Raw materials and advanced materials are key enablers for Europe’s twin transition towards climate neutrality and digital leadership

The European Commission launched its new Industrial Strategy to position itself as the leading industrial competitor on a global scale. This fundamental industrial transformation will lead to a greener, more circular and more digital Europe. EIT RawMaterials is an essential driver of this strategy and will actively contribute to its implementation with its innovation capacity, education programs, and start-up investment schemes.

Minerals, metals and advanced materials are the key enablers for the transition to the green energy and the zero-waste economy. With the transition of Europe’s industry to climate-neutrality, demand for raw materials is projected to double by 2050, making sustainable sourcing essential to increase Europe’s supply security. Critical raw materials are also crucial for markets such as e-mobility, batteries, renewable energies, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, defence and digital applications. Europe, however, is highly dependent on importing non-fuel, non-agricultural raw materials crucial for this transition.

Europe’s industry is the motor of growth and prosperity in Europe. And it is at its best when it draws on what makes it strong: its people and their ideas, talents, diversity and entrepreneurial spirit.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

My full support for a Critical Raw Materials Action Plan and Alliance, envisaged by the industrial strategy. We cannot replace the reliance on fossil fuels by the raw materials one.

Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission Vice-President for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight. Coordinating the EU Battery Alliance

Supporting strategic innovation to revitalise Europe’s global leadership

Technology-driven innovation with its increasing demand for strategic minerals and metals, combined with Europe’s high import dependency highlights the need to take action and to address strategic issues such as criticality, global supply, resource and energy efficiency and economic development.

European equipment and technology companies, start-ups and researchers are world leaders in the raw materials sector. Building on these existing strengths in industry, research, innovation and infrastructure is the key to unlock the potential for a renewed minerals and metals sector in Europe as a driver for domestic value chains.

By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources – to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

UN, The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Raw materials for a climate-neutral Europe

The EU Green Deal recognises and highlights the strategic importance of securing the supply of clean and affordable energy and raw materials to fulfil its ambition to become climate-neutral by 2050.

One of the innovation projects supported by EIT RawMaterials, ‘CERA’ offers a new certification scheme for the sustainable supply of raw materials based on blockchain technology. EIT RawMaterials brings together key industry actors from the up- and down-stream to develop new diversified sourcing strategies for raw materials that are critical for new applications in the green economy.

A radical shift is required from linear to circular thinking

End-of-life products must be considered as a resource for another cycle, while losses and stocks of unused materials must be minimised and valorised along the value chain. The successful transition to the circular economy at the global scale depends on the reliable and sustainable supply and management of raw materials.

EIT RawMaterials supports the shift from linear to circular economy with its Circular Societies Lighthouse. The Lighthouse program will raise the public’s awareness of the benefits of closing material loops. New business models for resource-efficient cities and industries will be supported through innovation and education activities and the newly-launched ‘Raw Materials and Circular Societies Prize’.

EIT Community fostering synergies and connecting European industrial ecosystems

At the core of EIT RawMaterials Innovation Community lies the EIT model of the knowledge triangle connecting leading industry, higher education, research and technology organisations from the entire raw materials value chain. The unique EIT RawMaterials innovation ecosystem brings key strengths and competencies to foster innovation and introduction of new technologies, products, services and skills for the future that will deliver increased economic, environmental and social sustainability to the European society.

The new Industrial Strategy will build on the successful template of industrial alliances. EIT RawMaterials supports new forms of collaboration with industry in strategic value chains such as the EIP on Raw Materials, the European Battery Alliance and other EU initiatives. Collaboration across Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) will further trigger reaching the EU ambitions for sustainability.

A New Industrial Strategy for Europe
Factsheet: A new Industrial Strategy for a globally competitive, green and digital Europe