Davos, 14-16 October 2015: The SRI Roundtable has hold its first stakeholder workshop on sustainability criteria in secondary metals management. The ISO process, kicked off with 50 participants from 16 countries, develops Guidance Principles with the aim to influence the development of policies, regulations and frameworks on secondary resources management, related corporate codes of practice, and standards and certification schemes – in particular for the context of micro, small and medium enterprises and the informal sector in developing countries.


Laila Iskandar, former Egyptian Minister

Key recommendations to ensure sustainable practices in metal recycling included the definition and allocation of appropriate responsibilities to the key stakeholders along the secondary metal value chain. Constructive and intense discussions developed around the issue of informality in the recycling sector. Many votes pointed towards the importance of carefully decouple the state of formality from legality and the activity from the people who perform it. The need to gradually formalise the informal sector was seen as a constant target. However Laila Iskandar, former Egyptian minister of Urban Renewal and Informal Settlements and former minister of the Environment, clearly stated that “to preserve space for informality is of crucial importance, otherwise the most vulnerable people would drop out completely from any social protection”. Hence it was suggested that the guidance principles should strongly focus on building bridges between formal and informal activities. To do so it was also agreed that their inclusion in the development of the Guidance Principles is pivotal. Hence a local consultation process in SRI partner countries will be considered as early as beginning of 2016.

The ISO workshop is part of a process convened by the Sustainable Recycling Industries (SRI) Roundtable through the World Resources Forum (WRF), the Swiss Federal Institute for Material Science and Technology (Empa) and the Swiss Association for Standardisation (SNV) and is funded by the Swiss Secretary of Economic Affairs (SECO). This process supports SRI’s overall objective to promote the integration and participation of small and medium enterprises from developing and transition countries in the global recycling of secondary non renewable resources. It is held as an ISO International Workshop Agreement (IWA), and was organized back-to-back to the 2015 WRF Conference. ISO members, metals associations, recycling companies, Cleaner Production Centres, international NGOs and experts from research organizations and the academia were among the participants.

ISO-IWA-GroupOverall participants agreed that this is a unique opportunity to develop guidance on the sustainable management of secondary metals following a solid stakeholder consensus based approach. Based on feedback received during the 2 days of lively and fruitful discussions, a next draft of the Guidance Principles will be made available by the end of November 2015 to anybody interested in providing comments. Dates and venues of the public consultations and the next physical ISO IWA meeting in 2016 will be announced via our website.

Presentations of the workshop can be downloaded from our SRI website and photos are accessible via our Facebook page. If you are interested in joining the ISO IWA process, want to be informed on dates of our next events or just would like to know more about it please contact sri@wrforum.org