Evaluating sustainability impacts of critical mineral extractions: Integration of life cycle sustainability assessment and SDGs frameworks

Datu Buyung Agusdinata, Wenjuan Liu, Sinta Sulistyo, Philippe LeBillon, Je'anne Wegner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The extraction of critical minerals used in clean technologies has profound impacts on sustainable development goals (SDGs). Life cycle sustainability assessment (LCSA) is used to evaluate the sustainability impacts of products and services, but few frameworks exist to support SDGs assessment for the “green minerals” extraction. Here, we propose a mining-specific framework identifying linkages between LCSA and SDGs, along with a process to integrate methods and data. As a proof of concept, we assess the LCSA performance and local-community level SDG impacts of a nickel mining project in Indonesia. Integrating remote sensing, media sources, stakeholder's data, and expert opinion, we find that LCSA encompasses all 17 goals but only a subset of targets and indicators. The study highlights the need to incorporate indigenous people's perspectives in both LCSA and SDG assessments, and points to priority areas for improving life cycle sustainability and SDG outcomes: fighting corruption, protecting cultural heritage, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We suggest that this framework can inform corporate social responsibility activities, as well as consumer choices for low-carbon technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Industrial Ecology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • industrial ecology
  • metals
  • mining
  • sustainability assessment
  • sustainable development
  • sustainable resource extraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

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