“MARS offers individualized assistance to realize effective due diligence in the supply chain”


Global megatrends such as the energy transition, digitization and electromobility are ensuring a steady increase in the demand for metallic raw and semi-finished materials. For industrial production, the EU and its member states are dependent on corresponding supplies from resource-rich countries. Yet, human rights are often not adequately protected during the extraction and transport of raw materials. In addition, environmental protection aspects are not satisfactorily observed in some cases. Despite suitable laws in such countries, implementation efforts may be unsuccessful, for example, due to political instability or the willingness to comply with due diligence obligations.

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For this reason, the UN, governments and other stakeholders are calling for more proactiveness on the industry’s part and, if necessary, for legal standards. Therefore, companies should improve their compliance with their corporate due diligence obligations (supply chain due diligence). Human rights and labor standards should be supported along the entire supply chain and risks of violation should be minimized. The same applies for promoting and implementing environmental and climate protection measures. Last but not least, it is the consumers and customers that ask for precise documentation that due diligence obligations are being observed and complied with along the supply chain.

Responsible action and the associated compliance with human rights is a central requirement and objective shared by the industry. However, the complexity and necessary effort for documentation and the tracing of minerals and metals is increasing. The work is further impeded by a patchwork of (legal) requirements that are very difficult to monitor. To improve this, already in 2017, WVMetalle initiated a project to develop a guideline for companies on the basis of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance. This was intended to support companies in establishing and implementing a risk management system in their standard procedures and thereby make a positive contribution to companies complying with their corporate due diligence obligations. During a six-month practical test, we immediately realized that the guideline was insufficient to provide the necessary assistance to all companies. Differences in individual structures and sizes of companies, supply chain positions and the raw materials processed require individual recommendations for action.

For this reason, the Metal Alliance for Responsible Sourcing (MARS) was founded. MARS seeks to incorporate the latest management methods and requirements into tailor-made solutions that acknowledge each company’s individual needs, today and tomorrow.