Towards a more sustainable metal use: lessons learned from national strategy documents

Weiser, A., Bickel, M. W., Kummerer, K. & Lang, D. J. (2020) Towards a more sustainable meta use – Lessons learned from national strategy documents. Resources Policy. 68.

Avoiding disruptions in supply is key in transitioning from a fossil fuel-based economy to a metal-based economy and to understanding how these resources can be most effectively and responsibly used. Using 37 national mineral strategy documents, the authors consider the contextual conditions, motivations and objectives behind plans to manage the supply of these essential resources.

Analysing the resource management plans according to current state, future target state, the strategy for transition from the current state to the target state, and the theory of change that informs that transition strategy, the paper groups these plans into 4 clusters:

  • Upscaling Exploration: a current focus on primary production that prioritises the future protection of land use for the benefit of local communities;
  • Mining for Development: a current focus on primary production with the priority of technological innovation and the establishment of stable but flexible governance;
  • Our resources for our future: a current focus on the later stage impacts of resource provision with a transitionary focus on minimising use and mitigating drivers of unsustainable resource use through design and behavioural change; and
  • Closing cycles, securing supply: a current state focus on design, use, secondary production and the responsible sourcing of resources, with a transitional focus on absolute use reduction, transformed metal use and the mitigation of drivers of unsustainable resource use.

The full paper can be found here.