Mica is widely used in beauty products, particularly in colour cosmetics. It is a group of mineral that is used in the industry as a pearlescent pigment.
It comes under scrutiny because the use of child labour has previously been found in some mines where mica is sourced, and about 25% of the world production of mica comes from illegal collection in North-East India.
The RMI is a cross-sector association that aims to ensure close collaboration between private, public and nonprofit sectors to achieve a 100% responsible mica supply chain over the next five years. It launched in 2017.
Its newly released 2018 Annual Report reviews the organization’s mission, strategies and key accomplishments over the course of the past year, and how far it has progressed in its aim to enable sustainable mica mining and processing in the Indian states of Bihar and Jharkhand.
Progress being made
The report highlights various steps that the RMI has so far put in place towards its goals: three program pillars.
Firstly, workplace standards have been developed to improve working conditions at mica processors and mines that will include prohibitions on the use of child labor.
Secondly, community empowerment programs were launched in 40 villages adjacent to the mines and processors to provide quality education for children, better health care and supplemental means of livelihood.
Finally, with the participation of local business leaders and CSOs, RMI has begun a program to support the establishment of a legal framework for the local mica industry.
“Each of us who has been involved in the creation of RMI are excited to see the progress we’ve made to eliminate child labor and promote a sustainable mica industry in Bihar and Jharkhand,” said RMI Executive Director Fanny Frémont.
“Our accomplishments reflect the tremendous support and participation we’ve received from our members, our program partners in India and civil society organizations around the world.
“We share a common commitment to support human rights and put policies into practices that promote responsible sourcing and facilitate economic and social development.”
Established in 2017 by 20 founding member companies and civil society organizations (CSOs), RMI’s membership increased to 47 companies and civil society organizations in Europe, Asia and North America at the end of 2018.
RMI’s programs are designed not only to eliminate the use of child labor in the sector but also to address the underlying factors that contribute to it by 2022. The association is headquartered in France.