Our commitment to sustainability
Mining and energy companies use a range of terms to describe their approaches to:
- Ensuring the safety and health of their employees and communities
- Protecting the environment
- Interacting with a wide range of stakeholders
- Providing benefits to local communities
- Respecting human rights
- Establishing respectful and productive relationships with all levels of government
- Ensuring the survival of a viable business
At Sherritt, “sustainability” covers these interrelated and increasingly important aspects of our business.
We are committed to providing a safe and rewarding workplace, operating ethically, demonstrating environmental responsibility, engaging stakeholders and benefitting communities. We will meet or exceed the standards where we operate and continuously improve performance.
This commitment underpins our aspiration to be a recognized industry leader in sustainability management and performance.
Our Board of Directors and management team are critical to carrying out our commitment to sustainability.
Board of Directors
Our Board of Directors has delegated responsibility for sustainability-related matters to its Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability (EHS&S) Committee. The Committee’s mandate is to oversee, monitor and review sustainability policies, management systems, programs and performance.
Specific areas of focus for the Committee include environment, health, safety, security, crisis management, community development, stakeholder engagement, indigenous relations, government relations, business integrity, human rights, and employee engagement and development.
This Committee meets at least four times per year, visits all operating sites regularly, and receives information from corporate and divisional management on a quarterly basis, or more often if required. The Committee Chairperson reports to the Board on significant issues. Refer to this link to review the full mandate of the EHS&S Committee.
EHS&S oversight is also within the respective board and executive mandates of each of the three joint ventures that Sherritt is involved in. There are dedicated environment, health and safety committees at the board level for the Ambatovy and Moa joint ventures. Experienced Sherritt executives serve on these committees. At Energas, EHS&S matters are also reviewed by the Board, which has directors from Sherritt’s senior management team.
In our Toronto corporate office, we have two sustainability-related roles at the management level: Director, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability (CA&S) and Director, Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S). The Director, CA&S is responsible for coordinating community relations, community investment, government relations, human rights and security, crisis management and the integrated enterprise sustainability management system. The Director, EH&S is responsible for health, safety and environmental matters. Reporting to our Chief Operating Officer (COO), both positions develop strategy and standards, oversee performance and reporting, and assist our operating sites in the identification and management of material sustainability aspects, issues and risks. They work closely with the management team at all divisions, which are responsible for operating sites, to ensure a practical and coordinated approach to sustainability is in place across our business interests.
Each division is led by a senior executive who also reports to our COO. These individuals are accountable for all operational matters of their respective operating sites, including sustainability. To ensure ongoing and timely management of this broad discipline, we have senior employees at each division with responsibility for health and safety, security, environment, stakeholder relations, and other sustainability functions. Specific roles and team structures at divisions vary, based on the operating environment and related risks at their respective sites.
“I had the opportunity to attend a large-scale crisis training exercise at the Fort Saskatchewan site in 2016. The team did a good job responding to a series of escalating scenarios. A key part of the process was the post-exercise discussion on learnings derived from the simulation, and I left with the confidence that those learnings would be applied in future. Observing exercises like this one gives the EHS&S Committee confidence in an operating site’s level of emergency preparedness, as well as a better understanding of the relationships and collaboration dynamics between a site and the local community. It was great to see a broad range of external stakeholders participate in this training event.”
– Tim Baker, Chair, Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability Committee of the Board
We uphold our commitment to sustainability through our sustainability framework, which provides a focused and practical approach to prioritizing sustainability issues, risks and opportunities, and to managing performance. The framework consists of a core commitment and a series of issue-specific commitments, which fall under the four pillars below: Providing a Safe and Rewarding Workplace, Operating Ethically, Demonstrating Environmental Responsibility, and Engaging Stakeholders and Benefitting Communities. Our commitments are supported by an integrated management system that sets company-wide standards for planning, implementation, measurement, reporting and assurance of sustainability efforts.
and Benefitting Communities
While Sherritt’s divisions historically developed their own management systems to address sustainability, the company has recently adopted an enterprise-wide approach. This shift involves developing an integrated system that consists of a series of sustainability standards for the entire company. These standards are developed collaboratively between the corporate office and the divisions. Given the innate differences of the operating environments in Canada, Cuba and Madagascar, the divisions are afforded flexibility in the way in which they implement these standards at their operating sites.
Specific requirements in the standards reflect our experience, our risk profile and industry best practice. As new members of TSM, we endeavour to align with many of the requirements of the Mining Association of Canada’s (MAC) Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) protocols. As a member of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHRs) Initiative, we are working to apply the Principles at our operating sites. We are also a Supporting Company of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the requirements of which we apply in Madagascar, an EITI Candidate Country. Our approach to crisis management is informed by the Incident Command System (ICS) and the United Nations’ Awareness and Preparedness of Emergencies at the Local Level (APELL) Programme. In Madagascar. Our biodiversity management program aligns with the principles of the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme (BBOP).
We are currently carrying out a multi-year plan to develop and implement the following corporate standards for sustainability management:
Biodiversity and Land Management
Energy and GHG Emissions
Health and Safety
Security and Human Rights
Significant Potential Incidents
In 2015, we updated our assessment of the material (priority) sustainability aspects of our business. This process involved revisiting our existing materiality aspects to ensure they reflect our current context, and analyzing each aspect based on a range of sustainability risks, trends and opportunities that are relevant to Sherritt. Two criteria were considered: the level of expected impact to our business and the degree of stakeholder interest. The review was informed by carrying out a detailed questionnaire with senior management and sustainability employees at both the corporate office and divisions; and assessing publicly available information on the viewpoints of external stakeholders, including:
- Opinion influencers (non-governmental organizations, academics, think-tanks)
- Industry associations
The compiled aspects were then reviewed by senior management for validation. Those aspects with the highest combined ranking of expected business impact and stakeholder interest are considered “material” for Sherritt and are addressed through our sustainability framework and management system.
