Panel 1: ESG & Sustainable Mining. Insights into company case studies was moderated by Jane Joughin, SRK Consulting (UK)
· Yulia Chekunaeva, Director, Capital Markets and Strategic Initiatives, En+ Group
· Tania Tchedaeva, Director, Corporate Governance & Company Secretary, Polymetal International
· Anastasia Kuskova, Head of Sustainability and Transformation, Eurasian Resources Group (ERG)
· Alex Caicics, Group Head of ESG Communications, Polyus
· Ayuna Nechaeva, Head of Europe, Primary Markets, London Stock Exchange
The discussion was focused on improvement areas for ESG disclosures, responsible sourcing, and supply chain due diligence.
Tania Tchedaeva spoke about Polymetal’s experience in raising ESG linked finance on the global capital markets which currently represents approximately 40% of the company’s bank financing. She also talked about the difficulties of disclosure in the mining industry which is especially relevant for coal companies, and it can be quite challenging for them to disclose how green they are. “We as the miners need to do absolutely everything to ensure that we are no longer uninvestable. And to do what we need to do in order to put a proper disclosure in place”. The TFCD Framework is especially helpful since it became compulsory, however, there is a challenge as not every company is the same.
Alex Caicics noted that before disclosing the information they need to find out what exactly the investors are interested in, in what detail, and in what aspect. In this respect, ESG ratings are a useful tool for understanding market expectations. Investors are often looking at very specific areas such as the development and switch to renewable energy sources e.g. access to hydropower among many others.
Anastasia Kuskova said that in the modern world the ESG disclosure is a matter of commercial survival. Three years ago, the company joined the international group of companies such as Glencore, Umicore, and Tesla to create an industry-wide platform for communicating ESG performance and physical traceability of the products (e.g. carbon footprint of metals through the whole supply chain, human rights compliance, etc.) to the end-users including smartphone manufacturers and EV producers.
Yulia Chekunaeva talked about the company’s experience in the development and practical use of internal guidelines and policies to manage the supply chain ESG performance. Health & Safety and Environmental performance of contractors and subcontractors are critical for winning the contracts. She also focused on the practical aspects of Scope 3 Carbon Emission footprint procurement management applicable to purchasing alumina, bauxite and carbon-containing materials. In the past three years, the company started an active collaboration with the downstream producers (e.g., soft drinks and aerosol manufacturers) to introduce Zero or low carbon aluminum packaging. The company is also involved in the cross-industry collaboration in the research development of low carbon transportation (partnership with Cargill) and other technologies helping to make business Carbon Neutral.
During the discussion about attracting young people into the industry, Ayuna Nechaeva and Tania Tchedaeva raised a concern about the industry remaining attractive to the younger generation and the possibility of a “brain drain” in the future. All panelists agreed that ESG is the area where miners can attract a new workforce and implement social diversity initiatives.