There is an increasing expectation and need for companies to not only improve transparency but also play a proactive role in ensuring developmental, societal and environmental benefits for all. As a part of this companies are being urged to be active participants in global initiatives such as the implementation and achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This expectation and need results in heightened attention on all companies, especially those with a global reach and larger scale. Additionally, extractive industries, including mining, face additional scrutiny due to the negative history some may associate with our industry.
Governments, society and stakeholders are demanding more from companies and have an expectation of responsible social performance and sustainable development initiatives from industry. To increase our transparency, as well as to gain and maintain both the trust of our stakeholders and a social licence to operate, we must go beyond following national and industry regulations: We must understand and respond to a wide range of issues that matter to our stakeholders. As well, we must build respectful relationships with all parties involved in order to address concerns and create mutually beneficial opportunities.
Early, meaningful and ongoing engagement has become a standard best practice, with particular attention paid to the rights of Indigenous Peoples, human rights, water and land access, environmental protection, local economic development, jobs and the creation of sustainable local benefits.
Why Is This Important to Our Stakeholders?
Our stakeholders expect us to minimize our negative social and environmental impacts and maximize benefits through long-term partnerships with local communities and Indigenous groups. Often, before any impacts are realized, what people want most is information. Communicating how we work is a critical step and must continue throughout the life of a mine. This means we must engage with communities early and understand their concerns and priorities. We have consistently heard that local communities want us to invest in local, sustainable development, and to contribute to development objectives through local hiring, local procurement and community contributions. They want us to integrate respect for human and Indigenous rights throughout our business and in everything we do.
Building strong and respectful community partnerships is foundational to our success. Our staff and local communities are often one and the same. We often source from and work with local businesses. We are constantly aware that we operate on land that is of great importance for local populations, and they entrust us with its careful stewardship. Without community support, we cannot operate safely and sustainably. In the short term, having strong, proactive engagement with communities ensures continuous operation. Over longer-term horizons, our operations can also be a catalyst for enduring sustainable development in surrounding regions, providing mutual benefits for us and the communities in which we operate.
Understanding and addressing stakeholder concerns is essential to our ability to mitigate our impacts and identify positive opportunities to build sustainable value. Building strong, lasting relationships with local communities can improve our ability to single out and manage risks and to identify opportunities. It can also help facilitate successful longer-term operations.
Our focuses are to generate value for our stakeholders, build strong partnerships through active engagement, and make positive and long-lasting contributions in the communities where we operate. Our strategy builds on our Sustainability Excellence Management System (SEMS) standards to focus on three pillars: Sustainable Stakeholder Relationships, Sustainable Economic Benefit and Human Rights. The foundation of this strategy is an integrated approach to risk management for all three pillars.
Our management approach to sustainability, corporate social responsibility and human rights is led by our Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability with specific accountability assigned to the Corporate Director of Corporate Social Responsibility. Additionally, each of our operations has sustainability managers and CSR/community relations teams.