Point de vue

Assessing supply risks: a prerequisite for transforming supply chains and improving their resilience

A 4-step methodology

Written by Avner Simeoni, Pierrick Drapeau and Albane Aupècle.

COVID, the Ukraine-Russia war, the uptake of obligation towards the energy transition… Overall, the current geopolitical and ecological pressures are bolstering the risks related to supply disruption and adversely contributing to increased prices of many raw materials, such as metalsi. Nickel, palladium, and aluminum prices have climaxed compared to their historical levelsii, while the aeronautics sector is closing the doors to Russian titanium, the world's leading produceriii. In addition, risks related to environmental (carbon impact…), social (forced labor, human rights…) and industrial (mining and processing capacities…) issues persistiv.

The concerning point is that the mentioned metals are critical to heavy industries such as the automotive and aeronautics sectors, and may even be considered the core of the energy transitionv. At the same time, directives to encourage and implement are strengthening, leading to swelling of risks surrounding the supply of raw materials.

Limitations of current procurement risk analysis methodologies for companies

Based on our clients’ needs and strong experience in the field, we draw the following conclusions relating to the limitations of procurement risk analysis methods:

It is therefore advisable to draw on existing methodsvii and enrich them, particularly considering the financial and economic risks to companies’ supplies.

Companies’ risk exposure and the implemented mitigation measures driving improvement in resilience should also be appraised.



The 4 key steps of our Resources For Future methodology:

This article suggests a four-step methodology, adapted to companies, for managing the supply and CSR risks related to raw materials :


Databases may come from public or private sources, or both.

Efforts made by the company in terms of supply chain traceability or audits may be added to these databases over time, while results obtained through the risk analysis process will guide traceability of the project depending on identified priorities.

These traceability and raw materials risk analysis approaches are therefore guided via iteration.


● The first step is to determine the "raw risk ": the risk related to the raw material due to a given supply chain.

● The next step is to evaluate the company’s exposure that provides a weighting of the risk. This could include dependency on the raw material, economic importance or strategic nature of the latter, substitution capacity, media exposure, etc..

● The final step is to account for the "net risk ", allowing consideration of mitigation measures implemented by the company, for instance signing of framework contracts, organization of audits and more.


The potential qualitative or quantitative costs and benefits of the risks are key to the decision-making.

“Stress tests" (i.e. the construction of scenarios) may be necessary to anticipate changes in risks (for example, new equipment composition, change of supplier, deterioration or improvement in the political environment or ecological indicators, etc.).


The approach most often involves the development of a calculation model, based on decisions specific to each company: risks to be retained, risk scales, weighting, purchasing organization, etc.

The use of adequate data visualization will encourage the company to survey its reporting requisites and navigate between the macro (portfolio of all raw materials), meso (raw materials present in a given product) and micro (a particular raw material) levels.

The benefits of our methodology

Feedback shows that companies that have adopted this type of approach have observed significant improvements in the understanding of the risks to their supply chains. It has enabled them to pilot and prioritize actions to be deployed to secure supplies and source responsibly.

This methodologyviii has proven its relevance regarding both metals and minerals as well as other raw materials (particularly plant-based) for players in the luxury, automotive and aeronautics sectors.

Its principles will be increasingly beneficial as the world moves into a new ecological, economic and geopolitical order.


i Les Echos. (15 March 2022). Ukraine : Ukraine: commodity price volatility in 5 charts.
ii As of 15 March, the price of nickel reached $100,000 per ton compared with around $25,000 per ton at the beginning of March; the price of palladium is 44% higher than in January and the price of aluminum is 20% higher than in January (source: Bloomberg).
iii On all these subjects and the repercussions of the war in Ukraine, see in particular "Métaux russes : le casse-tête chinois des industriels", Emmanuel Hache, Polytechnique Insights, 23 March 2022
iv Drapeau Pierrick. (2020). Batteries for mobility: A guide for European decision-makers to navigate the metals century. 
v  The conversation. (15 March 2022). Russia and Ukraine are important to the renewables transition. Here's what that means for the climate
vi Criticality is indeed a recent concept, the first measurement tools having been developed in 2008 by the U.S. National Research Council (NRC). (2008). Classical criticality assessment- before being taken up by the European Union in 2010 [1].
vii It is interesting to note that Deloitte Sustainability has a detailed knowledge of public methods since the firm participated in the assessment of the criticality of raw materials in the framework of the third report.
viii  This approach proposed by Deloitte is called Resources for Future.