The Reporting Burden: Is it possible to reduce the complexity and streamline reporting?

There is an ever-increasing pressure on the mining industry to transparently disclose sustainability practices and metrics through various responsible mining initiatives and reporting requirements. Albeit a key need to drive and strengthen environmental and social performance and governance, this has created what one would term “The reporting burden”. These requirements are not going to lessen in the future, but rather become more complex as we seek to manage environmental and social risks. The question we are all asking is: Is it possible to reduce the complexity and streamline sustainability reporting? We spoke to Tracey Jacquemin, about the inherent complexity of reporting and approaches to streamline this in the future.

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Complexity of Reporting

Investors, civil society and purchasers to name a few, are placing more importance and credibility on sustainably produced materials and supply chains that do not exploit communities and the environment. These groups are dedicated to defining and promoting responsible practices underpinned by rigorous assurance processes that are recognized by stakeholders as credible and define best practice principles. Although not an extensive list, here are some of the voluntary responsible mining initiatives and sustainability frameworks:

  • International Council on Mining and Metals
  • Towards Sustainable Mining (Mining Association of Canada)-
  • Aluminum Stewardship Initiative
  • Responsible Jewelry Council
  • Responsible Gold Mining Principles
  • Responsible Mining Initiative (RMI) – Copper Mark Risk Readiness Assessment
  • Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA)
  • International Finance Corporation (IFC)
  • Responsible Steel
  • International tin association
  • Cobalt Institute CIRAF
  • London Metals Exchange (LME) Responsible Sourcing Guidelines
  • OECD Due Diligence
  • LBMA Responsible Silver
  • Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
  • Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)

Depending on the number of these initiatives to which companies are members of and the diversified nature of business conducted, determines the complexity of the requirements to which assessment, assurance and transparent reporting is required. Without finding equivalencies across these multiple standards and frameworks compounds the reporting burden. A burden which cannot be negated as the pressure rises to adopt and be active members of these initiatives. “Being members of these initiatives and transparently reporting on assured sustainability practices are no longer a nice to have, or something driven by progressive ESG driven organizations” explains Tracey. “It is the difference between being allowed to operate, having shareholder and community trust, investment opportunities and a market in which you can sell your product.”

Drive for Industry Equivalency and streamlined reporting

With the fast pace of change and adoption of new sustainable practice requirements, 2020 has seen a drive from responsible mining initiatives and sustainability standards to map equivalencies from assurance processes and adopt cross recognition. While the mapping of equivalencies and cross recognition processes are underway, we know that this takes time and will probably only truly be realized in years to come. While the various reporting bodies continue to work towards creating mutually agreed and mapped equivalencies in their reporting requirements, the onus is on organizations optimize their processes to streamline reporting to reduce the reporting burden. Tracey proposes that this can be achieved by:

  1. Integrating eternal performance requirements into organizational management systems key performance indicators that are assessed and audited in alignment with external standards.
  2. Implementing an agile software solution that is truly integrated and has the ability for one defined input with multiple reporting outputs across the key performance indicators.
  3. Developing functionality within the software solution with flexibility to map equivalencies and cross recognition as they are developed.

“Sustainability professionals spend the majority of their time conducting audits, assurance and compiling multiple reports,” explains Tracey. “If you don’t integrate the multitude of requirements into your key performance indicators, input these into an agile software solution and map equivalencies and cross recognition, you risk being inconsistent in reporting, inefficient and consumed by the reporting burden with no time for continuous improvement. “This is where platforms like IsoMetrix have the biggest role to play,” says Tracey. “This reporting is not a task for complex spreadsheets. Having a centralized, integrated software solution with single inputs for multiple outputs cannot be understated. A software solution designed for complex Environmental, Social and Governance Reporting (ESG) is fundamental in reducing the reporting burden and streamlining reporting.

The increasing pressure on organizations to transparently disclose sustainability practices and metrics is not going to lessen. There is currently limited mapped equivalency and cross-recognition of these requirements, and while the industry is working to improve this, reporting requirements remain overbearing and poses a risk to organizations in both the complexity and financial impact.

The need for integrated management systems inclusive of the complex external reporting performance requirements and an integrated software platform in which to manage these requirements are fundamental to reducing the reporting burden. Isometrix is at the forefront of such streamlining efforts and technology developments allowing for one input with multiple outputs to streamline and reduce the reporting burden.

Interested in how other global mining companies are using technology to drive greater EHS and sustainability performance? Download our latest Mining Report to learn more:

About Tracey Jacquemin

Robin Bolton

Tracey Jacquemin is currently the Manager: HSEC Management Systems at Teck Resources. Tracey is a professionally registered Natural Scientist with the South African National Council for Scientific Professions (SACNASP) PrSciNat 400163/12 with an Honors Degree In Ecology and Environmental Conservation from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Prior to her current position, Tracey has worked across the DeBeers/ Anglo group, Worley Parsons, and Oryx Environmental in a variety of roles. She now lives in Vancouver Canada with her husband and 2 children.

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