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An analysis of sustainable development reporting in the mining industry

A mine of information


A mine of informationMetals and mining companies, like all businesses, focus on financial viability and profitability. Layered across this are numerous sustainability challenges that, for the largest companies at least, are well recognised. The sector’s environmental and social footprint can be significant, with impacts at local, regional, national and global levels.

As a primary industry driven by metal and mineral geology and thus frequently operating in remote and non-industrialsed part of the world, sustainable development performance has been under the spotlight for several years. In response, many companies have taken large strides to manage and report on relevant issues and the sector has become one of the top sustainable development ("SD") reporters, producing 800 reports since 1992.

This publication sets out the findings of research undertaken into the current reporting practices in the sector, looking at what the best reporters are doing well, and providing pointers for those companies that have not yet fully embraced the SD reporting challenge. The 36 mining companies covered by the survey reflect the range of company sizes and geographical coverage within the industry and is based on the reports available in July 2006. The sample comprises 19 large companies with market capitalisation between US$ 860m to 5b, 2 small companies with market capitalisation up to US$ 860m and 5 non-listed companies.

The broad picture of the areas for SD reporting was established by the Global Reporting Initiative "(GRI") guidelines for the mining sector, endorsed by the International Council on Mining & Metals "(ICMM") and has been widely used by top reporters. UNEP, Sustainability and Standard and Poors analysis and ranking of non-financial reporting found that all of the top 50 referenced the GRI, with 24 stating they were in accordance with it. Our survey found that 16 of the 34 mining companies reviewed used the GRI, including 9 using the specifically developed GRI mining supplement.

For further information, download our publication  An analysis of sustainable development reporting in the mining industry (PDF, 425 KB).

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