Are Canada’s PDAC and MAC embracing GRI?

PDAC is initiating a GRI compatible reporting platform.  MAC may integrate TSM within other frameworks. Will this catalyze new growth in sustainability reporting in the mining sector?

In October 2010, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) initiated the development of a new accountability and reporting platform for its e3 Plus: A Framework for Responsible Exploration. The acronym e3 stands for excellence in exploration in three ways: social responsibility; environmental stewardship; and health and safety. According to a recent Request for Proposal issued by PDAC, the key design features for PDAC’s accountability and reporting platform will include the creation of performance indicators and reporting criteria. The new platform will also be designed to be compatible with the GRI and its Mining and Metals Sector Supplement. This is not a new development as I have blogged previously (PDAC steals show at GRI session on MMSS). PDAC deserves commendation for its efforts to bridge the sustainability reporting gap between the mining majors and the exploration/junior sector.

In its January 2010 bulletin, the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) announced its plans to examine the potential to integrate its Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) program within other reporting frameworks and the international application of TSM. Although the sustainability reporting framework of GRI is not specifically mentioned, it seems reasonable to assume that GRI is on MAC’s short list. After all, GRI provides the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting framework. GRI has already been adopted by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM). And many of MAC’s 29 mining member companies – many also ICMM members - are already sustainability reporters and use the GRI reporting framework. No doubt, MAC will need to consider how to maintain the value of its verification process attached to TSM, which is not available within a plain vanilla GRI reporting system, and may require adoption of other assurance processes.

As detailed in an

article published in Magazine (Sustainability Reporting using GRI Lessons Learned), the Canadian Government’s March 2009 publication of a CSR strategy for Canadian International Extractives has been one of the recent sustainability re-porting drivers in the mining sector.

Do you feel that adopting a GRI compatible reporting framework may be too onerous or perhaps add only limited value to the exploration/junior mining sector? Will adopting GRI complement or dilution MAC’s TSM-related verification system? Or will these new developments add more parallel internal/external review/audit/verification/assurance processes which seem to leave little time to get on with core business activities?