The multi-metal supplier Aurubis AG is adopting “The Copper Mark” and is starting the approval process at its site in Bulgaria. Aurubis AG is listed on the stock exchange and is the largest copper producer in Europe and the largest copper recycler worldwide. Its headquarters is in Hamburg, Germany.
The Copper Mark is a new assurance framework in the copper industry, which assures that copper has been produced responsibly throughout the value chain. It was developed by the International Copper Association (ICA) with the cooperation of 25 companies, including Aurubis. An independent association was established at the end of 2019, and The Copper Mark was launched on March 30, 2020. Initially, mines and smelters can submit to evaluation on a voluntary basis in a multi-stage process up to cathode production. In a later step, processors throughout the value chain are assessed. The 32 sustainability criteria of the Risk Readiness Assessment of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) apply to such topics as compliance, child labor, environmental protection and occupational health and safety. The Copper Mark is based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“We stand completely behind The Copper Mark because it is consistent with our Company’s values of acting and working responsibly. In addition, expectations are growing in the political world, business community and society for being able to certify responsible production – including in the copper industry,” says Roland Harings, Chairman of the Executive Board of Aurubis AG. “While we fulfill the international standards that apply to gold and silver for the responsible production of raw materials, so far nothing comparable has existed for copper production. Therefore, The Copper Mark closes an important gap, and we hope that our participation has a cascading effect on the industry.”
Aurubis Bulgaria is now the Company’s first primary smelter to start the Copper Mark assessment process. Tim Kurth, Executive Director of Aurubis Bulgaria: “We are pleased about this initiative because our goal is to validate our sustainability performance, which is already good. With the Copper Mark we are now able to achieve this through an independent examination procedure.”
After signing the letter of commitment, the plant has six months to evaluate the criteria through self-assessment. Within 12 months of signing, the next step is an independent examination by external auditors, who upon fulfillment will authorize to carry the seal of approval. Possible gaps can be closed within another year before a Copper Mark re-assessment will be conducted every three years.
“The Copper Mark is voluntary, but for Aurubis participation has very specific positive benefits. For example, the London Metals Exchange, which is influential worldwide, requires sustainability standards for the metals traded there by the end of 2023,” elaborates Kirsten Kück, Sustainability Manager at Aurubis AG. “The Copper Mark also helps us with this process because the LME recognizes its criteria.”