How better to account for your primary raw materials in your LCA
EIT RawMaterials supported innovation project SUPRIM stands for SUstainable management of PRIMary raw materials through a better approach in Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment. It is a three year-funded EIT RawMaterials project that will offer solutions and services to address impacts of resource use in sustainability assessments in the raw materials sector.
A better characterisation of raw materials used in lifecycle-based sustainability assessment is strategically important for the raw materials sector, as it brings the assessment of these material flows to a level sufficiently ready and reliable to be implemented in the market – for example, to complement the lists of Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) for the EU, Product Environmental Footprints, or Responsible Sourcing schemes.
On 22 October in Brussels, Belgium SUPRIM project will host the FINAL SUPRIM Conference on how better to account for your primary raw materials in your LCA. Join the conference and learn more about the final project results!
Identifying a consistent, empirically verifiable cause-and-effect chain linking flows of natural resources to sustainability impacts
The issues of resource availability and sustainability go hand in hand as major concerns for the future of raw materials in Europe. SUPRIM aims to identify a consistent, empirically verifiable cause-and-effect chain linking flows of natural resources to sustainability impacts.
The specific purpose of the SUPRIM project is to develop a method that can represent in LCA the transition towards more sustainable management of primary raw materials, and eventually a circular economy. To do so, there are several issues that need to be addressed. These include establishing agreement of how to define inefficient use of resources and development of an LCIA method to quantify it; creating an exemplary LCI dataset based on case studies; validation of the adapted LCIA method; and bringing this knowledge to a broader audience.
Who will benefit from SUPRIM?
Customers who benefit from this service include the primary production sector, sustainability managers and practitioners, policymakers and the sustainability assessment community.
For the primary production sector, this creates significant opportunities for improving and presenting progress in sustainable mining. Policymakers like the European Commission and its Joint Research Centre as well as national and regional governments need well-defined indicators to be able to monitor resource efficiency of products and the transition towards more sustainable resource use. This project helps to provide indicators that are based on an improved construction of datasets and methods.
For the sustainability assessment community, benefits will occur at two levels: at the inventory level, through the LCI datasets, and at impact level, through the LCIA method. The sustainability assessment community is, of course, interlinked with the academic community, where researchers and students can use the service provided by the project to perform their own sustainability studies. Sustainability managers and practitioners amongst the EIT RawMaterials Innovation Community will benefit from the service provided by this project in a similar way.
Developing raw materials into a major strength for Europe
Establishing a reliable assessment methodology together with guidance on data needs is perfectly in line with the key message of EIT RawMaterials and the first strategic objective of the Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) to secure raw materials supply. SUPRIM aims to serve the entire primary raw materials sector going beyond the partners involved in the project. This service will assist in the global transition towards more sustainable management of primary raw materials, overall transparency and performance of value-chains and hence will contribute to an enhanced appreciation for the SUstainable way that PRIMary raw materials are managed in Europe.
SUPRIM project consortium:
- Ghent University, Belgium (Lead Partner)
- Boliden Mineral AB, Sweden
- COBRE LAS CRUCES S.A., Spain
- European Association of Mining Industries, Metal Ores & Industrial Minerals (Euromines), Belgium
- Fundación Tecnalia Research & Innovation, Spain
- Leiden University, the Netherlands
- Luleå University of Technology (LTU), Sweden