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
- Providing responsible products
- 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.
To access our Human Rights Policy, click here; and for our Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability (EHS&S) Policy, click here.
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, and more often when 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 included within the respective board and executive mandates of the joint ventures that Sherritt is involved in. There are dedicated environment, health and safety committees at the board level for the Moa Joint Venture. Experienced Sherritt executives serve on these committees. At Energas, EHS&S matters are reviewed by the Board, which includes 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 (COO). Reporting to the COO, the Director, Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability (EHS&S) implements governance and assurance measures, recommends strategy and standards, and oversees performance and reporting. The COO works closely with the management teams at all divisions and joint venture operations to ensure that business plans are aligned with the corporate strategic plans, to ensure compliance with local laws and conformance with company standards and to ensure that a continually improving approach to EHS&S is in place across our locations. Each division is led by a senior executive who reports to the COO. These individuals are accountable for all operational matters at their respective operating sites, including sustainability. At Sherritt, everyone has some accountability for safety and sustainability.
|BOARD GENDER DIVERSITY|
* Compared to an industry average for mining of 13% 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 of our framework: 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.
Site Security Safeguard our people, assets, reputation and the environment while respecting the rights of the public.
Employee Relations Provide a rewarding and inclusive workplace that engages and develops a diverse workforce, compensates workers competitively, supports talent development, and offers them exposure to world-class operations, projects, processes and people.
Responsible Production and Supply Extract and produce minerals that meet our stakeholders’ social, ethical, environmental and human rights expectations.
Human Rights Operate our business in a way that respects human rights as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Business Conduct Foster a culture and environment that support and require ethical conduct.
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.
Waste Monitor and track mining waste and solid waste production at each site. Manage waste responsibly by optimizing and reducing waste production while following proper classification, handling, disposal and storage requirements.
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.
Environmental Liabilities, Closure and Reclamation Provide adequate financial resources and comply with regulatory requirements to address the closure of our properties once operations are complete.
Stakeholder Engagement Engage stakeholders early on and throughout the asset lifecycle; and build relationships based on mutual trust, respect and transparency.
Community Development 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 and Cuba, 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 the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), we are implementing the requirements of the 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. Our approach to crisis management is further informed by the Incident Command System (ICS).
Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM)
Sherritt is a member of the Mining Association of Canada and, as such, is committed to implementing 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 relevant protocols of TSM at all divisions and to target Level A conformance.
Sherritt’s first year of public, facility-level reporting for TSM will be 2020 (with results being reported in 2021).
We are currently carrying out a multi-year plan to develop and implement the following corporate standards for sustainability management:
Biodiversity and Land Management
Crisis Management System
Energy and GHG Emissions
Health and Safety
Security and Human Rights
Significant Potential Incident Reporting
“Towards Sustainable Mining is a key reference for our environmental and social management systems. The TSM protocols are increasingly recognized as industry leading practices around the world and are accepted by various responsible sourcing frameworks. We have much work to do to fully implement and embed our TSM-based management systems, but this effort will position us well to meet or exceed society’s expectations of mineral producers of zero harm that provide a net benefit in the communities in which they operate.”
– Steve Wood, EVP and COO
Our materiality assessment involved identifying the sustainability issues of greatest interest to Sherritt’s stakeholders and those that could have the greatest impact on our business. We defined a list of key sustainability topics, conducted surveys and desktop research, and then ranked stakeholder interest and evaluated business impacts on the environment and society. We validated the assessment results with Sherritt’s senior management, operational management team, and sustainability personnel.
Those aspects with the highest combined rating of stakeholder interest and expected business impacts on the environment and society are considered “material” for Sherritt, and are addressed through our Sustainability Framework and management system.
Sherritt updated its materiality assessment in 2020 to reflect changes in its operations. As a result, some sustainability topics that were heavily influenced by the inclusion of Ambatovy in previous years have shifted.
The following graph maps our material issues against the four pillars of our Sustainability Framework and details the boundary of impact for each material 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 2019 Annual Information Form.
|High||Climate Change Adaptation Energy & GHG Emissions Environmental Liabilities, Closure & Reclamation||Tailings|
|Medium||Governance Waste||Public Safety Stakeholder & Indigenous Engagement Community Development Human Rights* Water Diversity, Inclusion & Talent Management||Health & Safety Economic Performance Responsible Sourcing Country Risks|
|Low||Business Conduct & Transparency Biodiversity & Land Cultural Heritage||Employee Relations Local Economic Benefits Air & Other Emissions Security|
Five-year Sustainability Goals
Sherritt established a series of five-year sustainability goals that:
- Align the enterprise by focusing on those sustainability priorities 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).
Our sustainability goals are as follows:
|Achieve Level A requirements in Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) protocols across all operations.|
|Strengthen our safety culture, behaviour and performance.|
|Improve environmental management.|
|Create community benefit footprints that support local priorities and the SDGs.|
|Improve diversity at all levels throughout the company.|
|Be recognized as a “preferred supplier” of responsibly produced products.|
In 2019, we focused on advancing baseline assessments and planning division-level targets that will contribute to the goals. As targets are finalized, we will begin to report on performance in future reports.
