Advancing responsible sourcing
in mineral value chains

EEE Sector

The Electronics sector is one of the largest industries in the world, with approximately 18 million workers who produce 20% of global imports in electronics products. In 2022, the revenue of the European consumer electronics market amounted to around € 186.7 bn. The European semiconductor Industry Association (ESIA) announced that yearly semiconductor sales in the European market reached the record figure of US$ 53.809bn (€ 47.88 bn) in 2022.

Project outputs in the electronics sector

Presentation: Click through our roadmap to learn about key recommendations (September 2023, online; download here)

Roadmap for Responsible Sourcing for the Electronics Sector (July 2023)

Good Practice Guidelines for the Electronics Sector (July 2023)

State of Play and Roadmap Concepts: Electronics (December 2021)

What challenges are we considering?

Sub-standard working conditions and human rights violations are pervasive along the production value chain in the EEE sector, including low wages, exposure to toxic chemicals, negative environmental impacts, health & safety risks, child labour and forced labour, indigenous people’s rights, intimidation, to name a few.

The risks that are specific to the supply chain of 3T from conflict and high-risk areas and include lack of implementation of Artisanal mining zones; Child labour; Unfair compensation and Corruption. Mica in particular is associated with dire working conditions in mines.

Given the prevailing risks that arise in this sector, related to the nature of the industrial work undertaken, how can responsible sourcing practices be implemented and verified across the supply chain?

What segments of the value chain are we engaging?

Given the width and depth of actors in the EEE sector, the research team will be considering: End-users; Smelters/refineries; Component & Product Manufacturers and Mining companies within the EEE value chain.

What questions are we asking?

The research team will have a strong focus on solutions favouring reducing the material and energy throughput that goes into consumption and production, including material efficiency and recycling rather than focusing on mining virgin raw materials.

What minerals are we studying?

The research team will be focusing on:

Standards & Sustainability

There are a plethora of RS standards, guidelines and process that are being used to address identified RS challenges for the renewable energy sector. These existing standards and sustainability schemes, particularly for the mining sector are very comprehensive, but do not contain measures for all the problems that exist in the sector. However, it is acknowledged that difficult for one standard to cover all challenges. This page provides a summary of the more commonly found standards.

For a description of these standards and initiatives, see Existing Approaches. For a more detailed overview on the different standards and initiatives, see Chapter 3 of the State of Play & Roadmap Concepts: Electronics Sector.


The mining sector has been the focus of many initiatives and voluntary standards to improve production practices and impacts caused by mining operations, including respect for human rights, prevention of conflicts, stakeholder management, or environmental protection.

Sustainability schemes and standards considered by RE-SOURCING Project, specifically for the mining stage include IRMA, ICMM, EITI, IFC EHS for Mining, ARM, Natural Resource Charter, World Bank Climate-smart mining, OECD Meaningful Stakeholder Engagement, GRI, EBRD and TSM.

For more details on these standards, see Chapter 3 of the State of Play & Roadmap Concepts: Electronics Sector.


The manufacturing of products of the electronics sector currently lack in international frameworks for EHS. Available standards consider the quality and technical specifications of the equipment, performance measurements and test procedures, monitoring and controlling systems, as well as design requirements.

For more details on these standards, see Chapter 3 of the State of Play & Roadmap Concepts: Electronics Sector.

Brands and end users

The EU’s WEEE Directive (Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment) sets out rules for the treatment of waste from electrical and electronic equipment, to contribute to sustainable production and consumption. Furthermore, there are voluntary standards as the Responsible Recycling (R2) standard for electronics recyclers, devloped by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the e-Stewards standards, developed by the Basel Action Network.

For more details on these standards, see Chapter 3 of the State of Play & Roadmap Concepts: Electronics Sector.