Mn Sustainability Programme
The International Manganese Institute (IMnI) is at an exciting and critical stage in developing a sustainability programme. Contracted to Hatch, the Toronto consulting firm, the programme will be instituted in a timely manner in order to fit within the IMnI 5 year plan with the active participation of IMnI members. IMnI strongly believes that a shared understanding of sustainability will be achieved and responsible business practices will be ensured through implementation of the sustainability programme.
Hatch has conducted a desktop review of the landscape of sustainability relevant to our industry. The review consisted of two parallel efforts, one was to benchmark IMnI against other metals industry associations, and the second was a high level regulatory review.
The data for the benchmarking exercise was collected through a series of interviews with a number of preselected industry associations. The industry associations contacted were: the European Aluminium Association (EAA), the International Copper Association (ICA), the International Zinc Association (IZA), the International Chromium Development Association (ICDA), worldsteel (formerly IISI), the Nickel Institute (NI) and the International Manganese Institute (IMnI). The benchmark study evaluated associations’ key performance indicators in environment, health & safety, sustainability, and preparedness for future issues in these areas. Meanwhile, the regulatory review looked at many aspects starting with overall regulatory limits from various countries globally, followed by a review of papers issued by government research bodies and technical committees.
The results of this double exercise were presented to members of the OHES Committee at the “Manganese Sustainability Workshop», held in early 2009, in Paris to gain insight and feedback for their involvement in implementing the sustainability programme. Hatch emphasised that their initial findings were to serve as guidance on areas of improvement.
At the end of the workshop, Hatch recommended that for IMnI to focus on its member’s sustainability needs, partnership with ”world steel” is encouraged because the sustainability of Mn is dependent on applications in steel. An understanding of recycling for steel and Mn’s role in ensuring proper recycling is vital and other emerging applications such as hybrid vehicles, Lithium-ion Mn batteries are to be explored. The discussions in this preparatory work shop as well as Hatch’s recommendations were taken to the Board. After a series of debates, the Board expressed the view that to achieve a complete sustainability program, a benchmarking exercise amongst Board member companies was necessary. Topics of interest for the Board ranged from sharing best practices on cost savings, setting guidelines or standards on industry practices, and conducting an industry average life-cycle analysis.
Five Board member companies were benchmarked (questionnaire and a follow-up phone interview). Questions ranged from Membership, Representation & The role of IMnI; Communication; Laws & Regulatory Preparedness; Climate Change & Power; Mn Processing; Product Stewardship; Life Cycle Assessment and Recycling. Findings were presented in a focused Board workshop in June 09
After an intense and long debate on the top ranking risks and opportunities for the manganese industry, the Board members unanimously agreed on conducting a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Mn. This was defined as a cradle to customer gate LCA for the Mn Industry (mine through Mn alloys to gate of steel producer). Preliminary indicators have been identified, and a leadership team established. The detailed scope has been completed.