AME BC’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Committee has led several initiatives to raise awareness of and understanding about the role of CSR in mineral exploration and development. Recently, these initiatives have included community of practice sessions, learning events, and a Short Course and Show Case Session at Roundup 2015.

Coming out of Roundup 2015, the CSR Committee wanted to know how to keep improving CSR learning opportunities for AME BC members and others in the industry. We developed the CSR Training Needs Survey and invited AME BC members to respond. More than half of the 116 respondents were from mineral exploration and mining companies or companies providing services and supplies to the sector. Another quarter were individual prospectors, geoscientists, engineers or consulting firms.

The survey asked respondents to rate nine aspects of CSR (environmental stewardship, community health, occupational health and safety, human rights, local socioeconomic benefits, mitigation of impacts on communities, community and Aboriginal consultation and engagement, cross-cultural awareness, and employment/human resources practices). More than two-thirds of respondents picked either very important or critical for every aspect. More than 80 per cent of respondents chose either very important or critical for environmental stewardship, occupational health and safety, and community and Aboriginal consultation and engagement.

We then asked respondents to rate their organization’s need to improve skills in each of the same aspects as no need, some need, strong need or critical need. For all but human rights, some need scored highest, with at least 40 per cent of responses. Community and Aboriginal consultation and engagement recorded the highest response (32 per cent) for strong need.

When asked to assess their current skill level, 61 per cent of respondents assessed themselves as competent but need advanced skills. No one saw themselves as starting from scratch.

Our final question asked about the likelihood of improving CSR skills through a variety of methods. Three methods (conference presentations, manuals/guidebooks and informal discussions) are especially popular, with more than 90 per cent of respondents at least somewhat likely to use them to improve their CSR skills.

Author

  • Susan Todd is the principal of Solstice Sustainability Works Inc. See pages 28 and 30 for CSR offerings at Roundup 2016.