Network for Sustainable Mining
In 2011, as follow-up to the ministerial action plan Making Finland a leader in the sustainable extractive industry, Sitra started preparing a new focus area to strengthen cooperation between the mining industry and its stakeholders. As a result, work started in 2013 on building and operating the self-regulating Network for Sustainable Mining. The network consists of representatives from the mining industry, environmental organisations, the finance sector, the tourism sector, reindeer farming, agriculture and forestry, and labour organisations.
The network’s activities will promote Finland as a leader in sustainable mining and make the country an attractive investment location – in which successful mining not only addresses environmental values but also takes into account the needs of cultural and social communities, as well as other businesses and organisations. The network provides a neutral forum for the mining industry to interact with its stakeholders, and thus to foster open dialogue and trust between industry and society.
Finnish Industry Investment a network member
FII has been a member of the Network for Sustainable Mining from the start. The core of the network comprises altogether 15 representatives of different organisations. In February 2015, Ms Hannele Pokka was elected to chair the network.
The network also has working groups that focus on specific practical topics such as preventing environmental impacts, reporting and local practices. Experts from various stakeholder organisations, both industrial and from other fields, serve in these work groups.
Since the network started operating Kimmo Viertola, Investment Director at Finnish Industry Investment, has represented finance providers:
Why is FII involved in the Network for Sustainable Mining?
Finnish Industry Investment invests responsibly, so it’s important to discuss the impacts of mining with the different stakeholders and to understand the expectations of the parties involved in or affected by mining. The cooperation has been extremely constructive, and in the network I have highlighted the expectations that financiers and investors have towards the various stakeholders with regard to the development of mining projects.
What special features does the Finnish mining industry have, and what is important for corporate responsibility in mining?
A special feature in all industrial operations is the abundance of Finland’s densely-situated surface waters and lakes. Finland has bodies of water throughout the country, and they are used by all businesses and organisations.
Ecological transparency and licensing efficiency in the operating environment of mining companies need to be enhanced. To this end, the network is drafting a reporting template that mining companies can use to voluntarily provide information about their operational impacts on their nearby environment.
What opportunities or benefits does promoting corporate responsibility offer companies in the mining sector?
Open interaction builds trust between the mining industry and its stakeholders. This, in turn, strengthens the framework for sustainable mining.
Companies are offered self-motivated reporting and a supplementary rating system. Canada, for example, uses a similar procedure. Reporting and open interaction bring transparency to companies’ operations, and also facilitate comparison of the environmental impacts of different sectors.
What are the network’s main achievements so far?
The various reporting instructions have progressed in the working groups to the stage where they are scheduled for completion in 2015. The aim is that companies create over the next few years a reporting package that is effective and contains useful data.
The network is now settling into a post-launch pattern of established work practices. Its greatest achievement to date is the creation of an open and constructive forum for dialogue between stakeholders.