German engineering and consulting firm DMT Group on Wednesday announced that CERA, the first global certification scheme to guarantee a consistent standard of environmental, social and economic impact throughout the entire raw materials value chain, would be launched next year.
Formal CERA pilot projects addressing sustainability in the exploration, extraction and processing of lithium and cobalt will start later this year.
CERA will identify pilot project partners for chain of custody early next year.
CERA will welcome candidate applications from 2020 and issue first certificates in 2021.
There are currently 40 certification schemes for global mining activity alone, with additional schemes for the entire value chain and some being specific to a single geography, process, humanitarian concern or single mineral.
“Existing certification processes are complex, expensive and inconsistent, resulting in a porous and diffuse approach to how 'sustainability' and 'ethics' are defined from country to country, mineral to mineral and company to company.
“The CERA certification programme has solved this global industry-wide issue with the development of a new universal standard, providing an affordable and consistent evaluation of environmental, social and economic sustainability along the entire raw materials value chain,” DMT said in a statement.
Additionally, CERA created the first definition of sustainability that is valid for all materials and manufacturing processes, meaning the CERA standard is applicable at every stage of the value chain – from mineral exploration to the final product – and across every country.
CERA will use blockchain technology to enable the traceability of raw materials along the value chain for the first time. Using a proprietary database, CERA will create a public ledger where certification can be viewed and verified.
DMT has led development of CERA since 2015, with financial support from raw materials consortium EIT RawMaterials.
CERA’s advisory board includes members from Volkswagen, Fairphone, Euromines, the University of Southern Denmark, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and the European Union Joint Research Centre.
“CERA solves the problem of complexity and inconsistency of sustainability standards in raw materials. We are proud to have developed the most comprehensive certification scheme in existence and of the positive ethical, environmental and sustainability impact to which CERA will contribute,” said DMT raw materials sustainability head Dr Andreas Hucke.