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SDG10: Reduced Inequalities

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.

SDG10 calls for sustained income growth that favours the bottom 40 per cent of populations, and the economic empowerment of all - regardless of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, religion or economic or other status.

Although progress to reduce poverty has been impressive globally, the most vulnerable nations – the least developed countries, the landlocked developing countries and the small island developing states – have been slower to make inroads to reduce poverty. And while income inequality between countries has decreased, inequality within countries has risen. Income disparities can only be reduced by addressing broader societal issues of inequality of opportunity. This requires a focus on inclusive economic opportunities that extend to disadvantaged and marginalised populations.

How is this relevant to mining and metals?

While mining has helped to reduce poverty in many countries, many mineral dependent countries still experience inequality, which can lead to social unrest and erosion of the company’s social licence to operate. While governments are primarily responsible for reducing inequality through policies and redistributive mechanisms, mining companies can actively promote inclusion through local employment and procurement and through supporting livelihood diversification. They can also embrace an inclusive approach to community consultation and participation in decision-making.

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

  1. Existing levels of inequality within host countries and the main factors that influence inequality.

  2. What policies or initiatives exist to reduce inequality and how the company might usefully play a supportive role.

  3. How the company’s own presence risks exacerbating inequality and what steps can be taken to mitigate this.

Minimising negative impacts

Maximising positive contributions

  • Establish baseline statistics on inequality before commencing operations, and update periodically (eg through household surveys).

  • Be sensitive to disparities between mining wages and local wages and how this might exacerbate inequality.

  • Target marginalised groups who might otherwise be excluded from local economic benefits with training and recruitment opportunities.

  • Work with other partners to actively target investments, procurement, employment and training opportunities within marginalised populations.

  • Encourage participatory budgeting within local communities, both for corporate social investments and for mining revenues.

  • Target marginalised groups who might otherwise be excluded with local procurement opportunities.