The following table maps our material issues against the four pillars of our sustainability framework and details the boundary of impact for each material issue.
|Pillar||Material Issue||Issue Boundary
Where do the impacts occur?
|Who is the issue material to?||Where is the issue most material?|
|Providing a Safe and Rewarding Workplace||Health and Safety||Internal||
||Company wide (focus at Ambatovy)|
|Operating Ethically||Human Rights||Internal/external||
|Demonstrating Environmental Responsibility||Land and Biodiversity||Internal/external||
||Ambatovy and Moa|
|Environmental Liabilities, Closure and Reclamation||Internal/external||
||Ambatovy and Moa|
|Energy and Climate Change||Internal/external||
|Engaging Stakeholders and Benefitting Communities||Stakeholder Engagement||Internal/external||
||Company wide (focus at Ambatovy, Moa, OGP)|
Most material aspects did not change from our last assessment in 2012. A few key exceptions include:
- The materiality of economic performance, always a central aspect for any business, increased because of the significant decline in the price of the products we produce (namely, nickel, cobalt, oil and electricity).
- Site security and environmental liabilities have been identified as important aspects for inclusion within the sustainability management system, due to evolving stakeholder expectations and site-level risks for Sherritt.
- Climate change is included as a material aspect, given increasing societal concern, evolving business focus on this issue, and efforts of governments to address and regulate this issue.
Commentary on a broader set of material issues and risk factors that affect Sherritt – including U.S. sanctions on Cuba – can be found in our 2016 Annual Information Form.
Sustainable Development Goals
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) consist of 17 ambitious targets to address global issues, and to ensure a sustainable and resilient future for the world by 2030. The success of the SDGs depends on the participation of a range of actors – governments, corporations, communities and non-governmental organizations.
The nature of the work of the natural resources sector has social, economic and environmental impacts on the jurisdictions where projects and operations are located. As a responsible company, Sherritt seeks out opportunities not only to mitigate and, where possible, avoid its impacts, but also to make a positive contribution to its host countries on both a national and community level. Highlighting how our processing requirements and end products contribute to the SDGs is important; however, so is taking responsibility for and acknowledging the impacts of our activities on the broader development agenda. (To better understand the sustainability issues and challenges most material to Sherritt, please review our materiality analysis.)
The interactive chart below contains examples of Sherritt’s progress against each of the 17 SDGs.
Sherritt operates in developing countries, including Madagascar, where over 90% of the population lives on under $2 a day, according to the World Bank. As a sizeable employer in Canada, Cuba and Madagascar, we have an opportunity – through local employment and procurement, community investment and training – to contribute significantly to poverty alleviation in our host jurisdictions. Learn more >
Providing infrastructure for food production and trade in our host jurisdictions is one way to alleviate food shortages and improve access to nutrition. A nourished local population can broadly support community development aspirations, as well as provide Sherritt with a strong base for local employment and contribute to stable company-community relations. Learn more >
Healthy, happy communities and employees make for a successful and stable operating environment. Sherritt has a responsibility as a local employer in Canada, Madagascar and Cuba to ensure employees return home from work safely every day. Learn more >
On a global basis, Sherritt invests in the ongoing education and skills training of its workforce, as well as potential employees and contractors that represent the future employment pipeline in its host jurisdictions. Supporting mining-relevant education in younger generations, with a particular focus on technical skills, is a benefit to Sherritt – and the entire industry – overall. Learn more >
Sherritt is committed to advancing stronger gender representation at the board and senior management levels. We are also working to develop, train and promote women from diverse backgrounds throughout the company. Learn more >
Water is essential for life, but is also a requirement for natural resource extraction and processing activities. Sherritt works hard at water management and ensuring local communities are healthy. The nickel we produce is used as a key input for sustainable water storage and distribution infrastructure around the world. Learn more >
Sherritt seeks out opportunities not only to produce clean energy that supports our host countries’ needs, but also to lessen the impacts of our energy use. Learn more >
Sharing the economic benefits of our activities with employees, host communities and countries, business partners and investors is not only responsible but essential to our growth strategy. Learn more >
Sherritt has a rich history of technological innovation, and the metals we produce play an important role in the supply chain for sustainable products and infrastructure. Learn more >
Reducing poverty through local employment and supporting trade within our host communities and countries are two important ways that we – and the broader natural resources sector – contribute to the reduction of inequalities on a global level. Learn more >
Sherritt believes in the importance of contributing to a lasting improvement in quality of life in the communities where we operate. Learn more >
We are committed to responsible mining and energy production, which requires us to manage all aspects of our business sustainably and transparently over the long run. Learn more >
As heavy industry contributes to climate change on a global scale, Sherritt is taking action to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions at its operations. Learn more >
Water is very important to mining and processing as an input, as a by-product, and for the transportation of goods. It is essential that we manage our impact on local waters to ensure the viability of our operations over the long term. Learn more >
Sherritt’s approach to environmental management is to avoid impacts wherever we reasonably can, and to minimize, manage and remediate those that occur. Learn more >
Building trust, operating openly and ethically, and respecting the community are central to the way we work as a company. We seek opportunities to work with transparent and accountable institutions, as a means of advancing development and good governance in the jurisdictions where we have a presence. Learn more >
In all our businesses, healthy, mutually beneficial partnerships are required for us to succeed. We have a history of strong partnerships with employees, communities, host countries, investors and business partners in each of the jurisdictions where we operate. Learn more >