Policy Recommendations for a Sustainable Copper Supply Chain: A Chinese perspective

By Jason Potts, Jason Potts, Fushan Shang, Bo Zhao, Shaofu Duan, Zunbo Zhou, Martin Streicher-Porte, John Atherton on June 13, 2011

As the world's most important importer of copper ore, and the single most important producer of refined copper and key copper-based products, China fulfills a unique role in the global copper supply chain.

China has already made rapid advances in reducing the environmental impacts of its primary production, resulting in average impacts that are less than the world average and less than most of the countries exporting primary copper to China. Notwithstanding Chinese leadership in creating sustainable primary production, there are important opportunities to carry this learning and technological capacity to the rest of the supply chain.On the one hand, Chinese buyers and manufacturers have the capacity to establish benchmarks for production from their supply base. On the other hand, with its growing refining, smelting and manufacturing capacity, China bears a growing responsibility to ensure that its processing and manufacturing activities are applied in accordance with the core principles of sustainable development. Finally, China's importance in copper recycling presents some of the most important gains for improving the sustainability impacts of the copper supply chain. With this in mind, the Global Copper Markets project has identified opportunities for action by the Chinese Government.

Publication details

Standards and Value Chains
Focus area
SECO, 2011