Netherlands Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Ms. Sigrid Kaag, launches the first global Index on responsible mining
Metals and minerals are inseparable from our daily lives. Copper, iron, cobalt and lithium are found in our mobile phones, cars and houses. These materials are mined around the globe and our consumption of them links us to mining workers, mining-affected communities and environments worldwide. And our demand for these raw materials will only increase; also due to the anticipated transition to sustainable energy sources.
Mining companies claim to deal responsibly with people and the environment when mining these raw materials, but is that really the case? The answer to that question is now easy to find in the Responsible Mining Index (RMI). This is an evidence-based index that assesses mining companies’ policies and practices in six important areas, including working conditions, the environment, economic development and community wellbeing. The RMI rankings show at a glance the extent to which different companies are addressing these issues. On the basis of the information provided by the Index, stakeholders such as trade unions, investors, local communities and governments can encourage mining companies to pay more attention to a range of economic, environmental, social and governance (EESG) issues. The Index is an initiative of the Responsible Mining Foundation, based in The Netherlands.
Key findings of RMI 2018
One of the key findings of the Index is that too often companies do not put into practice their own policy commitments on responsible mining, such as those addressing human rights issues or ensuring a safe working environment. And the scale and persistence of severe adverse impacts is at odds with the widespread existence of company commitments. For example, worker fatalities (the 30 companies reported a total of 331 worker deaths over the 2015-2016 period) continue despite nearly every company having made a commitment on occupational health and safety.
At the same time, the Index shows that the 30 companies are collectively demonstrating responsible mining across many issues and strong cases of leading practice are evident, providing valuable models for other companies.
Index includes many of the largest mining companies
This first edition of RMI contains thirty large mining companies that together operate more than 700 mines in over forty countries. These companies account for 25% of all mined commodities worldwide. The Index includes companies such as BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Glencore, Vale, Barrick Gold and Anglo American – all of which are among the world’s 10 largest mining companies.
The Netherlands and Switzerland are taking the lead
The Responsible Mining Index has been supported largely by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs. Minister Kaag for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation will present the Index to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague on 4 July.
The positive approach of RMI
Isabelle van Notten, co-founder of the Responsible Mining Index:
“We do not believe in ‘naming and shaming’. We find it more effective to show companies how they are performing. We are already seeing that the Index is having an influence in practice. Companies are asking us what they need to do to improve. And other stakeholders are taking note of the results. For example, after publication of the Index, some mining companies were called by investment analysts from the US with questions about their scores. This is clear evidence that the Index works as an incentive towards continuous improvement.”
Hélène Piaget, CEO Responsible Mining Foundation:
“With the Responsible Mining Index 2018, we aim to create a strong knowledge base that is open to all, and encourages leading practice and learning across the mining industry. We will continue to engage with all stakeholders to support responsible mining and encourage constructive dialogue between companies and stakeholders – whether they be communities that neighbour mining operations or large institutional investors.’’
About the Responsible Mining Index
RMI measures how companies perform across six different economic, environmental, social and governance (EESG) areas: economic development, business conduct, lifecycle management, community wellbeing, working conditions and environmental responsibility.
As an evidence-based assessment, the Index measures the extent to which companies can demonstrate, rather than simply claim, that they have established responsible policies and practices. In order to support transparency and open data principles, the RMI results, and the information sources used in the assessment, are provided free as a public good. The Index will be produced every two years and is available both online and in printed form in six languages: English, Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.
About the Responsible Mining Foundation
The Responsible Mining Foundation (RMF) is an independent foundation that aims to encourage continuous improvement in responsible mining in the minerals and metals industry by transparently assessing the performance of mining companies, highlighting leading practice and supporting learning.
Netherlands Minister Kaag launches Index on 4 July 2018
The Netherlands launch of the RMI will be on 4 July 2018 at 3.30 pm at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague. The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, will open the event. After a short presentation by co-founder Isabelle van Notten, a panel discussion will be held, chaired by Jaime de Bourbon de Parme, former Dutch Special Envoy Natural Resources.