Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is rapidly becoming a significant issue for all businesses, not merely those in the traditionally green or sustainable industries. Companies are finding it beneficial, and in some instances, necessary, to strengthen their corporate social responsibility efforts. The pressure to implement CSR initiatives is three-fold:
1. For the sake of being perceived as a good corporate citizen
2. To position the company as a preferred partner/vendor for other organizations who purchase materials and include them in their supply chain
3. To demonstrate a company’s desire to do the right thing.
Because suppliers have the potential to introduce additional risk to a mining operation, mine owners and operators must consider the compliance of their contractors and vendors who work with the mine as third-party entities.
What CSR issues are significant in the mining industry?
While some mining operators may hope that their industry is exempt from taking on corporate social responsibility initiatives, this approach can hurt a company in the long run. It could take years to recover from the fallout if a firm fails to recognize CSR as one of the biggest issues facing the industry and respond appropriately.
Per Forbes, mining operators in remote regions may once have been able to get away with not implementing corporate social responsibility policies, but with the internet’s ability to spread information across the globe in just a moment, all firms now need to become more stringent about putting policies in place that will protect their reputations, their contracts, and their workers. The following list highlights several logical focus areas for mining operators that are exploring or implementing CSR initiatives.
Environmental concerns are one area where it’s critical for mines to focus their attention and corporate social responsibility efforts. As concerns about climate change and pollution continue to increase, the mining and coal industries will continue to be targeted by environmental groups, activists, and government legislation.
Coal use is believed to contribute to pollution, but the coal mining process is also thought by many to hinder sustainability efforts. The equipment used by mining operators can also have an impact on green efforts. Eliminating any potential sources of environmental concern may be beneficial for operators looking to both reduce costs and maintain their status as a preferred supplier for their largest partners.
While it is obviously the responsibility of mining operators to put sustainability standards in place for their own operations, firms should also take the necessary steps to ensure their suppliers and contractors follow the same policies. Inconsistent environmental policies can tarnish a company’s image, especially if it is found to be working with a firm that fails to comply with or implement any sustainability regulations. Some organizations may find it helpful to create policies that are in line with those of their largest customers to ensure another company that has already implemented similar CSR initiatives won’t replace them.
Global expansion and native populations
Another significant challenge facing the mining industry is rapid global expansion. The discovery of natural resources in new areas may be a pleasant surprise for the mining industry, and the countries that will benefit from these excavations; however, global expansion also poses potential threats. Increased mining opportunities have been discovered in countries such as Canada and Australia, which are home to large indigenous populations. Therefore, mine operators need to carefully consider the implications of mining on land that may be claimed by native populations.
Much like environmental initiatives, it is important for a company to ensure its partners are also considering local groups’ rights and responsibilities. A company should take the necessary steps to ensure its suppliers and contractors are not only aware of these important issues, but are compliant with any required steps that ensure no company overreaches its boundaries and breaches an agreement with a native group or violates aboriginal rights.
Avetta can help mine operators to ensure that their third-party suppliers and contractors are compliant with any set requirements, whether they’re based on corporate social responsibility policies or government mandates.
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