– David Pathe, President and Chief Executive Officer
This year marks an important milestone for Sherritt: 90 years in business, making us one of the oldest Canadian natural resource developers operating today. This longevity and resilience provide the theme for our 2016 sustainability report: 90 years of “doing the right thing” – from our start in Northern Manitoba in 1927 to our current mining and energy businesses in Alberta, Cuba and Madagascar.
The past 90 years have seen many changes in our sector, especially in sustainability. Safety has become, without question, the top priority. Addressing climate change and biodiversity impacts are now major industry issues. Companies can no longer expect to operate without their social license. Sherritt has adapted well to society’s evolving expectations, and we will work hard to continually improve and contribute to responsible development well into the future.
The world in which we operate today experienced many changes last year, bringing us into a period of increasing volatility. We saw the presidential election unfold in the U.S., and the death of Fidel Castro in Cuba. The Brexit vote took place, the Paris Agreement on climate change was reached, and commodity prices remained weak and volatile. Over the course of the year, we maintained a strong focus on carrying out our Strategic Priorities and staying true to “Our Purpose and Our Promises”. This focus positions the company well to address near-term challenges in an unpredictable environment, and pursue future growth opportunities.
2016 Sustainability Performance
Our sustainability results in 2016 were overshadowed by the collapse of a bridge at Moa that claimed the lives of four Cuban workers: Ulises Caballero Velázquez, Osvaldo Sollet Argüelles, Ernesto Suárez García, and Yunior Palencia Bientz. We were saddened by this tragic and unacceptable event, and the impacts it had on the families, our workforce and our company. We are working with our joint venture partner and the Cuban authorities to understand the root cause and identify what must be done to prevent any such future tragedies. Learnings are being applied throughout the company to complement our program to drive continuous improvement in safety culture and behaviours.
In 2016, our overall annual injury rates beat internal targets and compared favourably with those of our peers. During the year, both Ambatovy and Fort Saskatchewan achieved milestones of 12 consecutive months without a lost time injury.
In October, Hurricane Matthew swept through Cuba. Thanks to the exemplary emergency preparedness of the Cuban authorities, our joint venture partners and workforce, and nearby communities, the Category 4 storm did not result in any injuries or fatalities, and our business did not experience significant production losses.
Throughout the year, we did not experience any high-severity environmental incidents. Our greenhouse gas emissions dropped by 4% over the previous year, and our emissions profile is poised for further improvement with investments we are making in sustainable equipment and infrastructure, including a new acid plant in Moa and electric vehicles at Ambatovy.
During the year, we made progress on developing enduring and equitable relationships with all of our stakeholders, building on our history of being a partner of choice. We contributed more than $750 million in economic benefits to host communities and countries in 2016. We also experienced a 45% drop in the number of community grievances in 2016 over the previous year, due in large part to successfully addressing the residual impacts of Ambatovy’s construction activities.
I am proud that Sherritt was recently selected as one of Corporate Knights’ Future 40 Responsible Corporations in Canada, based on our sustainability performance and disclosure. To build on our leadership in this area, I joined the 30% Club Canada in 2016, pledging to achieve better gender balance at the board and senior management levels of our company.
2017 sustainability priorities for Sherritt include:
- Continuing our journey to zero harm through building a strong safety culture and implementing best-practice standards;
- Developing five-year enterprise-wide sustainability objectives and targets;
- Initiating implementation of our diversity and inclusion plan;
- Conducting our bi-annual employee engagement survey and addressing improvement opportunities;
- Collaborating with our Cuban partners on opportunities to align further with internationally recognized sustainability practices; and
- Implementing our corporate sustainability standards in accordance with our multi-year plan.
Our achievements in sustainability are the result of the hard work and dedication of our employees. They, more than anyone, have defined Sherritt’s business over the last 90 years. As we look to the next 90 years, it is our values, innovation and commitment to “doing the right thing” that will continue to shape and drive our success. I look forward to reporting on our 2017 sustainability performance next year.
David V. Pathe
President and Chief Executive Officer
Sherritt International Corporation
For commentary from David Pathe on Sherritt’s 2016 financial and operational performance, please read his annual letter to shareholders.
Our 2016 Sustainability Report – which covers the period between January 1 and December 31, 2016 – describes Sherritt’s sustainability approach and performance for the year. This report was prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative’s G4 Sustainability Reporting Guideline (Core Option), which is widely considered industry best practice.