Commonwealth Chemistry COP26 Statement on Sustainability and Critical Raw Materials

Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) are materials that are of strategic importance to an economy. At the same time, they also have a high risk linked to their supply. CRMs are heavily relied upon by the energy, healthcare, aerospace, information communication technology (ITC) and consumer electronics sectors. They are crucially also key to many technologies that will enable us to cut emissions and decarbonise our economies.

The Commonwealth Chemistry Executive Board recognises that greater reuse of critical raw materials will help meet the increased demand and reduce reliance on new extraction of CRMs. The chemical sciences will be key – alongside other disciplines – to these efforts. There is an opportunity for chemical scientists across the Commonwealth to address the challenges posed by climate change, addressing one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and the current global reliance on CRMs. Both by developing innovative localised solutions that address environmental concerns and energy needs, and by contributing to a greener, more circular global economy.

As representatives of Commonwealth Chemistry, we think this is important to speak as one on this issue. Therefore the Commonwealth Chemistry Executive Board endorsed this statement at its meeting in November 2021.  We encourage Commonwealth Chemistry members to use this statement within their own nations and in international dialogue as they wish.