Guest post by Sabrina Dias and Kyle Krater. This article originally appeared on our Canadian partner, Sabrina Dias, President of Sabrina Dias Consulting (SDC)’s blog. SDC is a consulting firm specializing in bringing sustainability solutions to the extractives industry.
How can the sustainability assurance process create value for your organization? In other words, how can you get value out of sustainability assurance beyond the benefits of fulfilling membership requirements and receiving accolades for performing well? These are questions that most professionals involved in the assurance process at both corporate and site levels frequently ask themselves.
When evaluating areas that could be cut, sustainability assurance programs are often considered to be expendable because the return on investment is not well understood or immediately measurable. To determine the validity of this strategy we examined what value is derived from sustainability assurance.
Interviews and surveys were conducted with approximately 30 mining professionals from the precious metals, base metals, ferrous and non-ferrous, in Canada to determine how they used sustainability assurance and what impact it had on their role within an organization. In doing so, we have identified how and why sustainability assurance creates value for companies. Value, as defined here, encompasses more than monetary value. Many intangibles, like a company’s privilege to operate, improved stakeholder reputation and brand recognition as an industry leader, define value. The survey found that:
Respondents to our survey identified a variety of frameworks used including the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Mining Association of Canada’s Toward Sustainable Mining (TSM), the International Council for Mining and Metals (ICMM) Principles, the UN Global Compact, and ISO certifications. Respondents agreed that sustainability assurance helped their company evaluate its sustainability goals and, particularly in the case of TSM, helped align corporate and site goals.
It was clear from our research that disconnection between corporate and site is very common and the sustainability assurance process tends to highlight this issue. Instead, flip this problem on its head and use the assurance process to bridge the gap between corporate and site.
Sabrina Dias is a respected leader in the mining industry with more than 15 years of experience tackling some of the industry’s most challenging sustainability-related issues for multi-billion dollar projects. As President of SDC, Sabrina works closely with clients around the globe on corporate and site-level sustainability strategies that strengthen business performance and maximize stakeholder support. She leverages her engineering background and extensive experience in sustainability to develop pragmatic solutions.