By Arpita Bisht
Of all natural resources, mineral aggregates (sand and gravel) have been the fastest growing and most extracted material group over the 21st century. This growth has not only been associated with large-scale ecological degradation, but also with violent extractive operations on local levels.
Given that sand and gravel are heavily used in the construction industry, particularly in concrete production, it comes as no surprise that the growth of infrastructure is the main driver for the overall rise in their consumption. What’s more, since 1970, increasing aggregate consumption has largely been observed in the global South—in regions which have witnessed massive economic and infrastructure growth. Continue reading “Sand and gravel: Rethinking aggregate consumption and distribution”
By Karin Küblböck
On 1 January 2021 the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation entered into force. From now on, companies importing certain minerals into the EU must ensure that their sourcing practices do not contribute to conflict and human rights abuses. The regulation therefore introduces for the first time mandatory human rights due diligence for companies in the EU. In its current version, the scope of the regulation is extremely limited. Nevertheless, its implementation can provide important lessons for the upcoming comprehensive EU due diligence legislation. Continue reading “The EU Conflict Minerals Regulation – a trial run for responsible sourcing of raw materials?”
By Christian Dorninger, Anke Schaffartzik, and Hanspeter Wieland
Through international trade, richer countries do not merely generate a monetary trade surplus, but also appropriate international resources and labour from poorer countries. While this allows high consumption standards, economic growth, and the simultaneous protection of domestic natural resources in some countries, more land for mining and agriculture for exports is being extracted from the local economies in others. As a result, this makes a socially-ecologically sustainable development impossible. Our research team was now able to prove that ecologically unequal exchange was a persistent feature of the global economy from 1990 to 2015. Using environmentally-extended multi-regional input-output modelling, we investigated these structural inequalities in international trade. Continue reading “Trade Reproduces International Inequalities”