Can CSR in Mining deliver MDG and Reputational Lift?

On March 6, 2010, the Canadian CSR Councilor, Marketa Evans, delivered her key note speech on 21st Century CSR at the Mining, People and Environment event which preceded the Prospector & Developer Association of Canada’s (PDAC) convention in Toronto. Her comments provided some food for thought and raised interesting discussions.

Ms Evans – the Canadian CSR Councellor at the Department for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) - concluded that CSR was neither a fad nor a silver bullet. She considered it to be an integral element of modern mining which can meet profitability and other stakeholder expectations.

Reflecting on her work in the NGO sector, Ms Evans noted that the mining sector was “an ideal sustainable development partner.” Given capacity, long term horizon, captured nature of assets, and influence in emerging markets, she felt that the mining sector can play a leading role in enabling and delivering on the UN Millennium Development Goals. Ms Evans also noted that the mining industry does not need to do more, but do it a smarter way. In particular, she singled out the need to work more collaboratively with other sectors.  

I would like to leave you with two of Ms Evans’ observations and wonder how you feel about them: First, that framing CSR only in terms of risk management is not a very compelling vision for others to get on board. Second, the prevalence of mistaken assumptions that performance improvement speak for themselves.