For Goldcorp Inc., one of the world’s largest gold producers with operations throughout the Americas, sustainable and responsible mining is a company-wide commitment. We aspire to be a leader in finding innovative ways to create long-lasting social and economic benefits through every phase of the mining lifecycle – from exploration to operation to the eventual closure and reclamation of a mine. Ultimately, we strive to make sure that the places where we operate are left in as good or better condition than how we found them.
To make our commitments a reality, we’ve established international guidelines, standards and benchmarks to help us set our objectives and track progress. These include the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), the World Gold Council’s Conflict Free Gold Standard, and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). In 2015, the UN and its member states adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which address issues such as poverty, inequality and justice, and climate change. The goals are ambitious, but they provide an important framework for government, industry and communities to collaborate and achieve progress – together – by the year 2030.
As a signatory to the UNGC, Goldcorp embarked on a materiality analysis to understand issues of key importance to our diverse set of stakeholders, and then mapped our top issues, internal initiatives and strategies to the SDGs. This mapping exercise helped us to understand where synergies exist, where gaps should be addressed, and how our current activities can support the achievement of the Goals. As a result, we’ll be better able to align our efforts with the SDGs over time, in areas such as environmental protection, human rights, education and community building.
While there are multiple SDGs that Goldcorp identified as aligning with our corporate priorities, a few in particular emerged among our most material topics.
Goal #4: Education – Ensure Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education and Promote Lifelong Learning Opportunities for All
Having worked for many years in partnership with communities to improve access to training and skills development, we’ve seen first-hand just how important education can be in creating sustainable legacies. Some of our most innovative educational programs are the first of their kind, such as AMSTEP, a partnership with
the Oshki-Pimache-O-Win Education and Training Institute (OSHKI) to provide career skills to Aboriginal youth in signatory communities of the Musselwhite Agreement in Ontario, Canada. The program involves five months of intensive training and work experience to earn industry-recognized accreditation. The experience is uniquely immersive for students, exposing them to daily mining activity from surface to underground operations. For the community of Carrizalillo near our Los Filos site in Mexico, Goldcorp created a local scholarship program, constructed a kindergarten classroom and community computer center with equipment and internet access, and also improved sanitation in the local primary school.
Goals #7 and #13: Energy and Climate – Ensure Access to Affordable, Reliable, Sustainable and Modern Energy for All, and Take Urgent Action to Combat Climate Change and Its Impacts
Mining is energy-intensive; however, there is great potential in our industry to invest in energy efficiency measures, incorporate renewable energy into our power supply and reduce our carbon footprint. Goldcorp’s Energy Stewardship Strategy ensures that we continue to take active steps to manage our energy use and minimize greenhouse gas emissions. We have made significant progress, with GHG emissions trending downward both on an absolute basis and intensity, since 2013. At our Musselwhite mine, reducing base load electrical consumption and managing peak demand allowed the mine to eliminate the use of diesel in production, which saved approximately 13,000 tonnes of CO2 in 2015 alone.
Goal #12: Consumption – Ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns
Goldcorp has made several advances in minimizing the waste generated from the mining process and improving the way we transport, use and dispose of waste. Key among these initiatives is a comprehensive Tailings Stewardship Strategy implemented in 2015 as part of our Sustainability Excellence Management System. At our reclaimed Equity Silver site in British Columbia, Canada, we introduced automated monitoring to track information on water levels, pore water pressure, structural integrity of the tailings dam, and other important parameters in real-time, in order to ensure tailings dam safety and reliability. If the pilot program is successful, this innovation will be evaluated for deployment at all of Goldcorp’s sites.
Goal #16: Peace & Justice – Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies
Last year, we updated our Human Rights Policy to reflect the changing social context in which we operate. Our revised policy better defines Goldcorp’s good business practices as well as our external commitments to the ICMM, the UNGC and the World Gold Council’s Conflict Free Gold Standard. New additions to this policy include clauses on community consultation, grievance mechanisms, resettlement planning, and potential measures in the event of non-compliance.
When we update our policies, each of our sites is trained on how to integrate human rights into its business practices. An example of our approach in action is at our Marlin mine in Guatemala, where all security staff are required to undergo annual training on the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and regularly scheduled reviews conducted by third-party experts include assessments of the background checks, training and interviews with security contractors.
We aspire to ensure that every site upholds fundamental human rights and respects local cultures, customs and values.
Companies like Goldcorp have a tremendous impact on communities through the local jobs and supply chains we create. By aligning our sustainability strategies with global initiatives such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals – and working in partnership within our industries and with governments – we can multiply positive impacts for communities worldwide.
Brent Bergeron joined Goldcorp in November 2010 and was appointed Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability in January 2015. Prior to joining Goldcorp, he served as a senior executive with international experience in the fields of construction and infrastructure development, broadcast and media.