Reporting CSR practices

How do mining companies currently report CSR practices?

The mining sector uses a broad range of CSR reporting methods. These include comprehensive reports specific to social and sustainability practices, with information on relevant issues, related data and analysis, performance indicators and targets.

Some companies provide CSR information in other ways; for example, as summaries in annual reports.

This section focuses on the different types of CSR-relevant information mining companies report, and how this information is made available to stakeholders and other interested parties.

A company should start by establishing a clear CSR policy via a set of values that will serve to guide a company in all of its mining and exploration activities.

Key CSR reporting questions include the following:

  • What kind of information should companies be reporting?
  • How can information be made accessible and how can improvements be documented?
  • Why should companies establish and report on CSR practices?

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Company performance information; reporting on CSR activities

Sustainable Development (SD) is an important focus in the mining sector and a term often used interchangeably with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Sustainability Reports are one of the more common reporting methods used by mining companies.

Information in a sustainability report generally includes environmental, health and safety, and social components. Occasionally, economic information relating to sustainability is provided.

Environmental Information

This includes all information on energy and emissions targets. Companies should report on the following (depending on relevance):

  • Water quality and water usage
  • Emissions information, including point source emissions and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Energy efficiency
  • Tailings management (treatment of waste rock and waste rock storage
  • Land use and rehabilitation programs

For many of these indicators, setting and stating clear targets, especially with respect to emissions and efficiency, and documenting the changes over time is a useful method of reporting.

One of the challenges of clear environmental reporting is presenting the data with related analysis and interpretation in a way that is accessible to a broad audience. Clear definitions of standards and measuring systems used should be provided. Some mining companies provide ideal examples for reporting practices.

Health & Safety Data

The most important type of information reported relates to serious injury rates. Yearly data may include:
  • Total reportable incidences
  • Lost time injuries
  • Fatalities
The above are often reported as frequencies. Some companies also provide information on:
  • Absenteeism
  • Employee turnover
  • Employee engagement
  • Job creation

Social Information

Companies can publish information on:

  • The nature and/or existence of consultation committees, or other mechanisms of community engagement
  • Statistics on employment of indigenous persons
  • Established community programs
  • Any charitable donations programs
  • Any benefit-sharing agreements (joint ventures or otherwise)
  • Plans in place to help a community transition post-mining

Some mining companies, like Cameco, have community-specific sections on their websites.

Economic Information

Financial reporting is an increasingly important performance indicator for CSR initiatives. Revenue collection information (e.g. taxes, royalties, levies) is public domain in Canada. Most market information is available for download through SEDAR, the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval.

While SEDAR hosts most of the Canadian regulatory securities information, financial information is often reported on company websites, via news updates, press releases, and quarterly financial and annual reports.

Company financials are often included in investor presentations, which are frequently made available online. Companies can report on economic provisions in place for mine closures as they relate to sustainability:

  • Environmental liabilities
  • Social provisions, such as skills retraining

Another way to report on economic information is to address the link between compensation at the executive level and the company's social and environmental performance. This information can be reflected in SEDAR filings by documenting:

  • Members of the board who are included on environmental panels or committees
  • The frequency of environmental panel meetings
  • The portion of compensation benefits to senior executives that relates to sustainability activities

Cameco Corporation, for example, has a section on its website dedicated to sustainable finance, where it provides detailed financial reports for the past 5 years.

Companies can also provide information on corporate donations and sponsorships. See, for example, the portion of forecast profits set aside for community initiatives reported by Cameco.

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How can companies make CSR information more available?

One way to make CSR information most accessible is by publishing it online. This ensures that the information is available to stakeholders and other parties.

Many companies devote sections of their website to CSR and sustainability. Generally, these sections include environmental, health and safety, and social or community information. (See examples of online CSR information here.)

Stand-alone sustainability reports are often made available for download. (See examples of downloadable CSR information here.)

Some companies, such as Teck Resources Ltd. and Xstrata offer a table of sustainability goals and progress by publishing the CSR information directly on their website. This is a simple and effective way to report CSR activities.

Why should companies report CSR activities?

Reporting is central to any CSR program. Good reporting practices help build trusting relationships with communities, media, governments, and civil service organizations.

CSR reports also provide useful information on company activities to investors and potential investors.

Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) has gained popularity in response to increasing demand from investors to include social standards in investment decisions.

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