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 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.
This Committee meets at least four times per year, visits our operating sites, 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.
Corporate accountability for oversight of the Sustainability Framework is the responsibility of an executive officer, the Chief Operating Officer. Reporting to the COO, the Director, Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability (EHSS) 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 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.
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.
The definition of sustainability is broad, and inputs and outputs of our overarching business strategy, with sustainability embedded, includes employees and departments across the company, including operations, human resources, procurement, and more. At Sherritt, everyone has some accountability for safety and sustainability.
|BOARD GENDER DIVERSITY|
* Compared to an industry average for mining of 11% female directors.
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.
Health and safety We are committed to providing a safe workplace. Our ultimate goal is zero harm. Zero harm means zero fatalities, no injuries and no work-related illnesses among employees and contractors.
Public Safety Maintain public safety around our sites through risk management, active communication and ongoing community engagement.
Rewarding Workplace Provide a rewarding and inclusive workplace that engages and develops a diverse workforce, compensates workers competitively, and offers them exposure to world-class operations, projects, processes and people.
Business Ethics Foster a culture and environment that support and require ethical conduct.
Human Rights Operate our business in a way that respects human rights as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Tailings Management Design and operate tailings management facilities – throughout the mine lifecycle – to meet or exceed applicable regulatory and company standards.
Biodiversity and Land Achieve no net loss, or preferably a net gain, of biodiversity for greenfield projects and significant expansions of current operations; and practise progressive reclamation as part of normal operations at all mines, working with local jurisdictions.
Water Manage water responsibly by optimizing water use, addressing water-related risks to future operational viability and growth, and engaging communities on the use of, and impacts to, shared water resources.
Energy and Climate Change Monitor and track energy use and greenhouse gas emissions at each site and identify opportunities to reduce impacts; and understand and mitigate the potential impacts of climate change on our assets.
Stakeholder Engagement Engage stakeholders early on and throughout the asset lifecycle; and build relationships based on mutual trust, respect and transparency.
Transparency Provide stakeholders with timely and accurate information on the impacts and benefits of our mining- and energy-related activities and management practices.
Community Benefits Contribute to a lasting improvement in quality of life in the communities where we operate.
Sherritt has taken an enterprise-wide approach to managing sustainability, which includes an integrated system with a series of sustainability standards. These standards are developed collaboratively between the corporate office and the divisions. Given the differences among the operating environments in Canada, Cuba and Madagascar, the divisions have flexibility in the way they implement these standards at their operating sites.
Specific requirements in the standards reflect our experience, our risk profile and industry best practice. As members of TSM, we are implementing 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, 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 to target Level A conformance.
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:
Air Management *new
Biodiversity and Land Management
Energy and GHG Emissions
Health and Safety
Security and Human Rights
Significant Potential Incidents
Waste Management *new
Water Management *new
“Towards Sustainable Mining is another tool in our toolbox for ensuring that our environmental and social management systems reflect industry leading practices. Now, with one year of implementation behind us, I can confidently say that the journey we started years ago to continually improve has established a solid foundation for adoption of TSM’s protocols, and there are components of the program that will continue to push us towards further improvements. TSM’s approach of continuous improvement is well suited to Sherritt’s desire to have a positive impact wherever we operate.”
– Steve Wood, EVP and COO
In 2017, we conducted a thorough update of our assessment of the material sustainability aspects of our business. The assessment involved identifying the sustainability issues of greatest interest to Sherritt’s stakeholders and those that 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.
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)|
|Employees Relations, Diversity and Inclusion||Internal||
|Operating Ethically||Economic Performance||Internal/external||
||Ambatovy, Moa, Oil & Gas and Power (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 2018 Annual Information Form.
Five-year Sustainability Goals
Launched in 2018, Sherritt has six five-year sustainability goals that:
- 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 and 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 TSM protocols across all operations.|
|Strengthen our 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.|
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 our impacts, but also to make a positive contribution to our 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 towards relevant Sustainable Development Goals. To understand more fully where Sherritt was having the greatest impact, we assessed the SDGs based on our materiality assessment and aligned our priority SDGs against our enterprise risk management results, our Sustainability Framework and our five-year sustainability goals.
The interactive chart below displays our priorities, what they mean to Sherritt and examples of how our activities align with specific SDG targets.
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 >
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. 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 do 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 >
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. We believe that the SDGs will only be achieved when all stakeholders work together. Learn more >
graphic to see