Chemicals - Materials Energy - Environment - Mobility Cross-sector

Alcimed Position Paper – Industrial companies facing the supply of critical raw materials

Published on 16 December 2020 Read 25 min

Among all the major challenges faced by industrial companies, there is one that is often neglected and rarely mentioned, and yet can jeopardize the sustainability of their activities. This is their dependence on some raw materials whose supply can be critical.

Indeed, each activity, whether industrial or service, requires raw materials. These become critical when they are particularly at risk of shortages in supply in the short term or when their image with the general public is at risk. This is especially true if the raw materials play a major role in an industrial company’s activity.

Although they can be of different natures depending on the industrial activity considered, we have focused in this white paper on primary or secondary raw materials of a metallic or mineral type. These metals or minerals, present in the number of 86 in the periodic classification of elements in its standard form, have caught our interest for 4 main reasons:

  1. An increasing usage of new raw materials due to the energetic and digital transitions that are disrupting our needs and those of the industrial companies.
  2. Shortages will be observed in the mid-term due to the lack of resources or the image deficit associated with their extraction.
  3. Strong geopolitical stakes exist around metals and minerals.
  4. Metal extraction is a regular topic from an environmental and societal point of view.

For these different reasons, it is a subject of global interest, not only for industrial companies, but also for regions, countries or more widely.

Many questions are therefore raised for industrial companies:

  • What are the critical raw materials for their activity?
  • How to identify them?
  • How to evaluate their risks?
  • What methodology should be used for this assessment?
  • How to limit these risks?

In this position paper, we give some keys to answer these different questions.

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