Case Study: Mica in India
IMPROVING THE SUPPLY CHAIN OF MICA IN INDIA
Mica is a mineral mainly used by the automotive, electronics, electric, oil, and paint industries. It is also used by the cosmetics industry to add iridescent, shimmering highlights to makeup formulas.
India produces 60% of the world’s mica. In Northeast India, the source of a large portion of the India’s mica production, mica mining conditions are grim and regularly violate the rights of local communities.
ACTION IN THE FIELD
The ‘Child-Friendly’ villages initiative
Since 2010, the NRSC has been supporting the Indian NGO BBA (Bachan Bachao Andolan/Save the Children Movement), one of the main actors in the fight against child labor in India, by creating ‘child-friendly’ villages in India’s mica-producing regions. These villages ensure that all children are removed from work and enrolled in school. Besides ensuring access to education for all children, health needs and other developmental needs are also taken care of.
Today, with the creation of 60 ‘child-friendly’ villages which allow hundreds of children to benefit from schooling.
A Responsible Mica Sourcing Summit
To make further progress and to scale up this initiative, on February 17 and 18, 2016, supported by its member companies and corporate partners (L’Oréal, Merck, and Sudarshan), the NRSC hosted a multi-sector summit in New Delhi focusing on responsible mica supply. This summit set the objective of gathering stakeholders in mica user industries to raise their awareness of the numerous factors impacting living conditions of the local populations and policy options to address them. Political, economic, social, environmental – a great number of factors must be considered to best protect the rights of local communities.
For two days, the 63 persons in attendance – representatives of NGOs, various industries, local communities, and public authorities – joined forces to identify ways to develop a sustainable and responsible mica supply chain. The event program included testimonials, sharing of best practices, and collaboration that led to a Joint Mica Declaration being drafted, defining the key areas in which the parties involved intend to work together. This declaration also serves as a foundation for formalizing and implementing an action plan.
The Responsible Mica Summit organized in February 2016 in Delhi acknowledged the need for more collaborative actions to improve mica sourcing conditions and traceability. The NRSC members and its partners thus decided to go one step forward and propose a framework for a multi-stakeholder and impact-oriented Mica platform. In September 2016, a multi-sector steering committee held a first meeting in order to launch the platform.