The BMW Group is the first automobile company worldwide to become a member of the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA). The aim is to systematically promote the sustainability of mined materials and adherence to the highest supply chain standards.
Over the past few months, the BMW Group has achieved key milestones in its efforts to ensure high standards of sustainability worldwide in as many industrial sectors as possible (see article in our last newsletter). To ensure high social and environmental standards are maintained, not only within the company by its 130,000+ employees, but also within its supply chains, the BMW Group has now become a member of the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA). The aim is that in future suppliers and subcontractors will use only IRMA-certified minerals such as platinum, copper, lithium, graphite or nickel.
IRMA is a collaborative effort with the membership of over 30 companies, non-profit organisations, unions and mining enterprises worldwide. The aim is to achieve more transparency within the industrial mining sector and advance the highest possible social and environmental practices at mine sites globally. More than 100 experts and charitable organisations were consulted in drafting IRMA’s Standard for Responsible Mining, which is the world’s first shared definition of what is means to operate responsibly in large-scale mining. The Standard covers elements like human rights and the rights of indigenous people, occupational health and safety, reducing environmental impacts and transparency of payments by mining companies to governments. Certification is carried out by independent auditors.
“The automotive sector is an extraordinarily influential buyer of minerals and mined materials. We are thrilled BMW Group has joined IRMA, becoming the first in their sector to take this leadership stance. BMW’s commitment signals to others in the automotive sector, and in the mining industry more broadly, the emphasis leading companies are placing on the importance of robust, credible certification of raw materials,” says Aimee Boulanger, Executive Director of the IRMA.
“The BMW Group is the first automobile company to join IRMA because this initiative offers by far the most sustainable and comprehensive standard for mining certification, compared to any existing projects”, says Claudia Becker, an expert in Sustainable Purchasing for the BMW Group. “We have consciously chosen to go down this challenging road, because we want to ensure adherence to environmental and social standards right from the start of the supply chain.” Membership of IRMA was the logical next step after the BMW Group’s earlier commitment to specific material initiatives like the ResponsibleSteel Initiative.
Now the BMW Group is calling on other companies to get involved: “We would be delighted for other industrial companies and OEMs to get on board with this too”, says Becker.
Incidentally, the rigorous requirements of the IRMA Standard are confirmed by such agencies as the German Institute for Geoscience and Natural Resources (Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe). Together with the University of Ulm, it has published a study comparing 19 selected initiatives. The result of their analysis is that the IRMA certification process demands the highest requirements of the mining industry.