4 ways mining companies can use ESG reporting software

Published on 
November 1, 2021
Best practices

With the world’s attention shifting from the pandemic to the climate crisis, businesses are under increased scrutiny to act as responsible corporate citizens.

In mining and mineral extraction, minimizing the impact on communities, wildlife and the environment, maintaining strong stakeholder relationships and accounting for sustainability issues in long-term planning have become an integral part of operations.

In response to this challenge, more and more mining companies are turning to sustainability reporting as a way to balance profit with benefits for people and the planet.

Here are four things that your mining organization can accomplish using specialized environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting software:

1. Measure your sites’ performance more efficiently

One of the biggest challenges for mining companies is finding a way to efficiently collect ESG data from multiple extraction sites and put together an overview of their performance. Companies that are just starting out tend to use spreadsheets to process their data, but they quickly find that such a manual system can severely limit the way they collaborate across teams, validate their data and update their performance indicators over time.

By using specialized ESG reporting software, collaborators at every one of your sites can input a wide range of information, and managers can track their team’s progress, receive automatic notifications for unusual variations and approve data entries every step of the way. With this ability to calculate more metrics than through generic tools, you might choose to measure how you’re performing in regards to:

  • social issues, like workforce diversity, community relationships, and worker health and safety
  • environment-related issues, like noise pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity preservation, and water, energy, waste and tailings management
  • governance-related issues, like legal and ethical compliance, transparency, anti-bribery and corruption

Once you know the facts, you can better rank these issues based on how material—or important—they are to your company, track your progress for each issue and use the results to update your sustainability and operational strategy.

2. Unlock trends, risks and opportunities

According to Nelson Bennett from Business in Vancouver, “Investors look to ESG performance and ratings as a proxy for good management and risk mitigation. It is essentially a playbook for decreasing risks a company might face in a country where it plans to build and operate a mine — from carbon emissions intensity and mine tailings management to indigenous relations and worker safety.”

With specialized ESG reporting software, you can use visual dashboards to analyze the field data collected by your teams and identify trends, risks, opportunities and other actionable insights into your sites’ performance.

For instance, your ESG tool could help you pinpoint ways to mitigate risks, such as: 

  • Putting in place measures to prevent failed tailings dams and environmental pollution and to protect worker health and safety
  • Using resources more efficiently to keep operations sustainable and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Consulting Indigenous and other communities to avoid disruptions, especially in North America, where reconciliation is top of mind
  • Making sure minerals are extracted responsibly, without child labour or armed conflict in your supply chain, for instance
  • Planning infrastructure for climate-related disasters, like flooding or forest fires

It could also reveal opportunities for your company to improve its operational efficiency or touch on other indirect benefits, such as:

  • Saving on energy bills and keeping its long-term activities sustainable and using resources more efficiently
  • Making mine closures more viable
  • Accessing financing more easily by maintaining solid stakeholder relationships
  • Attracting and retaining talent by building a positive reputation as a sustainable company

Once you’ve identified areas of improvement, you can also easily generate detailed, on-demand reports to help your decision-makers rank your activities and develop an action plan with clear ESG objectives to help your organization drive positive change.

Man wearing a hard hat facing giant mining truck
Rust-coloured quarry

3. Standardize your ESG reports and have your performance validated

Setting and tracking internal business objectives is essential to any organization. When it comes to being accountable to investors and transparent with the public, more and more mining companies are setting measurable sustainability targets based on benchmarks for responsible mining practices. Mining-specific frameworks and standards include:

  • The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA)
  • Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM)
  • The Responsible Mining Index Framework
  • The International Council for Mining and Metals (ICMM)
  • The IFC's Environmental and Social Performance Standards 
  • Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (ICMM/UNEP/PRI) 
  • The Canadian Dam Association’s Dam Safety Guidelines 

Many mining organizations are also disclosing their ESG performance based on internationally recognized sustainability frameworks, including SASB, CDP, GRI and TCFD.

With ESG reporting software, you can create a framework index that links directly to specific sections of your sustainability report. Independent auditors, rating agencies and regulators can then refer to your interactive index to quickly validate that your sites are operating responsibly based on industry-specific benchmarks.

Once you’ve had your results validated, you can confidently share your organization’s progress with your stakeholders.

4. Get your stakeholders and collaborators more engaged

According to an EY study and a BDO survey, “[...] losing social support, or social license to operate (SOL) is now seen as the main risk mining firms are facing. [...] Stakeholders are demanding stronger engagement, transparency, and accountability, to the point where a social license will soon be akin to a mining permit.”

These growing public expectations are pushing mining companies to look for more effective ways to share information with all of their stakeholders, from workers and local communities to shareholders, insurers and governments.

By using ESG reporting software with built-in communications tools, you’ll be able to better keep your stakeholders apprised of your performance. For instance, instead of generating a static PDF report that gives them a very limited snapshot of your progress, you can publish an interactive online website that’s linked directly to your database. That way, your stakeholders will be able to explore your sustainability story, read graphs and tables that are updated in real time and stay engaged with your organization.

Walker, David. "ESG Insights: How to tackle ESG risks and opportunities in the Mining industry?" SLR Consulting. Visited October 20, 2021.

Id. "ESG Insights: What does ESG mean for the Mining industry?" SLR Consulting. Visited October 20, 2021.

Id. "ESG Insights: Four reasons why the Mining industry should act on ESG" SLR Consulting. Visited October 20, 2021.

Davy, Aidan. "A new ESG mining standard will help drive responsible production" ICMM. Published February 22, 2019 in the Financial Times. Visited October 20, 2021.

Amorosi, Aaron and Cavan, Scott. "The Future of Mining & ESG: 3 Key Questions to Shape the Future" ERM Group. Published March 8, 2021 on Watershed Partners. Visited October 20, 2021.

Mills, Rick. "ESG seen as biggest risk to mining industry" Mining.com. Published April 15, 2021. Visited October 20, 2021.

Wish you could streamline the way you measure, improve and communicate your ESG performance?