DEVELOPING A BIODIVERSITY STRATEGY FOR RIO TINTO
Mining Rocks! CIM Toronto 2005
Biodiversity is a significant issue for all companies working in extractive industries. As demand for minerals continues to increase, pressures on the earth’s ecosystems are also growing. Biodiversity is being lost at an unprecedented rate, and the response will be to limit access to the land needed to meet the demand for minerals.
Rio Tinto has responded to this risk to its long-term business by developing a corporate biodiversity strategy. Initially, the views of conservation organisations such as BirdLife International and Fauna & Flora International were sought through partnerships that have provided essential expert input to the strategy.
An internal steering group was formed, drawn from operating businesses as well as corporate environment and community departments. This was actively supported by an advisory panel of independent international experts.
External authors were commissioned to compile a detailed guidance document, using business experience to supplement their knowledge of good conservation practice. A position statement and operating principles were jointly written by the internal and external groups.
After an extensive consultation process covering all levels of the company as well as external stakeholders, the strategy was launched at the 3rd World Conservation Congress in Bangkok in November 2004.