Our key takeaway: The OECD Handbook on Environmental Due Diligence in Mineral Supply Chains highlights the importance of conducting robust due diligence to adequately address companies’ impacts on the environment. The prioritisation of such risks and impacts underlines all stages of the due diligence process, from identifying high-risk parts of the value chain to focus their efforts on, to reporting on how companies have addressed their most severe and likely risks and impacts. Notably, the Handbook highlights the interconnection between adverse environmental impacts and human rights risks such as impacts to workers and communities, access to livelihoods and land tenure rights. The OECD recommends in particular that companies (1) look at, and address, the human rights impact of their own operations and supply chain activities in the context of their environmental management and due diligence measures, not least to further the just transition to a low-carbon economy; (2) prioritise their most severe, and likely, risks and impacts for action to secure the best and most effective outcomes for people and planet; and (3) use their leverage, the level of which depends on their position in the supply chain, to cascade robust due diligence measures to prevent and mitigate environmental and human rights risks and impacts, including those hidden in more remote tiers of the supply chain.
The OECD published ‘Handbook on Environmental Due Diligence in Mineral Supply Chains’ (September 2023):