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Navigating Mining’s ESG Reporting Landscape: New Developments and Standards Convergence

Investors and stakeholders are increasingly demanding high quality, consistent data on company environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance. On a global level, the newly formed International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) seeks to unify the fragmented world of sustainability reporting frameworks into a single, coherent baseline of standards endorsed by IOSCO and the G20.

At the industry level, groups like the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) drive member accountability along comprehensive ESG principles and guidance tailored for the mining sector.

The establishment of the ISSB marks a watershed moment for ESG disclosure standardization that promises to accelerate convergence. Evidence of this being the Taskforce on Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recent disbanding, with the IFRS’s ISSB incorporating the work of the TCFD in its standard release IFRS S2 Climate-related Disclosures.

Meanwhile, the recently published recommendations from the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) has developed a set of disclosure recommendations and guidance for organisations to report and act on evolving nature-related dependencies, impacts, risks and opportunities. We wouldn’t be surprised then, to see the TNFD subsumed by the IFRS/ISSB in coming years when it matures.

The consolidation of leading standards like SASB and CDSB brings big business, regulators, NGOs, and investors together around a shared vision of useful sustainability information anchored in enterprise value. The first published standards cover climate and general sustainability issues most material for enterprise risk management and future performance. Regulator and stock exchange support will encourage ISSB adoption.

In mining, the ICMM has long championed performance expectations through mandatory principles for its many member companies spanning ethical, social, environmental, and governance responsibilities. A non-exhaustive display of ICMM member companies are shown below:

ICMM sees enormous value in convergence around a single global standard for responsible mining as it would:

  • Drive up ESG standards across the sector;

  • Reduce the audit burden for the members;

  • Simplify the landscape for stakeholders including customers and investors.

Backed by third-party reviews, this sector-specific guidance induces members to go beyond legal minimums by incorporating UN Guiding Principles and other globally recognized standards. In September 2023, the ICMM published its Scope 3 Emissions Accounting and Reporting Guidance, which has been developed to provide a standardised framework for the calculation and reporting of mining companies’ Scope 3 emissions. This is the latest evolution in an aspect of emissions reduction that is sure to shake up inbound and outbound supply chains.

In breaking news, The Copper Mark, Mining Association of Canada, ICMM and the World Gold Council announced their intention to work together to consolidate their respective responsible mining standards into one single standard.

The ISSB can foster consistency, comparability and accountability in mainstream reporting. Groups like ICMM offer robust sectoral guidance aligned with international norms. The consolidation of languages and concepts across mandatory principles and voluntary standards points toward an emerging consensus model for mining companies and broader industries to improve transparency and sustainable development stewardship for society’s benefit.

For assistance navigating your ESG strategy through this emerging standards landscape, and collecting, managing, analysing and reporting on ESG data and metrics, contact MMS.

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