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CANADIAN PERSPECTIVE: MAC leads sustainability push

The rise of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been spectacular. The mining industry has embraced it, none m...



The rise of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been spectacular. The mining industry has embraced it, none more so than the members of the Mining Association of Canada (MAC). Now MAC’s Toward Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative, one of the first such initiatives, has been recognized as one of the best.

 

In the recently released Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR) report, entitled “CSR Frameworks Review for the Extractive Industry,” TSM was identified as a leading program when compared to 10 other leading CSR programs for the extractive industries, according to the degree of prescription, guidance, and compliance. The report found TSM provides “a practical and tangible system of continuous improvement of social and environmental management.” It singled TSM out, as one of the few CSR programs for the extractive sector that includes mandatory reporting and third-party verification of results. It concluded that TSM was “well suited for benchmarking against Canadian peers and observing industry trends.”

 

“Canadian Business for Social Responsibility recognized a need among our member companies in the extractive industries for a review of the growing body of CSR frameworks available to them,” said Andrea Baldwin, director of advisory services at CBSR. “As a CSR leadership organization, this is one example of the support, counsel and research we provide to help Canadian companies advance their social and environmental performance.”

 

TSM focuses on improving the mining industry’s sustainable development performance. Member companies follow guiding principles and report on indicators that measure their performance for specific mining activities such as tailings management, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions management, external outreach and crisis management. Four new indicators in development include: safety and health; mining and Aboriginal peoples; biodiversity; and mine closure. MAC is also examining its international application of the initiative.

 

“This report is consistent with previous studies, which found TSM to be ‘best in class’,” explained Gordon Peeling, president and CEO of MAC. “The CBSR report reaffirms that TSM is effective, credible and enables our members to demonstrate their commitment to improved sustainable development performance.”

 

The report and its recommendations will help to inform the MAC board’s strategic decision-making on the longer-term development and application of the initiative.

 

A copy of the Canadian Business of Social Responsibility’s report is

available on MAC’s website at www.mining.ca or at www.CBSR.ca.