While demand for secondary metals is predicted to overtake primary metals within the next 20 years, and with 400 million tonnes of metal recycled annually, there is still no globally recognized, standardized authentication process to verify the origin of recycled metal and track its use through the supply chain.
This can prevent companies from accurately accounting environmental impact in their ESG reporting, and with the European Union (EU) corporate sustainability reporting directive taking effect in 2024, nearly 50,000 companies subject to mandatory sustainability reporting, including non-EU companies with subsidiaries operating within the EU or are listed on EU regulated markets – could be staring straight into a blind spot.
London and Chicago-based trading platform Orbex, recognizing this gap in the market, launched in May the world’s first marketplace for globally recognized authenticated recycled metals.
To do this, Orbex partnered in an open-source initiative with the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), a global independent non-profit standards body and developer of the original XML code.
“The platforms are built; the technology is built. And what we’re doing is convening the standards, we’re starting off with the number one attribute we’re focused on – the certificate of origin,” Orbex CEO Thomas Buchar told MINING.com.
The venture was built in partnership with SA recycling, which has 125 locations – the largest network of scrap metal facilities in the United States – and is one of the world’s largest recyclers.
“We look at environmental commodities, most relate that to carbon credits, and then the up and coming biodiversity credits, and we took lessons from that — you’ve got a lot of pricing vulnerability, because there’s no global standards that are really applied,” Buchar said.
The Orbex marketplace began by looking at what the big holes are and engaged with a multinational bank that was putting together an ESG rating platform, which included scope three strict compliance issues, Buchar said.
“We believe that the carbon markets are so volatile because nobody started with asking how are you going to recognize carbon credits? How are we going to standardize this?”
“How do you follow through the entire value chain when it comes to recycled commodities or environmental commodities, and then that enhances the brand accountability? We’re playing consumer advocate. We’re also playing corporate advocate — we’re eliminating greenwashing. We’re bringing supply chain integrity to the system,” he said.
Orbex is developing its own lexicon of who or what should qualify as an authenticated recycled commodity, or recycled commodity originator and will provide them with a certificate of origin to achieve proof of provenance for mined products.
Buchar said that with its proprietary authentication and traceability programs, the platform provides the mining community with independent verification of ESG attestations, giving global stakeholders more confidence in their claims.
Specifically for the mining industry, ESG data such as fair labor, land and water use, biodiversity, GHG emissions and sustainability reporting, alternative energy sources used during processing and corporate governance claims can all be reported, tracked, and traced along with their materials, downstream through their customers’ entire supply chains.
“It’s a matter of organizing the market, bringing more transparency to the market, but also providing additional tools, such as a proof of provenance -certificate of origin that is going to be able to follow that throughout the entire value chain and make it much easier for companies to keep track of their specific claims, reporting of GHG emissions, coming into compliance with the EU corporate sustainability reporting directive,” Buchar said.
“We saw a huge opportunity because the voluntary carbon market currently is $2 billion dollars — secondary metals market is almost $500 billion — it wasn’t hard to figure out that this is a much larger addressable market, a market that needs structure brought to it,” he said.
“Orbex is driving needed change by bringing globally recognized standardization to an enormous market which until now has sat untapped and unimpeded… the first piece of critical trading infrastructure.”