Rising ESG demands pose new challenges and opportunities for tin

Increased consumer awareness, investors and regulators are growing the demand for responsibly sourced tin. Sustainable tin is key to achieve the “green economy” and the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
During the Sustainability sessions, experts reported that downstream customers are already expanding expectations on transparent ESG reporting, including to the environment. Assent reported that 70% of consumers are willing to pay more for responsible metal, while according to Electronics Watch major public buyers of electric vehicles and ICT equipment are interested in supporting and monitoring responsible production. Supply chain actors highlighted their continued progress and ambitions to achieve Net Zero and socially responsible production.
The tin industry is the leading metal for responsible sourcing, according to the LME, which conditionally recognises Tin Code Standard 7.3 for its recently introduced Responsible Sourcing rules. Through its new LMEpassport scheme, ESG disclosures – including Tin Code reports – are now accessible to the whole supply chain.
These disclosures may even evolve into a “green premium”.  The LME will monitor which ESG disclosures are correlated with higher prices via its recent MetalsHub partnership. Panelists across the supply chain agreed that, as the scope and depth of information required increases, fair cost sharing mechanisms – such as these premiums – should be investigated to overcome these challenges.

Tin tightness to remain

All players agree that the tin market is in a relatively calm period, presentations from major solder producer McDermid Alpha and electronics analysts IPC indicated the robust demand fundamentals for tin. They highlighted the varied opportunities for tin still in research and development.
Investment in junior miners is picking up, according to ITA’s market analyst James Willoughby, but development timescales are now at the point where it is almost inevitable that near-term market balances will be in deficit. Presentations from major producers Minsur and PT Timah indicated a focus on longevity, rather than near-term supply improvements. Even with the development of a handful of new mines in the next few years, the market is still highly likely to fall short of tin demand.

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