As of October 31, 2022, the RMI is sharing reminders and updates with members, auditees, stakeholders, and partners regarding RMAP-recognized upstream mechanisms, including the following:
- RMAP has an established, published process for recognizing upstream systems;
- RMAP auditees may source responsibly from a CAHRA and successfully pass an RMAP audit with or without the use of an RMAP-recognized upstream system, and the RMI has technical and financial resources available to support auditees with upstream due diligence;
- As of October 31, 2022, RMAP recognizes two systems (Better Mining and CRAFT) and welcomes applications from systems demonstrating OECD-aligned upstream due diligence; and
- Given ITSCI’s recognition status change, the RMI will provide RMAP auditees utilizing ITSCI a transition period to update their approach to meet RMAP enhanced due diligence requirements.
Please see below for more detailed information.
Background: RMAP has an established, published process for recognizing upstream systems.
The RMI’s Responsible Minerals Assurance Process (RMAP) program in alignment with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance sets out an expectation that companies are responsible for their own supply chain due diligence. To fulfill this responsibility, RMAP auditees may conduct that due diligence independently or seek support of an upstream system for due diligence.
The RMI has an established, published process for recognizing upstream systems, which has been documented in writing and in place since 2019 (available online). RMAP offers this recognition process as a means of support to smelters and refiners using an upstream system to assist with their due diligence, especially for the enhanced due diligence steps required in the RMAP standard for sourcing from conflict-affected or high-risk areas (CAHRAs). RMAP must also have this documented process to fulfill the RMI’s own OECD alignment obligations. For example, RMAP’s upstream recognition procedure was required as part of RMI’s application to the European Union for RMAP recognition as a program to help companies meet due diligence obligations under the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation.
Upstream systems which wish to be recognized by RMAP must apply following the published process; if meeting the requirements, the RMAP procedure describes an initial recognition term of three years. After this three-year period, a recognized system must undertake another independent OECD alignment assessment and reapply; if a system again fulfills requirements, the subsequent recognition period is five years.
RMAP auditees may source responsibly from a CAHRA and successfully pass an RMAP audit with or without the use of an RMAP-recognized upstream system, and the RMI has technical and financial resources available to support auditees with upstream due diligence.
RMAP auditees may fulfill RMAP standard requirements for enhanced due diligence for CAHRA sourcing in the following ways:
- using an RMAP-recognized system and demonstrating appropriate use of this system to the auditor;
- gathering, reviewing, and validating or addressing gaps in data from a service provider or an upstream system, regardless of RMAP recognition status (i.e., presenting an auditor with not only results of KYC or site assessments provided by a third-party provider or system, but with backup documentation which supports these results); or
- gathering this data directly (e.g., via mine site and upstream supplier outreach and visits, and chain of custody review by auditee’s qualified personnel).
The RMI Upstream Due Diligence Fund was established to offset the costs of upstream assessments in CAHRAs for auditees not using a recognized system. For example, an auditee can apply to the RMI for funds to support upstream due diligence including KYC, site assessments, and chain of custody. For more information about the RMI’s Upstream Due Diligence Fund and how to apply, please visit the Audit and Upstream Due Diligence Fund Page on the RMI website.
The RMI is committed to continue supporting all RMAP auditees in their audit process, including providing both technical and financial assistance for enhanced due diligence when sourcing from CAHRAs. To request free technical assistance, please contact the RMI at RMITechnicalAssistance@responsiblebusiness.org.
The RMI is also open to collaboration with industry groups and associations for other options to support responsible CAHRA sourcing.
October 31, 2022 Status: RMAP recognizes two systems and welcomes applications from systems demonstrating OECD-aligned upstream due diligence.
The RMI does not take a position on auditees’ use of any specific system but shares a list of recognized upstream systems on our website’s Upstream Assurance Mechanism webpage. As of October 31, 2022, the RMI recognizes two upstream systems:
- Better Mining (fully OECD-aligned and RMI Level 1 recognition)
- CRAFT (standard-only partial recognition, Level 2).
The RMAP previously recognized ITSCI as an upstream mechanism that can support in part the RMAP auditee enhanced due diligence requirements in the African Great Lakes Region, where ITSCI operates. RMI based this recognition on a 2018 OECD alignment assessment of the ITSCI system, with a validity period of three years and a courtesy extension. Per the timeline in RMI’s draft upstream recognition process shared with ITSCI prior to publication, subsequently published and available on RMI’s website, and bilateral RMI-ITSCI communications since 2019, the initial recognition period for ITSCI has passed, without ITSCI’s affirmative response to the RMI’s invitations to reapply. The RMI acknowledges upstream programs’ choice about whether to engage in RMAP recognition and has updated the list of recognized upstream mechanisms to reflect this status.
The RMI remains ready to work with any system which considers itself a program supporting smelter/refiner upstream due diligence or chain of custody, which expresses interest in RMAP recognition, and which demonstrates OECD DDG alignment in an application for RMAP recognition.
The RMI will provide RMAP auditees utilizing ITSCI a transition period to update their approach to meet RMAP enhanced due diligence requirements.
To support auditees’ continued responsible CAHRA sourcing and continuous improvement in due diligence through the ITSCI recognition status change, the RMI is offering a transitional approach.
The RMI is providing this advanced notification of change in ITSCI recognition status so auditees may assess and update due diligence approaches, as needed, and prepare for future audits. There will be no change to current conformant status of RMAP auditees based on past audits, and no change to assessments for the remainder of 2022. RMAP auditees sourcing from the African Great Lakes Region may still choose to use ITSCI, or any system or third-party, while taking note of requirements and effective dates below.
ITSCI’s status change will take effect for RMAP auditees utilizing ITSCI starting on January 1, 2023, with a six-month continual improvement grace period, per established RMAP process for programmatic changes. That is, for RMAP audits between January 1, 2023, and June 30, 2023, RMAP auditees which utilize ITSCI and do not share direct data/evidence with an auditor on the four below requirements will be classified as "conform with continual improvement" for findings:
- KYC for upstream actors in high-risk supply chains
- Supply chain risk assessment and mitigation
- On-the-ground site assessments
- Traceability or chain of custody from mine to export or smelter in high-risk areas
From July 1, 2023, if there is no change to ITSCI’s RMAP recognition status, auditees which use ITSCI and do not provide direct evidence of enhanced due diligence on the above four areas to an RMAP auditor will be cited as non-conformant, in line with RMAP standard requirements.
The RMI looks forward to working with members, auditees, stakeholders, and other industry and non-industry partners to support our shared objectives of enabling responsible sourcing from conflict-affected and high-risk areas, and to continuous improvement in due diligence programs.