ASI Board Statement regarding Biodiversity and 2018 Work Activities
The ASI Board approved the launch of ASI’s Standards and Certification program for the aluminium value chain in December 2017. The launch sets the foundation for a voluntary initiative to certify the responsible production, sourcing and stewardship of this important industrial metal.
ASI’s Standards Committee oversaw public consultation processes in 2016 and 2017 to develop and finalise the draft Standards, supporting Guidance and Assurance Model, following ASI’s Standards Setting Procedure. A wide range of comments were received during the consultation, which were used to improve the draft Standards and Guidance.
The ASI Performance Standard sets good practice requirements for biodiversity assessment and management, mine site rehabilitation and no-go areas for exploration and the development of new mines in World Heritage Sites. However several topics relating to biodiversity did not reach consensus across all stakeholder groups and were flagged for further work starting in 2018. The Board recognises that there remain major concerns from some members about the adverse impacts of bauxite mining on biodiversity and ecosystem services as not being fully addressed in the Standard.
The two priorities for these members are: 1) to strengthen no-go requirements for mining and related activities in areas of high conservation value, and 2) to integrate the concept of ecosystem services in biodiversity assessment and management.
The Board wishes to address these concerns as soon as possible, and has therefore endorsed the multi-stakeholder consensus-building process on these topics to continue via the Standards Committee, and for the Committee to convene a Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services Working Group. The Working Group currently has 22 participants including independent biodiversity experts, representatives from ASI members and other organisations and had its first teleconference in February 2018. Regular teleconferences will continue to be convened in the lead up to a face to face meeting during ASI’s AGM Week in May 2018 in Perth, Australia. The ASI Indigenous Peoples Advisory Forum will meet in March 2018 in Suriname and also plans to contribute to these topics via participation of its representatives in the Working Group and Standards Committee.
The key expected outputs of the Working Group’s and Standards Committee’s work are: 1) a practical recommendation on the expansion of no-go areas and the integration of ecosystem services in the biodiversity management criteria, and 2) a proposed roadmap for change to the Standard, including public consultation processes as per ASI’s Standards Setting Procedure. The Board has requested a progress update in May 2018, following the AGM Week meetings, at which point it will be able to review the feasibility of reaching consensus on changes to the ASI Performance Standard and the likely timing of future revisions.
As part of their ongoing work program, the Standards Committee and related Working Groups will also continue to focus on key topics such as climate change, material recycling, and human rights, to prepare for future revisions of ASI Standards and Guidance and to support peer learning. Please contact the ASI Secretariat if you are interested in being involved with any ASI Working Group activities.
26 February 2018