Towards Sustainable Mining: Made in Canada, Going Global
The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) and a growing list of national mining associations that began with FinnMin are leading in sustainable mining practices through the Towards Sustainable Mining® (TSM) program. First established in 2004, MAC developed TSM with the goal of enabling mining companies to meet society’s needs for minerals, metals and energy products in the most socially, economically and environmentally responsible way.
Overseen by a network of national independent Community-of-Interest Panels consisting of Indigenous communities, environmental organizations, labour representatives, finance, local mining communities, social and faith-based organizations and academics, TSM goes beyond principles and requires mining companies to annually assess, publicly report and verify their performance at the facility level. Performance is evaluated across a set of detailed environmental and social performance standards, including climate change, tailings management, water stewardship, Indigenous and community relationships, safety and health, biodiversity conservation, crisis management and preventing child and forced labour. TSM helps drive performance improvement where it counts — at the site level — and contributes to securing support for our activities from the communities where we operate.
Other jurisdictions are taking note of the program’s success, specifically the way it is enhancing business and consumer confidence in the way companies mine. Since its inception, eight national mining associations on five continents, starting with Finland in 2015, have adopted TSM to improve performance in their domestic mining sectors and it is encouraging to see interest in sustainable mining standards growing at an increasingly rapid pace.TSM is also being implemented in Norway, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Botswana and the Philippines, with more mining associations expected to sign on this year.
As TSM continues to grow, it is capturing the attention of investors and customers.TSM has been integrated into the way Sustainalytics, a prominent ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) ratings agency, evaluates tailings management and at least two provincial pension funds in Canada and one of its largest banks have begun referencing TSM in their annual ESG reporting.Apple was the first to reference TSM in their Supplier Responsibility Standards and TSM is working with ResponsibleSteel, a steel supply chain standard, to ensure the raw materials going into steel are responsibly sourced.
The combination of the current pandemic and the ongoing energy transition have made it abundantly clear that our industry is at a tipping point when it comes to both the need for our materials and the necessity of sourcing them responsibly. Countries like Finland and Canada, by embracing TSM, are leading the way as responsible suppliers of the mined materials so essential to the planet’s future and our collective well-being.
President and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada