I had a long standing bet with one of Ethical Corporation’s original investors a decade ago that one day we’d run successful conferences on ethics in the oil and mining industries. He scoffed. I won, eventually.
Here’s some of the key findings from today’s opening session, which featured speakers representing Rio Tinto, ERM and AngloGold Ashanti, together with a lot of audience participation and insight:
- Responsible management is fast in extractives evolving as society asks business for ever more.
- Companies need to consider both Exogenous and Endogenous risks:
Endogenous – Risks which are created in, or by the company.
Exogenous – Risks which are beyond the company’s control, but which can affect them.
(Global food security and how it affects community relations in Africa is a good example of an exogenous risk)
- Just as embedding a safety culture is “horizontal“, so is embedding sustainability. We forget this often.
- Stakeholder engagement must be embedded across both senior management and operational teams as a management paradigm: or face the consequences.
- Companies in the extractives sector often “treat their tyres better than their trust“. A fundamental mistake.
- In extractive and engineering projects, sustainability related delays are three times more significant than technical delays.
- In current stakeholder engagement practice, companies have been asking narrow, self defined questions and not open, listening-oriented questions.
- “Putting CSR into stage gates” is one way of embedding it better: Put CR risk up there with the project checks and balances in management.
- “Social geology” is a new way of looking at this problem: Understanding the layers and complexities of society as well as the make-up of the ground we dig into.
The conference continues tomorrow. More, here.