Case Study: ESG Fact-finding in manganese supply chains
Supporting an upstream fact-finding mission with different supply chain actors on sustainability risk and impact in manganese supply chains (South Africa)
As one of the critical minerals needed for the energy transition, manganese is sourced from resource-rich countries including India and South-Africa. When a group of NGO's from the Netherlands published a report highlighting sustainability risks in the. manganese sector in South Africa, this global steel company requested support to conduct an upstream fact-finding missing and engage with stakeholders to better understand sustainability risks and opportunities in manganese supply chains.
As part of the non-profit expert-team from HIVE, our expert supported the steel company and selected mid-stream supply chain actors to jointly conduct an upstream fact-finding mission. Advisory work included;
Support a fact-finding mission with upstream visits to manganese mines and stakeholders in South Africa, in a collaborative effort between various supply chain partners (including midstream trader and smelter). Facilitate stakeholder engagement including through briefing and meetings with Government representatives and local civil society actors, in order to gain better insights into upstream ESG risks and issues.
Based on insights gathered, the team carried out a (light) assessment of identified ESG issues to complement insights from the NGO report (’Manganese Matters’). Specific focus on ESG risks highlighted in the report: human rights, health and safety, water scarcity and quality, women economic empowerment).
Recommendations were provided with regards to company responsibility to act, in line with OECD and RMI industry standards, as well as EU and local (South African) legislation. This included recommendations to engage with stakeholders through dialogue and conduct deepened assessment of most prominent ESG risks, as basis for possible multi-stakeholder collaboration towards addressing most pressing issues.
Advisory services to strengthen the over-all responsible sourcing program of the company, through inter alia responsible minerals strategy meetings and training of staff, guidance on annual supplier survey and engagement, CAHRA determination, materiality and ESG prioritization, risk-based due diligence approach, advisory on compliance with EU Conflict Minerals regulation and upcoming EU CSDD legigslation, amongst others.
Building on insights gathered and final recommendations, the company was able to enhance maturity of the broader responsible sourcing program, including through traceability and origin determination, skills of staff, supplier engagement and taking first steps towards developing an approach for risk-based due diligence.
As part of continuous stakeholder engagement, the company also indicated it will share broader findings and explore further actions, also within the context of the sector and Netherlands' RBC Agreement for the Metal sector.