Responsible Sourcing of Sand

Why talk about responsible sand?

Sand and other silicate materials are the world’s most extracted solid raw material that has largely eluded the progress made on responsible sourcing of minerals.

Industrial sands, clays, stones and construction aggregates are essential to a wide variety of end-use products and applications, including transitions towards climate and nature-positive enterprises, economies and societies. At the same time, sand and other silicate mineral extraction has been associated with serious social and environmental challenges.

Excluding these materials from supply chains and production processes is not easy to do precisely because they are so pivotal. Given this dilemma, it is time for a conversation on how silicate mineral sourcing and use practices can become sustainable and responsible.

50 billion tonnes of sand and gravel are thought to be used each year to produce concrete and cement.

United Nations Environment Programme (2019). Sand and Sustainability: Finding New Solutions for Environmental Governance of Global Sand Resources.

An opportunity to start a conversation

The Development Minerals Program at The University of Queensland's Sustainable Minerals Institute is pursuing the question of what sourcing standards and practices for silicate minerals may be needed in future. We would love you to join us in finding answers through science-business dialogue.

Our team supported the United Nations Environment Programme in global consultations with UN Member States on a new agenda for mineral governance in 2019 and co-authored UNEP’s flagship publications on sand and sustainability .

We began exploring responsible sand and silicate sourcing practices in 2022 with Inter-IKEA as our primary corporate partner. Our work together advanced our understanding of risks and responsibilities in sand and silicate sourcing. It also left us curious about the perspectives and experiences of other actors in sand supply and value chains.

We are hosting a partner session in collaboration with Inter-IKEA at the 16th OECD Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains in April 2023 as a first step to open the discussion to others. The intention is to have a rich conversation between mining and downstream sectors on responsible sand sourcing and find additional partners willing to explore this theme further with us.

Find out more below about how to join this dialogue

Partner Session information

2023 OECD Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains



 OECD Headquarters, Paris, 24–28 April 2023

The annual OECD Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains is a key global event. The event's Partner Sessions provide an opportunity for companies, civil society organisations and industry programs to present their work and share perspectives. Meetings are held under the Chatham House rule, making them ideal venues for emerging questions.

Partner Session: An invitation to explore responsible sourcing of sand and silicates

  • Thursday 27 April, 8:30 - 10:00 (CET)
  • Room: CC16

In this session, The University of Queensland and Inter-IKEA will share findings from a recent scoping study on social, environmental and human rights risks potentially associated with sand and silicate extraction and use in a roundtable format. We will explore the role of sand and silicates in underpinning modern society and global development. The relevance of sand and silicates to Inter-IKEA’s (and other companies') operations and products will be discussed as part of an open exchange on possibilities for a coherent framework for responsible sourcing.

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Prof Daniel Franks

Professor Daniel Franks

Deputy Director of Research,
Sustainable Minerals Institute.​
Development Minerals Program Lead


Dr Louise Gallagher

Dr Louise Gallagher

Senior fellow,
Sustainable Minerals Institute.
Project manager and research co-lead


Mr Daniel Holm

Mr Daniel Holm

Senior researcher,
Sustainable Minerals Institute.
Project research co-lead