Welcome to the Non-Ferrous Metals and their Contribution to Sustainable Development Web Site.

Recognising the important contribution that non-ferrous metals can make to the overall sustainable development of society, the member countries of the International Copper Study Group, International Lead and Zinc Study Group, and the International Nickel Study Group initiated a multi-stakeholder process in 1999 to address issues related to the mining, production, use and recycling of non-ferrous metals. This web site contains information related to the Non-ferrous Metals Consultative Forum on Sustainable Development and its Working Groups and provides information on the activities of the future collective work by the members of the three international metal study groups.

Consultative Forum Vision Statement

"Non-ferrous metals are an integral component of our everyday life, both now and for the future. To ensure that the benefits generated today by the activities of the non-ferrous sector are secured for future generations whilst avoiding adverse environmental and social impacts, decisions regarding the production, use, recycling and disposal of non-ferrous metals must integrate economic, environmental and social considerations. The member countriesof the International Copper Study Group, International Lead & Zinc Study Group and the International Nickel Study Group, through their Non-Ferrous Consultative Forum, seek to promote policies and practices that are consistent with sustainable development principles and will enhance the contribution non-ferrous metals make to society."

The Non Ferrous Metals Consultative Forum on Sustainable Development, which comprises member countries of International Copper Study Group, the International Lead and Zinc Study Group, and the International Nickel Study Group, other interested countries, industry, international organisations, and non-government organisations including civil society, has a common vision for the future in which:

  • The activities related to the production, processing, use and recycling of non-ferrous metals bring genuine, lasting and equitable benefits to local communities, other stakeholders and, more broadly, society's quality of life;

  • The non-ferrous metals industry is open, transparent, accountable and trusted;

  • The non-ferrous metals industry is aware of and responsive to social, environmental values at local, national and internationals levels;

  • All unreasonable or unmanageable risks from the production, transport, use and recycling of non-ferrous metals are eliminated;

  • Long-term strategic plans are in place and agreed to by companies, relevant government agencies and other stakeholders aimed at sustaining local communities and restoring or enhancing environmental integrity after site or plant closure;

  • Barriers to recycling are minimised with closed loop systems established and non-ferrous-metal containing products are designed for recycling;

  • There is good governance nationally, regionally and globally within governments and industry that embraces economic, environmental and social considerations;

Issues and Challenges

As outlined in the Chairmen's summary of the Brussels meeting the Consultative Forum recognised that to achieve this vision some of the key issues and challenges that need to be addressed are:

Stewardship Programmes: Programmes need to be initiated to promote and demonstrate responsible management of processes and products throughout the life cycle of non-ferrous metals (from exploration, processing, use, through to recycling) along with exit strategies for mines and production sites.

Community Consultation and Involvement: Facilitation of broad and comprehensive community consultation and involvement in the decision-making process.

Promotion of Recycling: Opportunities for recycling of metal-bearing products should be increased through a number of measures e.g. transferring best practice in technology and collection infrastructures to developing countries.

Research and Development: Programmes to develop, share and communicate credible scientific research and data on metals in a timely manner to facilitate decision making by governments, industry and others, including risk assessment.

Open and Transparent Mechanisms to Improve Communication: Develop open and transparent mechanisms to improve international communication, consultation, and co-operation on cross-cutting issues relating to metals and sustainable development, particularly the balance between the social, economic and environmental aspects.

Information Development and Dissemination for Decision Making: Tracking and measuring performance and reporting on economic, environmental and social factors at all stages of metal processing from exploration, mining and production through to application, use, recycling and end of life.

The Consultative Forum's Response:

To achieve this vision for the future and to address the issues and challenges outlined above, the Consultative Forum established three multi-stakeholder-working groups. The groups have a mandate to bring together existing work, share information, identify gaps, and to rapidly initiate relevant activities related to the recommendations identified by the Forum for future action. The overall objective for each working group is to initiate actions of common interest to all the stakeholders, that will enhance the contribution non-ferrous metals make to sustainable development, and proceed as quickly as possible.


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International Copper Study Group International Lead and Zinc Study Group International Nickel Study Group