Interview with the EPRM's new chair: Leah Butler (RMI)

    Susi Huisman
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    By Susi Huisman in the group Redactie EPRM 220 days ago
    Interview with the EPRM's new chair: Leah Butler (RMI)

    Let us introduce you to our new chair: Leah Butler of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI). At the beginning of 2018 the EPRM chair rotated. Leah is the successor of Dirk Jan Koch, of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    Why did you volunteer to become the new Chair of EPRM?

    I volunteered to become EPRM Chair to further strengthen connections between like-minded organizations and to identify and act on shared goals. Identifying areas of alignment and complementarities between US, EU, and other systems is important to ensuring the sustainability, efficiency, and continued evolution of these systems.  Serving as Chair also provides an opportunity to facilitate dialogue with industry leaders on the global context for due diligence and what this means in practice for the EPRM.”  

    What are the main successes of EPRM so far in your opinion?

    “From a governance and organizational point of view, 2016 and 2017 were busy years for the EPRM. We successfully supported seven upstream projects in line with our vision to create better social and economic conditions for mine workers and local mining communities. Moreover, we developed and stabilized a truly multi-stakeholder governing board and membership. And we initiated a number of focused projects and working groups aimed a further developing the EPRM’s value proposition, defining EPRM’s scope, and mapping out EPRM’s role increasing access to effective due diligence resources and information to EU-based stakeholders in preparation for the EU Regulation.”

    What is your goal for 2019?

    For the 2019 calendar year, we aim to increase the linkages and scale of EPRM-funded projects to maximize their impact and sustainability, develop a system to monitor the progress of selected projects, and build out a knowledge platform that educates and supports EU-based companies, including SMEs, gain access to informative and accessible due diligence resources. Lastly, we seek to strengthen EPRM’s membership base across all sectors as a means to support ongoing projects.“

    Responsible Minerals Initiative

    Currently Leah Butler is holding the seat of Vice President at the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) where she leads the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI). In this role she advances the organization’s mission to foster responsible mineral supply chains across the globe. As the RMI program grows and diversifies its membership base and expands its scope, Leah works to identifying ways to scale RMI’s positive impact through developing  globally accepted tools, strengthening audit and risk assessment mechanisms, developing key stakeholder partnerships, and facilitating industry dialogue at all levels. Leah also facilitates RMI’s Executive Steering Committee and serves on a number of external advisory and governing bodies for RMI’s partner organizations. 

    Building bridges

    RMI supports the objectives of the EPRM: to increase responsibly produced minerals in the supply chain and to promote adoption of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance globally. Through membership in the EPRM, the RMI can build a bridge between US-based due diligence activities and those in Europe to build on current foundations. This linkage will be key in driving the development and deployment of due diligence tools that are relevant for multiple regulatory contexts and also reduce duplicative or redundant processes.

    Education and career

    Leah has twelve years of experience in regulatory compliance, stakeholder engagement, and extractive sector governance. Her work has focused on environmental remediation of industrial and small-scale mining sites and community development. She has worked for government, international development consulting firms, and the mining industry in the U.S. and Africa. Leah holds an MA in International Relations and a Masters of Environmental Management from Yale University.