Performance expectations

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Membership of International Council on Mining and Metals requires a commitment to our ICMM 10 Principles, and all associated performance expectations. Our performance expectations have been developed with extensive input from NGOs, international organisations and academics.

In 2003, ICMM published 10 Principles for sustainable development to inspire change in the mining and metals industry and promote improved performance. These have set a standard of good practice for our members – and in some respects also helped raise performance across the wider industry. Over time, we have augmented these with eight position statements on key issues like biodiversity, water stewardship and revenue transparency.

As the industry has improved its performance over time, societal expectations have continued to evolve. The enclosed performance expectations are the latest evolution of ICMM’s sustainability framework: setting out a comprehensive set of environmental and social requirements, including issues such as labour rights, resettlement, local content, gender, access to grievance mechanisms, mine closure, pollution and waste that will be validated at the asset level.

ICMM is currently developing guidance on how members will validate the performance expectations at the operational level including through independent third-party assessments. We expect this guidance to be complete in the middle of 2019. The guidance will be piloted during the second half of 2019 followed by full implementation across the membership.


Principle 1

Apply ethical business practices and sound systems of corporate governance and transparency to support sustainable development

1.1  Establish systems to maintain compliance with applicable law.1

1.2  Implement policies and practices to prevent bribery, corruption and to publicly disclose facilitation payments.

1.3  Implement policies and standards consistent with the ICMM policy framework.

1.4  Assign accountability for sustainability performance at the Board and/or Executive Committee level.

1.5  Disclose the value and beneficiaries of financial and in-kind political contributions whether directly or through an intermediary.


Principle 2

Integrate sustainable development in corporate strategy and decision-making processes

2.1  Integrate sustainable development principles into corporate strategy and decision-making processes relating to investments and in the design, operation and closure of facilities.

2.2  Support the adoption of responsible health and safety, environmental, human rights and labour policies and practices by joint venture partners, suppliers and contractors, based on risk.


Principle 3

Respect human rights and the interests, cultures, customs and values of employees and communities affected by our activities

3.1  Support the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by developing a policy commitment to respect human rights, undertaking human rights due diligence and providing for or cooperating in processes to enable the remediation of adverse human rights impacts that members have caused or contributed to.

3.2  Avoid the involuntary physical or economic displacement of families and communities. Where this is not possible apply the mitigation hierarchy and implement actions or remedies that address residual adverse effects to restore or improve livelihoods and standards of living of displaced people.

3.3  Implement, based on risk, a human rights and security approach consistent with the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.

3.4  Respect the rights of workers by: not employing child or forced labour, avoiding human trafficking, not assigning hazardous/dangerous work to those under 18, eliminating harassment and discrimination, respecting freedom of association and collective bargaining, and providing a mechanism to address workers grievances.

3.5  Remunerate employees with wages that equal or exceed legal requirements or represent a competitive wage within that job market (whichever is higher), and assign regular and overtime working hours within legally required limits.

3.6   Respect the rights, interests, aspirations, culture and natural resource-based livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples in project design, development and operation, apply the mitigation hierarchy to address adverse impacts, and deliver sustainable benefits for Indigenous Peoples.

3.7  Work to obtain the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples where significant adverse impacts are likely to occur – as a result of relocation, disturbance of lands and territories or of critical cultural heritage – and capture the outcomes of engagement and consent processes in agreements.

3.8  Implement policies and practices to respect the rights and interests of women and support diversity in the workplace.


Principle 4

Implement effective risk-management strategies and systems based on sound science and which account for stakeholder perceptions of risks

4.1  Assess environmental and social risks and opportunities of new projects and of significant changes to existing operations in consultation with interested and affected stakeholders, and publicly disclose assessment results.2

4.2  Undertake risk-based due diligence on conflict and human rights that aligns with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance on Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas when operating in – or sourcing from – a conflict-affected or high-risk area.

4.3  Implement risk-based controls to avoid/prevent, minimise, mitigate and/or remedy health, safety and environmental impacts to workers, local communities, cultural heritage and the natural environment, based upon a recognised international standard or management system.

4.4  Develop, maintain and test emergency response plans. Where risks to external stakeholders are significant, this should be in collaboration with potentially affected stakeholders and consistent with established industry good practice.


