World Resources Forum 2021

Green Deal for Sustainable Resources

Oct 8, 2021 | MATHIAS SCHLUEP, WRF

What role do transparency and technology play in promoting a sustainable trade in natural resources? Is green mining a myth or can it become reality? These and other questions are the focus of an event organized by the World Resources Forum (WRF) on Wednesday, 13 October 2021, at the Empa Academy in Dübendorf. The event is part of a global conference under the topic "A Green Deal for Sustainable Resources". Experts from industry, academia, civil society and politics will shed light on the role of the raw materials sector in a shift towards a green, equitable and sustainable economy.

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Gold: MIning in the open pit. Image: Unsplashed
Given the ever-increasing demand for raw materials, a common policy for the sustainable use of natural resources is more urgent than ever. Based on the various environmental, social and economic challenges, political initiatives such as the European Green Deal are striving for international solutions for a sustainable resource policy. To this end, the inclusion of the raw materials sector is essential.
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A sand mine from the bird's eye view. Image: Unsplashed

International commodity markets influence the economic growth of resource-rich economies and ensure the supply of raw materials for the global economy. But what roles do commodity trading and the financial sector play? Increasingly, there are calls for greater transparency and sustainability in commodity-related financial transactions and trade chains. Martin Bardenhewer from Zürcher Kantonalbank (ZKB), Diana Culillas, head of the Swiss Better Gold Association, Gediminas Mikutis from the startup Haelixa AG and Florence Schurch from the Swiss Trading and Shipping Association discuss this topic.

The extractive industry has made progress in the environmental, social and governance areas. But even here, the big tasks for a transition to a sustainable sector have not yet been solved. Gerard Bos of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Rohitesh Dhawan of the International Council on Mining and Metals, Irina Bakhtina of the Russian aluminum group RUSAL, Markus Nöthiger of Enemco and Helene Piaget of the Responsible Mining Foundation will debate the question of whether the vision of green mining can be fully implemented in practice.

The WRF conference will be held in a hybrid format this year, with a three-day online conference and two physical live events in Switzerland and Ghana. Divided into the themes of primary and secondary raw materials and circular economy, the program features several plenary debates, 15 workshops and 80 scientific presentations. Over the three days, more than 800 participants from all continents are expected to attend.

WRF 2021 is supported by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Empa and the ETH Board, and collaborates with the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) in Ghana. The online conference will be opened by Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga, Ghanaian Minister of Environment Kwaku Afriyie, and Inger Andersen, Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

About the World Resources Forum (WRF)

The World Resources Forum (WRF) is a science-based platform for knowledge exchange on economic, political, social and environmental impacts of global resource use, based in St. Gallen, Switzerland. WRF promotes innovation to increase resource productivity by building bridges between researchers, policy makers, businesses, SMEs, NGOs and the public. WRF conferences are widely recognized for their global and multidisciplinary nature. They bring together ideas from around the world and provide a platform for international stakeholders to exchange ideas. Previous WRF conferences have been held in Geneva, Davos, Antwerp, San Jose, Sydney, Arequipa and Beijing. In addition to its conference, WRF is engaged with its international partners in sustainable resource management projects and development cooperation initiatives.

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