Critical Raw Materials: Managing Resources for a Sustainable Future

The availability of critical raw materials (CRMs) is under massive pressure. However, these materials are essential for products, technologies and solutions to some of the world’s most crucial issues – such as the energy transition. The small numbers of suppliers, price volatility, environmental damage from mining, and costly time- and energy-consuming extraction processes are just a few of the many associated challenges. Addressing the criticality of raw materials is one of the most complex sustainability challenges of our time. Just as renewables alone will not solve climate change, recycling cannot be the only solution to deal with the increasing use of these materials. The transition to a raw materials-intensive economy calls for a systems-thinking approach and the involvement of businesses, governments and society at large. This course provides a systemic understanding of CRMs and equips you with tools and strategies for managing them in a sustainable way. The course covers the entire raw materials’ value chain, which will help you see what actions can be taken at every stage and how you can make informed decisions, and contribute to and benefit from a more sustainable approach to CRMs, regardless of your professional or academic background. Key topics include access to raw materials, environmental and social impacts, geopolitical factors, market dynamics, economics, supply chains, global trends in CRM use, and resource efficiency. You can choose from three different tracks that cover possible solutions from a technical, business or policy perspective. These range from supply risk mitigation, exploration, urban mining and substitution to circularity strategies, business models, responsible sourcing and certification. This course also introduces you to experts, start-ups and projects in the field and inspires you to tackle problems with concrete initiatives. Get funding for your own creative solution After sharing examples of successful business ideas for a more sustainable management of CRMs, you will be able to submit your own project proposal to EIT RawMaterials and enter a competition to receive funding to further pursue your innovation idea!

Created by: Delft University of Technology

Level: Intermediate

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