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41st UN/CEFACT Forum: Introduction to the CRM Traceability Project

41st UN/CEFACT Forum: Introduction to the CRM Traceability Project

02 October 2023 10:30 - 12:30
UNESCAP Bangkok Thailand


Critical raw materials (CRM) like lithium, cobalt, copper, and graphite are exported globally to support essential infrastructure for secure green energy transition and resilient digital economic development. Worldwide, new regulations demand proof of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) compliance on CRM shipments. To participate in global markets, actors along the CRM supply chain need an efficient and trustworthy way to demonstrate their sustainability credentials through the chain of custody. 

The UN/CEFACT Critical Raw Materials Traceability and Sustainability Project (CRM Project) is creating a framework to map current international sustainability standards and standards for interoperability between reporting platforms to increase trust and traceability in international data exchange. 

Join us on October 2, 2023, at 10:30 AM ICT to learn how the CRM project is identifying ways to improve compatibility between current sustainability credential standards and supply chain traceability solutions.  

This Session 1 will explore the supply chains connecting CRM resource-rich countries and end consumers. The discussion will highlight how emerging sustainability regulation in consuming countries is impacting intermediary manufacturers, processors, and smelters in Asia and beyond. Speakers will demonstrate how interoperable digital solutions facilitate the efficient exchange of sustainability data while keeping commercially sensitive information private.

10:30 - 10:50 Nancy Norris: Critical Raw Materials Project Overview
A summary of the CRM Project goals, principles, and schedule, including an overview of the deliverables and sub-project organization
10:50 - 11:10 Steve Capell: Making Sense of Sustainability Claims
  • ESG compliance is becoming increasingly complex as more and more sustainability standards, reporting frameworks, and national regulations emerge.
  • This changing landscape creates very high complexity for exporters as they seek to comply with both domestic requirements and those of export markets.
  • The CRM Project will create a scalable and re-usable pattern for sustainability criteria mapping across different standards and regulations. In this way, compliance obligations at different levels (corporate vs product), jurisdictions (state, national, regional) and sectors (refining, manufacturing, recycling) are more easily understood and achieved.  
11:10 - 11:30 Zachary Zeus: Traceability from Mine to Recycled Product
  • A presentation of the traceability challenges currently facing organization and regulators and how the CRM project will create a simple, scalable, and decentralised “open traceability architecture” as a solution.
  • Key considerations will include:
    • How to connect data across multiple systems and avoid dependencies on centralized platforms.
    • How to balance transparency and confidentiality.
    • How to manage mass-balance between organisation level ESG data and consignment level data.
    • How to assess the trustworthiness of information shared across supply chains.
  • Initially focused on the critical raw materials sector, the traceability architecture will be applicable for other sectors such as garments and footwear and agri-food. 
11:30 - 11:50

Jeanne Huang: A Legal Perspective

  • Digital standards and technologies are critical tools to support traceability and transparency at scale. These tools must support an increasingly complex regulatory landscape. 
  • This presentation will explore the different regulatory frameworks that impact ESG compliance in complex international supply chains.  
  • Key considerations include:
    • How exporters can assess their products against the legal requirements of importing economies (places of processing, final consumption, and after-consumption recycling).
    • How mutual-recognition frameworks could reduce the cost of compliance.
    • Re-usable legal patterns and toolkits that could be developed to support this process.
11:50 - 12:10 Prok Vasilyev: Proving the Model with Implementation Pilots
  • The CRM project includes three implementation pilots (at minimum) designed to test the open traceability architecture and sustainability criteria mapping frameworks at scale and in real working scenarios.
  • The pilots will include Australian lithium, Canadian copper, and (once local representation is confirmed), Congolese cobalt.
  • Most of these value chains include manufacturers (of batteries, solar cells, etc.) in Asian economies and produce final products that are sold into global markets including the EU and US.
  • This presentation will describe how the CRM project will engage supply chain stakeholders across these value chains to verify a globally scalable model of critical raw materials sustainability and resilience. 
12:10 - 12:30 Nancy Norris: Wrap-up, Discussion, and Next Steps
  • We will summarise the key ideas from each presentation, open the floor for questions & comments.
  • We invite the audience to think about CRM industries and regulations within their own countries and share these insights in Session 2: Mid-Stream Asian Critical Raw Material Supply Chain Actors (Challenges & Opportunities).

Further information: Project website. Contact: Nancy Norris, Senior Director – ESG & Digital Trust, Government of British Columbia.

Session 2: Mid-Stream Asian Critical Raw Material Supply Chain Actors (Challenges & Opportunities)


51671 _ Proving the Model with Implementation Pilots _ 383924 _ English _ 773 _ 395295 _ pdf
51671 _ CRM-SR Standards & Regulations Workstream _ 383925 _ English _ 773 _ 395297 _ pdf