Sustainable & ethical supply

Strategic focus area

Economic performance Value chain & society

Change in risk profile


Change in opportunity profile


Potential impact

Umicore requires certain metals or metal-containing raw materials to manufacture its products and feed its recycling activities. Some of these raw materials are comparatively scarce and require very specific sourcing strategies. Obtaining adequate supplies of these materials is important for the ongoing success and growth of our business.

Some metals are also found in regions facing social challenges. Trading in precious metals and minerals can be used to finance armed conflict, cause human rights abuses, draw upon forced or child labor and support corruption and money laundering. We ensure that procurement of minerals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas is in line with Umicore’s values, while providing an advantage to our customers.

Change in context

Existing and upcoming laws aiming to drive the responsible sourcing of conflict minerals (tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold), have increased the visibility and concern on the conditions around conflict mineral sourcing in public discourse.

Measures taken by umicore

Umicore has implemented policies and measures covering human rights, the right for workers to organize, collective bargaining, equal opportunities and non-discrimination, banning of child labor, banning of forced labor, consistent with International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards. These commitments are supported through a Global Framework Agreement on Sustainable Development with IndustriALL Global Union which was renewed in 2019. In addition to existing policies and charters such as the Umicore Code of Conduct, Human Rights Policy and Sustainable Procurement Charter, Umicore also has a specific policy for “Responsible global supply chain of minerals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas”. In 2019, Umicore again received third-party validation for the application of its Sustainable Procurement Framework for Cobalt, which is aligned with the OECD ‘Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas’. Umicore continues to ensure that its production operations are certified as conflict-free and receives site and metal-specific responsible sourcing certifications from the LBMA and RJC. For more information, see note V3.

We use our long-standing and growing experience in sustainable sourcing to advocate for more responsible sourcing. To read more about some of our advocacy work, see Stakeholder Engagement.

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