Global mining giants blamed for one-sided sustainability reporting, new study says
IOL - COMPANIES / 25 FEBRUARY 2020 - 10:30 / DINEO FAKU
JOHANNESBURG - The world's biggest mining companies generally omit any mention of negative impact in their annual reports that would impede the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to end poverty by 2030.
A report by the Responsible Mining Foundation (RMF) said that the one-sided reporting failed to present stakeholders with a true picture of the challenges the mining sector faces in its support of the SDGs.
RMF chief executive Hé* ène Piaget said: “The SDGs provide a valuable societal framework for reporting and action on economic, social and environmental concerns, but an unbalanced emphasis on the ‘good’ that companies do may obscure the negative impacts, be they inherent or unintentional, that may impede the achievement of the SDG goals."
The foundation studied the economic, environmental, social and governance policies and practices of 38 of the world’s biggest large-scale mining companies that operate in more than 780 mine sites and together account for 28percent of the world’s mining activity by value.
It found that Anglo American plc scored the strongest on all categories because of its establishment of formalised commitments and company-wide systems.
The report said in terms of economic development, Anglo American was able to collaborate with producing countries and regional governments on socio-economic development planning.
“In Lifecycle Management, Anglo American is the only company to have put in place guidelines designed to ensure its operations plan for post-closure transition for workers as well as for communities.
"In Community Wellbeing, the company has systems designed to ensure its operations support local entrepreneurship and local procurement,” said the report.
It found that Luxemburg-based steel giant ArcelorMittal, the Chilean state-owned mining company Codelco, Evraz, the UK based steel producer, the world’s largest gold producer Newmont and Vale, were found to be stronger on issues such as national-level procurement, collaborative research and development, and skills development within the workers and wider communities.
However, the report said Gold Fields showed no evidence of supporting procurement from local suppliers in production, integrating environmental, social, and governance criteria.
“Gold Fields shows little evidence of tracking and reviewing its performance on progressive rehabilitation.
"Moreover, none of the five Gold Fields mines assessed show any relevant evidence on three issues covered in the mine-site assessment: community grievances, worker grievances, and air quality,” said the report.
The report found that none of AngloGold Ashanti’s four assessed mines informed or engaged with affected communities in their post-closure planning.
Sibanye-Stillwater’s overall results were limited by a lack of evidence of action on a number of key issues, including human rights.
“While the company has made a commitment to respect human rights, it shows no evidence of having conducted any human rights due diligence processes or tracking its performance on managing human rights issues,” it said.
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