Stakeholders have higher sustainability expectations this year. Gold miners in particular have received increased attention throughout the pandemic. Although many of these companies have been reporting to global frameworks (GRI, SASB, CDP, etc.) for many years, most industry-specific frameworks are relatively recent. However, there has been substantial growth in the number of gold miners reporting per these industry-specific frameworks as well as increased importance in the use of general global frameworks.
Industry-specific frameworks include ones founded by the World Gold Council such as Conflict Free Gold and the Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RGMPs) as well as others such as the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA). Global frameworks include SASB, CDP, TCFD, GRI, among others.
Gold miners see a need to respond to both of these types of frameworks for different reasons. Industry-specific ones are obviously more tailored to their day to day business (with the possible exception of SASB), while global frameworks are more recognizable outside the mining sector.
In the current macroeconomic scene, with the commodity and its miners being seen as a good refuge during the pandemic, investor attention is at an all time high. This increased attention adds to the mounting pressure for better ESG reporting transparency and practices.
Juggling the current situation is an enormous challenge for every industry. For gold miners in particular, everything from increased protocols linked to COVID-19 safety to supply chain issues have been a lot to handle. However, these organizations should also see this as a hefty opportunity. The industry has continued to perform, even flourish in some cases. Gold miners are in a position to invest in improving sustainability governance and processes, implementing green and social projects and, of course, ESG reporting.
As pressure to report ESG performance continues throughout industries, gold miners are making moves to become more data driven. This is leading to better corporate responsibility, reporting and governance.
Additionally, regulatory procedures are substantial in many territories, meaning there are a lot of data collection, initiatives and reporting practices that already adhere to stakeholder expectations. If these practices are not properly transmitted to wider stakeholders, these can get the wrong impression of the impact mining has. ESG rating agencies in particular are known for rounding down scores when not enough information is available (Berg et al., 2020). In these cases, a platform such a Metrio helps to centralize and then present the entire picture externally.
“Eldorado leverages Metrio’s capabilities for ESG data reporting to collect, analyze and disclose our performance and progress to a range of stakeholders.”
Stefan Parker, Advisor, Sustainability, Eldorado Gold
Metrio’s mining clients are using the system for many diverse goals.
For example, Eldorado Gold, a gold miner based out of Vancouver, Canada, uses Metrio for several different reasons.
Primarily, their account focuses on reporting purposes, centralizing their information for different frameworks and ESG rating agencies into one location. Eldorado’s users, at their multiple sites around the world, use Metrio as a truth-teller where their data and definitions on sustainability are located. They enter data points, which then get approved by another user at the corporate level. All communication, data additions and modifications within the system are always tracked for future reference.
Once approved, the data is then calculated and presented through indicators that are relevant for the different frameworks. Knowing that the frameworks sometimes overlap, Metrio indicators are dynamic and can be filtered, organized and exported as needed.
There are also plans to take advantage of Metrio’s communication platform in order to highlight Eldorado’s sustainability strategy and data publicly.
Berg et al., (September 28th, 2020), Aggregate Confusion: The Divergence of ESG Ratings; University of Zurich & MIT Sloan School of Management; Page 17
Kuykendall (Sept. 28th 2020); Gold miners increasing focus on ESG, but challenges remain; S&P Global
Frank et al. (Sept. 20th 2020); With Gold Rallying, Mining CEOs Say ESG Scrutiny Is Intensifying; BNN Bloomberg
Millet (Sept. 1st 2020); Meeting new investor expectations with ESG reporting; Canadian Mining Journal
Hume & Sanderson (October 19th 2020); Gold chief calls for common ESG reporting standard; Financial Times