Skip to main content

Critical Raw Materials

Critical Raw Materials are essential in the modern-day economy. Minerals such as lithium, cobalt, and copper are essential for digitalization, for renewable energy technologies, and for the further deployment of electric vehicles. Demand for these and other minerals – known as “critical raw materials” (CRMs) – is growing fast as governments and businesses act to reach net-zero emissions.

UNECE is making efforts to align critical raw materials with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. We are supporting member states to secure a resilient, sustainable and ethical supply of critical raw materials for the transition to a net-zero economy.

UNECE Framework for Critical Raw Materials

Social Contract: a comprehensive Socio-Environmental-Economic Contract to Operate that integrates consideration of impacts on societies and communities, the need for a just transition, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and environmental stewardship;

Sustainable Finance Framework: Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)-focused funding based on common sustainable finance principles and taxonomy;

Sustainable Resource Management System: A shared, principles-based, Integrated, Sustainable Resource Management System;

Supply Chain Traceability: A comprehensive framework for traceability, transparency, and sustainability in extractives related supply chains;

Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs): SEAs of plans and programmes to mitigate possible negative impacts and to weigh environmental and health impacts of alternatives, including, as required, in a transboundary context, identify more sustainable solutions, and engage authorities and the public.

UNECE Toolkit for Critical Raw Materials

United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC)

United Nations Resource Management System (UNRMS)

Building Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards

Decarbonizing energy intensive industries

Circularity of Materials

Traceability of materials


UN Secretary-General’s Policy Brief on “Transforming the extractive industries for sustainable development