The Green Transition, as envisioned by the Green Deal, relies heavily on critical raw materials, which supply chain poses numerous challenges for Europe; casting doubt on whether climate neutrality can be reached by 2050. This was the topic of the seminar ‘Green Transition challenged by the metal supply chain,’ organised by a cluster of EU projects, including SecREEts, where a panel of experts from across different spheres such as academia, research, the private sector was convened to address the issues across the metal supply chain and put forward policy recommendations.
For the EU to deliver on the promises of the Green Deal it will need to develop ‘strategic access’ to key minerals and metals which are predominantly mined and manufactured in third countries. Many groups monitoring health, safety and human rights standards raise questions on whether mining companies in third countries comply with international standards and whether the EU can effectively uphold these standards when buying materials from outside the EU.
Achieving sustainability and a circular economy in the critical raw materials sector is also not without its problems- as the loop of the circular economy can never be actually closed; and while design can help mitigate a downward spiral’, losses can still be incurred due to the complexity. What other challenges exist and how do we tackle them? If you want to know more, make sure to read the report on the seminar, which is available here.