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As the world bumps toward energy transitions that vary widely in approach, cost, and political commitment certain realities are becoming manifest. One is the sheer level of effort entailed in building materials supply chains that can support displacement of legacy fuels and systems to the extent, and within the time frames, imagined. Replacing legacy fuels and systems that have been the backbone of global prosperity is a complex endeavor of historic proportions. Moreover, ensuring “sustainability” of materials supply chains themselves has come to be recognized as crucial if the spirit and intent of the promised energy future are to be met. For many, the question of whether humans will be better off in the process can only be answered if both energy and materials supply chains are fully vetted in open, transparent ways using widely accepted, if not uniform, principles and standards.
None of these conditions or outcomes are assured. Pressures from expectations are enormous. And so, governments and societies are engrossed in the equally complex endeavor to reach agreement on what “sustainability” in energy and materials supply chains is all about, how it is to be measured and communicated and, most important, to whom.
This paper was written in partnership with the Future Minerals Forum (FMF). For more information on FMF and FMF24, please visit https://www.futuremineralsforum.com/.