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 mitigates and, where possible, avoids negative impacts, and also makes positive contributions to our host communities at both the national and local level. Highlighting how our operations and end products contribute to the SDGs is important, along with 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 can contribute to and advance relevant Sustainable Development Goals. To understand where Sherritt could have the greatest positive impact, we compared our material sustainability issues with the SDGs, and selected a small number of priority SDGs we felt we could advance. There is a clear linkage between these SDGs 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.
Healthy, happy communities and employees make for a successful and stable operating environment. Sherritt has a responsibility as a local employer in Canada and Cuba to ensure employees return home from work safely every day. Learn more >
Examples of SDG targets we are advancing
SDG Target 3.4 – The OGP Division hosted lunch-and-learns on mental health and well-being for employees.
SDG Target 3.6 – Refer to this case study for information on Sherritt’s road safety promotion programs delivered in partnership with UNICEF.
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 >
Examples of SDG targets we are advancing
SDG Target 5.5 – Sherritt’s divisions established local diversity and inclusion committees to identify plans of action; members of these committees came together to begin work on a global strategy for improving diversity and inclusion metrics across the business, which was launched in 2019.
SDG Target 5.B – Partnered with NorQuest College and WinSETT on a research project intended to provide guidance on strategies that promote a more diverse and inclusive workplace culture. Refer to this section for more information on the partnership.
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 water 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 >
Examples of SDG targets we are advancing
SDG Target 6.1 – The Moa Nickel Site has a water treatment plant that provides safe drinking water for employees at the plant. A program is in place that enables employees to fill containers of potable water to take home to their families.
SDG Target 6.A – Sherritt has provided water pumps and pipe cleaning equipment to municipalities in Cuba. The equipment increases the communities’ capacity to provide water and sanitation services to people near Sherritt’s operations.
Sherritt seeks out opportunities not only to produce clean energy that supports its host countries’ needs, but also to lessen the impacts of its energy use. Learn more >
Examples of SDG targets we are advancing
SDG Target 7.1 – In Cuba, Sherritt is the largest independent power producer.
SDG Target 7.A – Sherritt has committed support to the Cowater project in Cuba, to install renewable energy solar panels in remote areas that are currently off the grid.
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 >
Examples of SDG targets we are advancing
SDG Target 8.4 – Sherritt’s economic benefit footprint in the areas where it operates was $500 million in 2019.
SDG Target 8.5 – Sherritt committed to pay and promotion equity and conducted an internal pay equity assessment in 2018. We are currently working towards understanding the underlying reasons of the findings.
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 >
Examples of SDG targets we are advancing
SDG Target 17.17 – Sherritt has partnered with Trans Canada Trail to support the construction of a Trail section across the North Saskatchewan River to add connectivity and improve safety for people crossing the river. Read more here.
graphic to see
What it means
Our Organizational Structure
Moa Joint Venture and Fort Site
Sherritt has a 50/50 partnership with General Nickel Company S.A. (GNC) of Cuba (the Moa Joint Venture). In addition, Sherritt has a wholly owned fertilizer business, sulphuric acid, utilities and storage, and administrative facilities in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada (Fort Site) that provide additional sources of income.
The Moa Joint Venture is a vertically integrated nickel and cobalt mining, processing, refining and marketing joint venture between subsidiaries of Sherritt and GNC, a Cuban company. The operations of the Moa Joint Venture are carried on through three companies:
- Moa Nickel S.A. (Moa Nickel) – owns and operates the Moa, Cuba, mining and processing facility;
- The Cobalt Refinery Company Inc. (CRC or COREFCO) – owns and operates the Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, metals refinery; and
- International Cobalt Company Inc. (ICCI) – located in Nassau, Bahamas, acquires mixed sulphides from Moa Nickel and other third-party feeds, contracts with CRC for the refining of such purchased materials and then markets finished nickel and cobalt.
The Moa Joint Venture operates in Moa, Cuba, and Fort Saskatchewan, Canada. Within the report, the operations in Moa will be referred to as “Moa Nickel” and the operations in Fort Saskatchewan will be referred to as “COREFCO”. On occasion, information is aggregated for COREFCO and the Fort Site due to co-location; where this is done, the term “Fort Site” will be used although these are distinct legal entities.
The Moa Joint Venture mines, processes and refines nickel and cobalt for sale worldwide (except in the United States).
Oil & Gas
Sherritt’s Oil & Gas Division (100% ownership) explores for and produces oil and gas primarily from reservoirs located offshore, but in close proximity to the coastline along the north coast of Cuba.
Sherritt holds a one-third interest in Energas S.A. (Energas), a Cuban joint venture corporation established to operate facilities for the processing of raw natural gas and the generation of electricity for sale and delivery to the Cuban national electrical grid system. The remaining two-thirds interest in Energas is held equally by two Cuban government agencies: Unión Eléctrica (UNE) and Unión Cubapetróleo (CUPET).
Within the report, the Oil & Gas operations will be referred to as “Oil & Gas” and the Power operations will be referred to as “Energas”. On occasion, information is aggregated for both Oil & Gas and Energas due to a common management structure; where this is done, “OGP” (Oil, Gas & Power) will be used.
Sherritt’s Technologies group (Technologies) provides technical support, process optimization and technology development to Sherritt’s operating divisions, and identifies opportunities for the Corporation as a result of its research and development and international activities.
A more detailed overview of our business and corporate structure can be found in our 2019 Annual Information Form.