Principle 5

Pursue continual improvement in health and safety performance with the ultimate goal of zero harm

5.1  Implement practices aimed at continually improving workplace health and safety, and monitor performance for the elimination of workplace fatalities, serious injuries and prevention of occupational diseases, based upon a recognised international standard or management system.

5.2  Provide workers with training in accordance with their responsibilities for health and safety, and implement health surveillance and risk-based monitoring programmes based on occupational exposures.


Principle 6

Pursue continual improvement in environmental performance issues, such as water stewardship, energy use and climate change

6.1  Plan and design for closure in consultation with relevant authorities and stakeholders, implement measures to address closure-related environmental and social aspects, and make financial provision to enable agreed closure and post-closure commitments to be realised.

6.2  Implement water stewardship practices that provide for strong and transparent water governance, effective and efficient management of water at operations, and collaboration with stakeholders at a catchment level to achieve responsible and sustainable water use.

6.3  Design, construct, operate, monitor and decommission tailings disposal/storage facilities using comprehensive, risk-based management and governance practices in line with internationally recognised good practice, to minimise the risk of catastrophic failure.3

6.4  Apply the mitigation hierarchy to prevent pollution, manage releases and waste, and address potential impacts on human health and the environment.

6.5  Implement measures to improve energy efficiency and contribute to a low-carbon future, and report the outcomes based on internationally recognised protocols for measuring CO2 equivalent (GHG) emissions.


Principle 7

Contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and integrated approaches to land-use planning

7.1  Neither explore nor develop new mines in World Heritage sites, respect legally designated protected areas, and design and operate any new operations or changes to existing operations to be compatible with the value for which such areas were designated.

7.2  Assess and address risks and impacts to biodiversity and ecosystem services by implementing the mitigation hierarchy, with the ambition of achieving no net loss of biodiversity.4


Principle 8

Facilitate and support the knowledge-base and systems for responsible design, use, re-use, recycling and disposal of products containing metals and minerals

8.1  In project design, operation and de-commissioning, implement cost-effective measures for the recovery, re-use or recycling of energy, natural resources and materials.

8.2  Assess the hazards of the products of mining according to UN Globally Harmonised System of Hazard Classification and Labelling or equivalent relevant regulatory systems and communicate through safety data sheets and labelling as appropriate.


Principle 9

Pursue continual improvement in social performance and contribute to the social, economic and institutional development of host countries and communities

9.1  Implement inclusive approaches with local communities to identify their development priorities and support activities that contribute to their lasting social and economic wellbeing, in partnership with government, civil society and development agencies, as appropriate.

9.2  Enable access by local enterprises to procurement and contracting opportunities across the project life-cycle, both directly and by encouraging larger contractors and suppliers, and also by supporting initiatives to enhance economic opportunities for local communities.

9.3  Conduct stakeholder engagement based upon an analysis of the local context and provide local stakeholders with access to effective mechanisms for seeking resolution of grievances related to the company and its activities.

9.4  Collaborate with government, where appropriate, to support improvements in environmental and social practices of local Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM).


Principle 10

Proactively engage key stakeholders on sustainable development challenges and opportunities in an open and transparent manner. Effectively report and independently verify progress and performance

10.1  Identify and engage with key corporate-level external stakeholders on sustainable development issues in an open and transparent manner.

10.2  Publicly support the implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and compile information on all material payments, at the appropriate levels of government, by country and by project.

10.3  Report annually on economic, social and environmental performance at the corporate level using the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards.

10.4  Each year, conduct independent assurance of sustainability performance following the ICMM guidance on assuring and verifying membership requirements.

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1. ICMM’s member companies already comply with all applicable law in the countries that they operate in. However, many stakeholders say they want mining companies to show that they have strong systems that ensure legal compliance.

2. These should cover issues such as air, water, biodiversity, noise and vibration, health, safety, human rights, gender, cultural heritage and economic issues. The consultation process should be gender sensitive and inclusive of marginalised and vulnerable groups.

3. Riverine tailings, freshwater lake and/or shallow marine tailings disposal may be considered only if deemed to be the most environmentally and socially sound alternative, based on an objective and rigorous environmental and social impact assessment of tailings management alternatives. The scope of the assessment should be agreed between the member company and the host government.

4. The ambition of no net loss applies to new projects and major expansions to existing projects that impact biodiversity and ecosystem services.