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Governance and Risk–Value Constructions in Closing Loops of Rare Earth Elements in Global Value Chains

  • Erika Machacek
  • Jessika Luth Richter
  • Ruth Lane
Publishing year: 2017-10
Language: English
Publication/Series: Resources
Volume: 6
Issue: 4
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)

Abstract english

This article addresses a research gap on the challenges—specifically risk and value—connected to realizing the potential for closing loops for rare earth elements (REE). We develop an analytical framework from conceptual elements of the global value chain (GVC) framework and the relational theory of risk to examine several empirical REE industry cases for loop closure. The aim of the paper is to identify how risk–value relationships are constructed by different actors as governance structures form in transactions prior to price setting and how these have impacts on the closure of REE loops. Often, REE loops are not closed, and we find that constructions of the risk–value relationship by industrial actors and by government agencies are unstable as they pursue different motivations, consequently hindering REE loop closure in GVCs. In light of this, we propose that governments mediate against the construction of risk–value relationships by facilitating information on the characteristics of end-of-life materials that qualify these for re-entry into loops.


  • Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
  • rare earth elements
  • recycling
  • transaction
  • risk
  • global value chain
  • governance
  • value


  • ISSN: 2079-9276
Jessika Luth Richter
E-mail: jessika_luth [dot] richter [at] iiiee [dot] lu [dot] se

Doctoral student

The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics

+46 46 222 02 82

+46 72 944 22 97



International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE)

Lund University P.O. Box 196, 22100 Lund, Sweden
Visiting Address: Tegnérsplatsen 4,Lund

Telephone: + 46 46 222 00 00 Fax: + 46 46 222 02 10