The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA), a certification programme which ensures ecologically and socially responsible mining products, has partnered with BMW, its first member in the auto sector.

IRMA works with industrial-scale mine sites and as a member, BMW will be participating in responsible mining programmes.

Member of BMW management board Dr. Andreas Wendt said: “Sustainability is an important aspect of our corporate strategy and we are fully aware of our responsibility in mineral value chains.

“For the BMW Group and its stakeholders, it is of the utmost importance that environmental and social standards are adhered to throughout the entire value chain,” he added.

IRMA measures performance of mine sites against their Standard for Responsible Mining which defines good practices for what responsible mining should look like at a industrial-scale. The standard recognises different levels of performance and encourages continuous improvement. It also seeks to emulate for industrial-scale mine sites what has been done with certification programs in organic agriculture, responsible forestry and sustainable fisheries.

IRMA Executive Director Aimee Boulanger said: “The auto sector is a powerful purchaser of materials that come from mines.

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“We are happy to have the BMW Group join IRMA and we look forward to supporting their commitment to increasing environmental and social responsibility in their supply chains,” she added.

The Standard for Responsible Mining’s best practice requirements for mining include: health and safety for workers, human rights, community engagement, pollution control, mining in conflict-affected areas, rights of indigenous peoples, transparency in revenue payments from companies to governments, and land reclamation once mining is done.

The standard is intended to complement strong laws and regulations without replacing them. However, the IRMA Standard can fill gaps where policy or regulation is lacking and in some cases it strengthens government regulations, helping to increase transparency in the mining sector.

Members in IRMA include stakeholders in the mining supply chain or people affected by mining, such as purchasers of mined materials – Microsoft and Tiffany & Co. and labour unions such as IndustriALL Global Union (that represents more than 50 million workers in mining and manufacturing in 140 countries).