IM Swedish Development Partner / Swords Into Ploughshares
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Swedish NGO creates a supply chain of melted gun metal to help societies hampered by armed violence
Aid organisation IM Swedish Development Partner (IM) is turning recycled gun metal into a commodity that brands can buy to show support for ending armed violence.
The project is called Humanium: the most valuable metal in the world. The ‘most valuable metal’ tag is based on the estimated annual cost ($400bn) of gun violence to societies across the world (source: The Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development).
The idea for the project came from Great Works and Akestam Holst, two Stockholm agencies that are part of The North Alliance marketing group. The process begins in countries where illegal fire-arms are abundant. IM has secured contracts with local authorities to procure the metal from guns that have been seized and then melted. IM then sells this metal to brands and uses the money raised to fund aid projects in the countries worst affected by gun violence.
Brands must sign partner contracts with IM to buy the metal but they are then free to make anything they like with it, save for one condition: they must not use the metal to produce anything that could hurt people. According to Great Works, IM is working with five Swedish brands, including a bike manufacturer, a menswear brand and an architecture firm, in the prototype phase of the Humanium project.
The first mass-produced product is expected by September 2017 and Humanium’s global launch is slated for November.
‘In war-torn countries in Southern Africa and Central America, local art has previously been produced from scrapped and recycled gunmetal. The difference with the Humanium initiative is the idea that the recycled metal is being offered as a commodity for large-scale production,’ says Peter Brune, the Humanium project leader at IM.
Contagious Insight /
Precious metal / IM Swedish Development Partner has a long history of creating commercial partnerships to help people. The hope with Humanium is that metal collected from illegal firearms will take on new value by providing a means for brands to align themselves with a good cause and express purpose.
There’s plenty of evidence to suggest this strategy is sound, not least the general scramble among brands to align their core business with a noble philosophy. A more concrete example is that of Indian motorcycle manufacturer Bajaj, which was able to wrestle market share from the category leader by producing a bike made from the metal of a famous warship.
IM, too, is making the metal more appealing by offering brands the chance to procure the metal through revenue-sharing contracts, mitigating the risks to participants.
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