It is unquestionable that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is as valuable to developing a successful deposit as a drill hole. CSR enables good corporate governance and establishes a process of engagement, dialogue and interaction that ensures all parties are informed and participate in the decisions that affect their future.
There are multiple benefits of implementing CSR in exploration, including the capacity to make a difference in the local community through social innovation and job creation. However, explorers also face many CSR challenges, such as allocating the time and money to do it well; limited public understanding of the industry; identifying the relevant stakeholders and managing their expectations; and their own lack of knowledge of the multiple CSR models and tools that are out there.
These were some of the arguments that served as a framework for AME BC’s CSR Committee’s decision to recognize the multiple skills needed in CSR, and the need to provide an opportunity to develop those skills. In June 2014, AME BC held its first Learning Series event, at which Joe Ringwald presented Transparency of the Extractive Industries and to Governments. Ringwald reviewed the events and work leading to the Government of Canada’s decision to implement revenue transparency legislation, the current status of the initiative, and the likely future for the initiative and the extractives industry. This event, which is part of a project led by Mafalda Arias, raised awareness of the impact for mineral exploration companies, and a similar presentation was later made during Roundup 2015. The popularity of these events encouraged the CSR Committee to further its efforts in sharing knowledge, and the Community of Practice project, led by Ilianne Robredo, was added to AME BC’s series of events. Since then, AME BC has hosted eight more events:
- November 2014: Speaker Lindsay McIvor delivered Start Here: Sustainability for Exploration, Development, and Small Producing Mining Companies. McIvor shared a specifically written sustainability frameworks guide for exploration, development and small producing mining companies.
- April 2015: In Human Rights and the Extractive Industries: Considerations Related to Integrating the Ruggie Principles in Your Business, David Deisley discussed practical considerations in complying with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
- September 2015: Robert Simpson presented on The Science of Communication and shared how to choose and use the most appropriate media strategies. He provided attendees with insights on how to build trust with the media and outlined how the mineral exploration and mining industry’s communication styles and the style of media can be complementary.
- October 2015 : This event featured two fascinating research projects: Capturing Vulnerability Using Open Data and GIS, presented by Allison Stockwell, and Management of SocioPolitical Risk Arising from Corporate Transitions, presented by Garth Thomson. Both speakers are candidates for master’s degrees of applied science at the Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering at the University of British Columbia.
Community of Practice Events
- October 2014: Stakeholder Engagement & Community Investment was the focus of a session presented by Alison Colwell that stressed the importance of transparent relationships and proactive community investment.
- March 2015: Lana Eagle shared her experiences on Early Engagement with Aboriginal Peoples. Through a short presentation and storytelling, participants were able to debate the crucial role of early engagement in the success of any project.
- June 2015: Peter Bradshaw presented his knowledge on Responding to Confrontation before the largest audience seen so far at a Community of Practice event. With several real-life examples and a moderated forum-style discussion, attendees delved deeply into this indispensable industry tool.
- November 2015: Ian Thomson presented on Social Practice – What’s Next for the Mining Sector, a provocative discussion where participants had a chance to talk about where social practice came from and where it is headed.
In the coming year, we are thrilled to continue with these two very exciting and popular projects. Some of these events will be filmed to create a virtual library and continue the sharing of knowledge. We believe it is the right time for industry professionals to join in these periodical events to exchange ideas and learn from one another. These projects have served as a forum for practitioners, and aim to support and improve the sector’s community.
If you are interested in participating in these exciting events, please email Fiona Matalon ([email protected]) and ask to be included on the mailing list for the Learning Series and/or Community of Practice events. While some space restrictions apply, participants may also join Community of Practice events via conference call.
See you at the events the CSR Committee has planned for 2016!