Photo: Oscar Timmers

Beauty and a Beast’ report on the prevalence of child labour in the mica mining industry, and those companies sourcing mica mined by children, helped to enforce the “Responsible Mica Initiative”, which was launched in Paris in January 2017.

Mica is a mined mineral that gives paint and cosmetics a shiny, pearly effect. SOMO’s investigation, commissioned to support a Terre des Hommes’ campaign to bring an end to child labour in Indian mica mining, estimated that at least twenty thousand children work in the Jharkand/Bihr mica mines. The campaign started in the Netherlands with questions in Parliament concerning those Dutch paint, electronic and chemical companies sourcing Indian mica mined by children and spread to other international companies across different industrial sectors.

The “Responsible Mica Initiative”, which is a unique collaboration between companies that source mica for car paint to eye shadow, and NGO’s aims to eradicate child labour and inhumane working conditions in the Indian mica supply chain. The formation of the “Responsible Mica Initiative” is a positive outcome of to the Delhi multi-sector Summit around mica organized in February 2016, reassured by the results of SOMO and Terre des Hommes’ field research.

Members of the initiative

Currently, 22 stakeholders are committed to the “Responsible Mica Initiative”. Among them are companies that were mentioned in the ‘Beauty and a Beast report: Philips, AkzoNobel, Merck, Surdarshan, Lóreal and Kuncai. The initiative is inviting all players of the Indian mica supply chain to become a member. More information on its members can be found on their website.

Responsible sourcing practices and local engagement

In order to achieve a 100% responsible mica supply chain over the next 5 years the initiative defined 3 main objectives:

  • Implement fair, responsible and sustainable good practices and increase traceability all along the Indian mica supply chain,
  • Empower local community to ensure long lasting change thanks to the implementation of inclusive and holistic empowerment programs,
  • Build a legal and livable environment for local communities by working hand-to-hand with the Indian government and local authorities.

More information on the “Responsible Mica Initiative” can be found on their website.