09 February 2024

Image sourced from AfriSam

A major milestone in the raw materials sector towards traceability, transparency and sustainability has been reached: The launch of TÜV NORD CERA 4in1 Performance Standard (CPS). This new sustainability certificate enables companies in the areas of mining, processing, smelting, and refining to prove the ESG-compliance of their facilities and processes in a streamlined, well-structured process and marks a starting point: CPS is part of the first holistic, globally applicable, four-step certification system, TÜV NORD CERA 4in1, that provides proof of ESG-compliance for all mineral raw materials along the entire value chain up to the final product. It paves the way for a truly sustainable transformation in the natural resources sector.

It is undeniable: The raw materials sector is in the middle of a transformation process towards sustainability and ESG-compliance (Environmental, Social Responsibility and Corporate Governance). Along entire value chains, the industry is developing and producing sustainable innovations. Raw materials have an especially essential role in addressing the challenges of our time, such as the sustainable transformation of our society, digitalization, the transition to renewable energy, and climate-neutral mobility. Due to increasing demands from end consumers and clients from business and administration for sustainable and transparent sourcing conditions, legal regulations are being implemented in Europe and around the globe. Thus, ESG-compliance is THE essential market requirement of today and for the future. The raw materials sector is challenged with an increasing number of tasks that provide new opportunities and will change the raw materials sector worldwide.

This is where the TÜV NORD CERA 4in1 Performance Standard (CPS) fills a crucial gap in existing sustainability certificates and helps companies in the raw materials sector fulfill the expectations of all stakeholders, including investors, shareholders, clients, business partners, governments, employees, and society itself. This standard can provide the foundation for the social license to operate for all companies in the raw materials sector.

What are the benefits of CPS?

CPS is a major step in supporting the raw materials sector on its path to a sustainable future. It enables companies of all sizes all around the world working in the areas of mining, processing, smelting and refining to certify the ESG-compliance of their facilities (e.g. mine sites) or sequence of operations (e.g. mine site and processing plant) for all mineral raw materials. The well-structured step-by-step approach prevents an overburdening in the process while still fulfilling all ESG requirements.

“The CPS enables mining companies of all sizes to receive a clear route to meeting the sustainability requirements of international markets. Being certified according to CPS contributes to the long-term profitability and competitiveness of the company in the raw materials sector through making it a trustworthy business partner who demonstrates responsibility” confirms Dr. Andreas Hucke, TIC-Manager CERA 4in1, TÜV NORD CERT.

The impact of the CPS has already been tested in practice. A major German car manufacturer has already carried out a comprehensive sustainability audit in accordance with the first standard, the CERA 4in1 Performance Standard in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as a pilot project finalized in 2023 in collaboration with a cobalt mining company. In another successful pilot, the mutual recognition of a national ESG standard with the international CERA 4in1 standards was successfully trialed as part of a pilot project with the Spanish holding company ICL Iberia. This means that national producers can also use CERA 4in1 to fulfil international sustainability requirements and expand their markets.

What is CERA 4in1?

CERA 4in1 is the first and so far only certification concept that provides proof of ESG-compliance along the entire value chain: from exploration through extraction and processing up to the final products. The four-step solution with its integrated standards, the Readiness Standard (CRS), the Performance Standard (CPS), the Chain of Custody Standard (CCS), and the Final Product Standard (CFS) has big advantages: It targets all kind of minerals, everywhere in the world and is applicable to companies of all sizes.

Sandra Gerhartz, Managing Director, TÜV NORD CERT, explains the current market situation: “Sustainability certifications in the raw materials sector are extremely complex and often vary significantly. To enable transparency all the way to the end user, we need a smart and streamlined certification process to reliably measure ESG compliance and certify accordingly. CERA 4in1 is the first worldwide certification concept that covers all minerals along the entire value chain up to the final product.”

Considering the shortcomings of existing certificates covering only parts of the value chain or certain raw materials and thus creating a confusing, complex and fragmented market situation, the universal approach of CERA 4in1 simplifies the certification process, reduces complexity and brings transparency and reliability to the raw materials sector.

Today’s launch of the CPS marks the beginning of a transition in the raw materials sector that will create sustainable and secure supply chains for the future. From now on, companies from the areas of mining, processing, smelting, and refining have an easy to manage process to certify the sustainability of their production sites. The entire CERA 4in1 system will also enable every other company working with raw materials to certify sustainable processes. It has the potential to shape a better future by enhancing transparency, building trust, contributing to environmental and social goals, and thus helping to establish responsible business practices.

At the same time, CPS and CERA 4in1 help companies to minimize ESG-risks. They stay competitive in an agile market, increase their attractiveness for partners, clients and investors, operate within new legislative contexts and obtain and maintain the social license to operate.

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