The merits of responsibly sourced mica
As a naturally occurring mineral, Mica is a durable material that retains its form when exposed to high temperatures, electrical charges, and light and water. Due to its versatility and thermal resistance, it is used across various industries and in a range of products. In fact, almost every individual will use several products that contain Mica components before leaving the house in the morning.
We have spoken extensively about the properties of Mica, of which there are many! See our previous blog on ‘The Benefits of Mica’. However, due to the growing demand for Mica across developing countries and increased demands from the electrical and automotive industry, we are concerned that global regulations on mining such material will not mirror the pace of change.
The Responsible Mica Initiative
As a business, we collaborate closely with the Responsible Mica Initiative (RMI) that works tirelessly to ensure child labour and severely poor working conditions are eliminated. Although great strides have been taken, we’re entering a new wave of innovation and advancements in technology in the name of sustainability, specifically electric vehicles. This industry alone has grown exponentially over the last few years, which means the demand for mica has soared. Although a keen focus on sustainability is essential, we are concerned about what this means for those mining this mineral.
This issue is close to our hearts at Elmelin. We are grateful to see more and more OEMs like Volkswagen include various stipulations in bids and tenders around ethical supply chains and the sourcing of materials. However, this is a far more significant issue that needs to be dealt with at the source where child labour and human rights are being exploited. And this is where RMI’s work comes in, with support from Elmelin and other businesses across a range of sectors.
A three-pillar approach
RMI is implementing a ‘three-pillar’ approach to tackling the “mica belt” in India, where more than 25 per cent of the world’s Mica supply is sourced. The first pillar is around responsible workplace standards and ensuring that 100 per cent of the Mica supply chain is compliant with globally recognised workplace health, safety, and environmental standards. This, of course, prohibits the use of child labour.
The second pillar is about empowering the local communities and providing programs that will ensure higher wages and enable a higher standard of living. The third and final pillar is around legality and establishing an indisputable framework and control system that eradicates poor working conditions.
Evolving our relationship with mica
The evolution of Mica has been remarkable, and it will only continue to grow as the automotive industry advances with electric vehicle production. It is testimony to the sheer number of benefits Mica has as a raw material. Still, as a business, it is our responsibility to ensure that those working in the mines are treated fairly.
If you’d like to find out more about the incredible work the Responsible Mica Initiative is undertaking, head to their website.
If you want to learn more about our Mica products and how we ethically serve our customers, do not hesitate to get in touch.