IRMA’s Standard for Responsible Mining was created through an extensive, multi-year process, incorporating the views of mining companies, companies purchasing mined materials (e.g. jewelers, automakers and tech companies), nonprofit organizations, communities and labor unions. As such, it is based on best-practice requirements, while also being practicable.

Given the robust process behind IRMA’s creation and governance, governments can use IRMA’s Standard for Responsible Mining as a template for improving laws and regulations, particularly as it represents the views of diverse stakeholders. In this way, governments can be equally responsive to civil society as they are to business.

IRMA is careful to publicly state that its standard and voluntary assessment are meant to complement, not replace, laws and regulations. We agree with several in the civil society sector who correctly point out that voluntary initiatives should not delay or replace the adoption of improved laws. Indeed, strong regulations are critical in order to protect communities, the labor force, and the environment throughout the world.

Through our work on the Standard for Responsible Mining, we have set out the world’s first multi-stakeholder definition of what it means to implement responsible practices at the mine. We hope governments across the globe will draw upon this work to improve their expectations for the mining sector as well.