goal is to positively affect the circularity in the sector as well as to avoid human rights issues in international supply chains. The tools and templates for assessing due diligence have been updated and will be digitalised in the coming months. New parties have joined the Agreement and a few collective projects are in the works.
As was in the second half of 2020, COVID-19 once again posed a challenge to the implementation of some of the Agreement obligations, although this time around, Parties have almost fully adjusted to a new way of working. Physical meetings and interactions continue to be missed as some parties are yet to meet each other in person since joining the Agreement. We hope this will change in the nearest future.
The most important goal for the Metals Agreement remains the full integration of responsible business practices that take environmental, social and corporate governance in supply chains into consideration. As the calls for a Dutch and European Union mandatory due diligence legislation continue to gain momentum, Parties to the Metals Agreement stand to be in a favorable position if, and when this new legislation comes into practice.
For now, I look forward with enthusiasm to a warm and pleasant meeting with all the Parties to the Metals Agreement and in supporting them in achieving great results in the coming year.
Independent Chairperson for the Metals Agreement