Earlier this week, representatives from Newmont joined over 22,000 industry professionals in Toronto, Canada, for the 85th annual Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) International Convention, Trade Show & Investors Exchange.
On the first day of the conference, Newmont’s Executive Vice President, Sustainability and External Relations, Dr. Elaine Dorward-King, shared her insights as part of a panel discussion on the dynamics of trust between the industry and its host communities. The CSR event series session, titled Where is the trust? Redefining mining’s ‘social contract’, brought industry thought leaders together to share perspectives on how governments, civil societies and companies can work to optimize the benefits of mining and foster trust with host communities.
Panel moderator Aiden Davy, Chief Operation Officer of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), kicked off the session by asking the group – which included Dr. Dorward-King; Sheila Khama, Practice Manager, Energy and Extractive, for the World Bank Group; Ray Offenheiser, CEO and President of Oxfam America; and Chris Coulter, co-CEO of GlobeScan – what factors influence the dynamics of trust between the industry and its host societies.
In response, Dr. Dorward-King highlighted transparency as a significant factor in influencing trust: “It’s important that we are not only transparent about information but that we are also being transparent about our intentions and our planning.”
Newmont’s stakeholder agreements are a key way to make a complex relationship between community and company more transparent. These agreements help to clarify how the relationship will work and align expectations to outcomes, in areas such as employment, procurement and community development.
When asked how governments, civil society and companies can work together to respond to and redefine mining’s social contract, Dr. Dorward-King reinforced the importance of formalized “social contracts” in the form of collaborative agreements. “Crafting agreements over time, with adequate consultation and a truly participatory process, clarifies and outlines what the expectations are.”
To close out the discussion, she emphasized the practice of reporting as an effective way to foster trust with stakeholders: “Reporting to the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines holds Newmont accountable – to our commitments, to driving performance forward and to doing the things that we say we will do through a very rigorous, external third-party verified process.”