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.
|BOARD GENDER DIVERSITY|
* Compared to an industry average of 7% female Directors
In 2017, the new positions of Director, Environment, Health, Safety, and Sustainability (EHS&S) and Manager, Sustainability were created at our Toronto Corporate office. The Corporate team is responsible for health, safety, sustainability and environmental matters. Reporting to our Chief Operating Officer (COO), the Director develops strategy and standards, oversees performance and reporting, and assists our operating sites in the identification and management of material sustainability aspects, issues and risks. The Director, supported by the Manager, works closely with the management team at all divisions, which are responsible for operating sites, to ensure a practical and coordinated approach to EHS&S is in place across our business interests. Both positions support the divisions in their implementation of Towards Sustainable Mining.
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.
“It is an exciting time in nickel and cobalt markets. As the world innovates for a low carbon future with the development of high tech batteries that require cobalt and nickel in ever increasing quantities, customers are now looking to miners and refiners that demonstrate social and environmental responsibility to supply these materials. Sherritt is well positioned to meet these demands with over 90 years in the business of producing of high-quality nickel and cobalt using leading edge technology, all to the highest ethical standards.”
– 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
Sherritt has taken an enterprise-wide approach to managing sustainability, which includes 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 are making efforts to align with 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).
Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM)
In 2017, Sherritt joined the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), and as such, is required to implement the TSM program – a series of sustainability management protocols – at its Canadian operations. As Sherritt is committed to leadership in sustainability and continuous improvement, the company plans to implement TSM at all divisions and target Level A conformance.
Sherritt is working with MAC and the Canadian government to familiarize the governments and/or industry associations of our countries of operation with the TSM program, so that they may consider national adoption of the program, similar to what has been done in Finland, Botswana, Argentina and most recently, the Philippines.
The first year of public, facility-level reporting for Sherritt will be in 2021 for the 2020 reporting year.
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 2017, we conducted a thorough update of our assessment of the material (priority) sustainability aspects of our business. The last major update had occurred in 2012, with a review and minor updates occurring approximately every two years after that. The 2017 assessment involved identifying the sustainability issues of greatest interest to Sherritt’s stakeholders and those which could have the greatest impact on Sherritt’s business. We defined a list of key sustainability topics, conducted interviews, surveys and desktop-based research, and then ranked stakeholder interest and business impact scenarios, which were then validated by Sherritt’s senior management and at a workshop of key Sherritt sustainability personnel.
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. Issues that were material to the business were largely unchanged from the last update in 2015; however, some issues were re-categorized based on changing nomenclature in sustainability. It is expected that changes in the materiality assessment may lead to minimal updates to our sustainability framework in 2018.
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||Economic Performance||Internal/external||
||Ambatovy, Moa, OGP|
|Responsible Supply Chain||Internal/external||
|Demonstrating Environmental Responsibility||Energy and GHG Emissions||Internal/external||
|Air and Other Emissions||Internal/external||
||Ambatovy and Moa|
|Environmental Liabilities, Closure and Reclamation||Internal/external||
||Ambatovy and Moa|
|Land and Biodiversity||Internal/external||
||Ambatovy and Moa|
||Ambatovy and Moa|
|Engaging Stakeholders and Benefitting Communities||Community Development||Internal/external||
||Company-wide (focus at Ambatovy, Moa, OGP)|
||Company-wide (focus at Ambatovy, Moa, OGP)|
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 2017 Annual Information Form.
Five-year Sustainability Goals
Created in 2017 and to be formally launched in 2018, Sherritt now has six five-year sustainability goals to drive our sustainability strategy, focus divisional efforts, and deliver tangible results to improve sustainability performance. These goals will:
- Align the enterprise by focusing on sustainability priorities that are shared across Sherritt’s business;
- Address existing and emerging industry-wide issues and societal concerns;
- Clearly link Our Purpose & Our Promises, Strategic Priorities, and the Sustainability Framework;
- Drive improved performance across the business;
- Demonstrate our commitment to sustainability excellence; and,
- Align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The goals are as follows:
|Achieve Level A requirements in Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) protocols across all operations|
|Strengthen safety culture, behaviour and performance|
|Improve water, energy and emissions management across operations|
|Create community benefit footprints that support local priorities and the SDGs|
|Be recognized as a “supplier of choice” for responsibly produced, high-quality products|
|Improve diversity at all levels throughout the company|
In 2018, Sherritt’s divisions will focus on developing programs and indicators to meet the goals with considerations for local context. In future years, performance against these goals will be reported in the Performance section of this report.
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.
Our Role to Play
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.)
We believe that as a Canadian company operating internationally, we have the ability to make meaningful progress against relevant Sustainable Development Goals. To understand more fully where Sherritt was having the greatest impact, we started with our materiality assessment, which gave us the basis of our priorities. We then lined the SDGs up against our enterprise risk management results, our sustainability framework and Towards Sustainable Mining. We then aligned the SDGs with our five-year sustainability goals, which will guide our overall sustainability strategy for the next five years.
The interactive chart below displays our priorities and what they mean to Sherritt.
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. In our communities, we will support education and careers for girls and women, as well as safety and economic empowerment. 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 have a healthy supply and sanitation. The nickel we produce is used as a key input for sustainable water storage and distribution infrastructure around the world. 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. We believe in supporting local employment and procurement in countries in which we operate, and this is evidenced in our results. 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. Our award-winning approach to biodiversity management at Ambatovy, and our focus on sustainable mining and refining positions Sherritt as a global leader in this area. Learn more >
What it means
Awards & Recognition
In recent years, Sherritt has been honoured by several organizations for performance in environmental, health, safety and sustainability. Awards include:
- United Nations’ Green Star Award for emergency response and preparedness
- Syncrude Award for Excellence in Sustainable Development by Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM)
- Nedbank Capital Sustainable Business Award for biodiversity management in Madagascar
In 2017, we were proud to be named as one of Corporate Knights’ Future 40 Sustainability Leaders in Canada, be shortlisted to the Canadian Museum of Nature’s Nature Awards for our commitment to biodiversity, and for our 2016 Sustainability Report to be awarded Best Corporate Social Responsibility Report Among Companies with Revenue Between $250 Million and $2.5 Billion, Best CSR Report Photography and Design, and Best CSR Report Interactive Online Experience by the ASPC’s international report competition.
Two of Sherritt’s employees were recognized for their achievements in industry in 2017:
Jeremy Teeuwsen, Manager of Operational Excellence at the Fort Site, was the recipient of a CIM-Bedford Canadian Young Mining Leader Award, which recognizes workers 39 years of age or under for exceptional achievement, as well as their potential for future leadership in various sectors of mining, including: corporate performance, operations, finance, technical services and innovation, marketing and trading, as well as services and support functions.
Jennifer Prospero, Sustainability Manager at Sherritt’s corporate office, was named a Top 30 Under 30 Sustainability Leader in Canada by Corporate Knights magazine.
Finally, in 2017, Fort Site employee James Budac, Manager, Process Technology, was named the 70th president of Canadian Institute of Metallurgy’s Metallurgy and Materials Society (MetSoc).