Rendering the use of raw materials more sustainable along their life cycle within Europe requires continuous and open debate between political, economic, societal and academic actors. The COBALT project will help foster such debate by organizing international conferences and specific sectoral dialogues. Furthermore, in order to improve existing skills towards enabling a more sustainable use of raw materials, exemplary teaching courses will be developed addressing businesses and geological surveys.
The COBALT project (http://www.cobalt-fp7.eu/) will contribute to addressing several key challenges on the route towards more sustainable use of raw materials and resource efficiency. It will focus particularly on extraction, substitution, replacement and recycling of critical and scarce raw materials as well as raw materials with high environmental and social impacts.
Through exchange and dialogue, COBALT will contribute to dealing with relevant raw-material related challenges and raising societal awareness on raw materials. Furthermore, it will identify research needs, build research partnerships and networks, and disseminate research results. Thus it will contribute to the implementation of the objectives of the EIP on Raw Materials. The challenges addressed by COBALT are linked to the dispositions of various societal stakeholders and therefore developing networks is a strong component of the project. First, the project will mobilise public awareness on raw material issues and promote raw material substitution, replacement and recycling through two multi-stakeholder European conferences as well as an internet platform designed for networking and sharing of views, research results and other knowledge.
Second, the project will facilitate European and regional dialogues on raw materials between civil society and industry in order to ensure mutual learning, awareness and partnership building and an overall improvement in the framework conditions for sustainable use of raw materials and resource efficiency.
Third, the project will identify shortages of skills that would enable more sustainable use of raw materials and develop strategies for addressing these shortages utilising multiplication effects for three groups of stakeholders: industry, primarily SMEs; polytechnic and higher education; and national geological surveys. Ecologic Institute will organise the two European conferences and supports the development of dissemination materials.