Environmental Responsibility

    The Environmental Responsibility thematic area focuses on the environmental impacts associated with mining. Environmental Responsibility indicators assess the extent to which companies are meeting their responsibilities to systematically prevent, avoid, mitigate and manage their impacts on, among other issues, air quality, water quality and quantity, and biodiversity as well as their greenhouse gas emissions and noise and vibration resulting from their activities.

    Average of the best scores achieved collectively by all companies for each one of the indicators under the thematic area

    Average of the scores achieved by each one of the companies under this thematic area

    Commitment (2 indicators)
    Action (7 indicators)
    Effectiveness (5 indicators)

    The 0.00-6.00 scale is the scoring scale used in the assessment.

    Summary of results

    As with the other thematic areas, company results in Environmental Responsibility tend to be stronger for showing evidence of commitments than actions or performance monitoring (effectiveness). In this case, most companies have made formalised commitments to manage their environmental impacts systematically. Aside from these commitments, the strongest result is on the disclosure of information on the location and safety of tailings storage facilities. These disclosures are directly linked to an external initiative: the request sent to mining companies by the Mining & Tailings Safety Initiative jointly led by the Church of England Pensions Board and the Swedish Council of Ethics of the AP Funds, requesting information on tailings storage facilities. This request for transparency on tailings management was made following the catastrophic failure of the Brumadinho tailings dam in Brazil in January 2019.

    In general, companies show little evidence of tracking and reviewing their performance on managing issues such as water consumption and water quality, biodiversity, greenhouse gases and energy consumption. In some cases, there has even been a drop-off in results compared with those seen in the RMI Report 2018: for example, earlier targets have not been updated, or there is no evidence of companies following up on recent reviews or on continuous improvement programmes. This confirms that effectiveness requires persistent efforts on the part of companies.

    Leading practices in Environmental Responsibility include an innovative use of a legacy mine site to provide water for local farmers, public disclosure of environmental incidents, and inclusion of Scope 3 emissions in greenhouse gases reporting.