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SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

With our strong focus on sustainable development there is great potential for ICMM to support the mining and metals industry in making an important and lasting contribution towards the UN’s global goals. We work with members and partners to catalyse lasting social and economic progress that supports an end to poverty, protects the planet and ensures prosperity for all.

SDG8 calls for policies and strategies that enable economic diversification, job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, while decoupling economic growth from environmental impact.

Over 800 million people still live in extreme poverty and almost a third of the world’s population still lives on the equivalent of about US$3 a day. Many of these are employees so having a job often doesn’t guarantee an escape from poverty. A lack of decent work opportunities erodes the social contract underlying democratic societies: that everyone must share in progress. Sustainable economic growth depends on creating the conditions that allow people to have decent jobs that stimulate the economy while not harming the environment. In addition, there will be 30 million new entrants to the labour market each year from 2016 to 2030, intensifying the need for enhanced employment opportunities.

How is this relevant to mining and metals?

The direct employment generated by large-scale mining is often limited, although locally very important. In general, jobs in large-scale mining are also well paid and come with a range of benefits. However, mining also has potential to create large economic multipliers for example through local procurement. Where mining is significant in the economic life of a country, it can boost GDP by a number of percentage points. For growth to be fully inclusive, it requires government to effectively manage revenues from mining and encourage linkages to the broader economy.

What companies need to know to manage impacts or make a positive contribution

  1. The skills-base local to their operations and opportunities to provide employment, training, or to support local procurement.

  2. The likely economic impact of their presence on local communities (both positive and negative) and how to manage or mitigate adverse impacts where these arise.

  3. The capacity of government to collect and manage large revenue flows, and the scope to strengthen transparency or government capacity where appropriate.

Minimising negative impacts

Maximising positive contributions

  • Communicate early and widely the capital-intensive (rather than labour-intensive) nature of mining to help manage expectations.

  • Provide non-discriminatory and equal opportunity employment and contracting opportunities, with an emphasis on local hires.

  • Work with contractors to ensure the company’s commitments to non-discrimination and equal opportunity employment are understood and applied.

  • Ensure no child labour or forced labour is used within the company supply chain.

  • Commit to ambitious local employment and procurement targets and invest in capacity to supply the mine with labour, goods, services and materials.
  • Collaborate with government, aid agencies and other companies to enhance broader economic development opportunities.
  • Invest in the capacity of host communities to become economically productive beyond the mine life.
  • Actively engage in initiatives to support transparency and governance such as EITI (the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) to enhance revenue management.