Background

European Union Level

The European Union (EU) has launched the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials. The long-term vision is to boost the innovation capacity of the EU raw materials sector, turning it into a strong and sustainable pillar of the EU economy.

Creating an attractive industry, whilst addressing societal challenges and increasing benefits for society. The EIP will promote both technological and non-technological innovation along the entire value chain of raw materials involving stakeholders for relevant upstream and downstream sectors.

The Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) of the EIP on Raw Materials addresses relevant actions necessary to achieve the objectives and targets, including research and development along the value chain:

  1. Raw materials knowledge
  2. Best practices
  3. Revision of selected legislation
  4. Licensing steps
  5. Standardisation and
  6. Policy dialogues.

The actions will cover all relevant raw materials and their value chains.

Given the dependency of much of the European industry on the international markets – International co-operation forms an important and cross-cutting part of the EIP on Raw Materials.

By 2020, the EIP proposes through its SIP a number of concrete research and innovation actions. Targeting the beginning of the raw materials value chain and integrating downstream industries in order to start the transformation of the EU raw materials sector and to contribute to the reindustrialisation of the EU and to a resource-efficient Europe. The viability of the solutions shall be demonstrated in pilot actions in the real environment by 2020.

In order to be successful, the EIP needs to involve a very large number of partners across the European Union and the entire raw materials value chain. Actions by EU institutions alone will not be sufficient, nor will funding from the EU budget remain alone.

The standard is equally valid for partnerships and value chain management in other areas of the circular economy and natural resources management such as:

  • Water
  • Sustainable agriculture & bio-economy
  • Energy & smart communities
  • Green chemistry
  • Phosphates etc.

UN Level

In 2002, at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+10), the “Guideline Principles for Partnerships” were adopted. However, the oversight of their implementation has not been secured. This remains a major gap of the Rio process from 1992 until today.

In 2009, the Global Guidelines on Co-operation between UN and Business Sector were adopted and the task force ‘Transformative partnerships’ for the UN and Business sector, under the UN Secretary General set up.

At the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the outcome document refers to a registry for commitments for the promotion of sustainable development.

In order for actions and commitments to be meaningful, transparency is crucial. To this end, the document acknowledged the importance of corporate sustainability reporting and encouraged the collaboration of stakeholders and governments.

Today the transformational collaboration we need is global value chain’ and multi-stakeholder partnership driven. New forms of co-operation are needed to become much more efficient and easier to scale-up.