The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

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Case study: How Asanko protects biodiversity

Asanko Gold Inc. is a Canadian gold producer headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, whose flagship asset is the Asanko Gold Mine Joint Venture located on the Asankrangwa gold belt in Ghana, West Africa. Asanko is committed to respecting the natural environment, carefully managing and maintaining the range of flora and fauna on its mine site.  Tweet This!

This case study is based on the 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Report by Asanko published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Firmly committed to environmental stewardship, Asanko makes sure that all of its staff are taught not to harm wildlife as part of their induction training and also uses local experts to catch and carefully relocate any wildlife, including snakes. In order to protect biodiversity Asanko took action to:

  • protect and preserve IUCN red list plant species
  • apply a policy of progressive reclamation
  • implement a land rehabilitation programme

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Report Asanko identified a range of material issues, such as community relations, training and development, ethical conduct, environmental compliance, local purchasing. Among these, protecting biodiversity stands out as a key material issue for Asanko.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Asanko engages with:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Employees

 

·      Meetings and regular briefings on operational, safety, health, environmental and social issues and performance

·      Monthly newsletter

·      Engagement surveys

·      Grievance mechanism

Investors and shareholders ·      Press releases

·      Quarterly conference calls

·      Conferences

·      Annual and CSR Reports

·      Annual General Meetings

·      Face-to-face meetings

Traditional structures and heritage ·      Face-to-face meetings

·      Public engagements via company-community forums, associations and committees

·      Grievance mechanism

Suppliers and contractors ·      Regular one-on-one meetings

·      Contract management

·      An open culture that encourages dialogue

Industry bodies

 

·      Attendance at quarterly Chamber of Mines meetings

·      Annual Mines Safety Competition

·      Regular inspection visits to project sites

·      Bi-annual proficiency examinations conducted by Inspectorate Division of Minerals Commission based on the various legislative instruments of Ghana

Ghanaian government (all levels)

 

·      Face-to-face meetings with company management as part of Asanko’s government relations programme

·      Multi-stakeholder roundtables

·      Site visits

·      Compliance and progress reporting

·      CSR Report

Local communities ·      Face-to-face meetings

·      Public engagements via company-community forums, associations, and committees

·      Open-door policy at site office

·      Community Information Centres

·      Monthly newsletter

·      Asanko website

·      Participation in ceremonial gatherings

·      Grievance mechanism

Public sector partners ·      Active partnerships and collaboration

·      Progress reporting on initiatives

·      CSR Report

Non-governmental organisations ·      Face-to-face meetings

·      Public engagements via company-community forums, associations, and committees

·      Open-door policy at site office

·      Community Information Centres

·      Monthly newsletter

·      Asanko website

·      Participation in ceremonial gatherings

·      Grievance mechanism

Media ·      News releases

·      Asanko website

·      Briefings with management

·      CSR Reports

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Asanko carried out a survey among both internal and external stakeholders. Internal stakeholders included heads of the relevant departments and the members of the Executive Management Team, while external stakeholders included employees, suppliers, NGOs and civil society, from whom Asanko received 110 responses.

What actions were taken by Asanko to protect biodiversity?

In its 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Report Asanko reports that it took the following actions for protecting biodiversity:

  • Protecting and preserving IUCN red list plant species
  • Asanko’s mining area is not classified as an area of natural or international conservation concern. However, baseline studies carried out in 2013 and signed off by the Ghanaian EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) identified seven IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) red list plant species within Asanko’s concession area. As part of Asanko’s commitment to protect and preserve these species, these seven species have been integrated into Asanko’s concurrent land rehabilitation and planting programme, and Asanko trialled planting these species as part of the reclamation of the former waste rock dump. No fauna listed on the IUCN Red list have been found in or near Asanko’s concession.
  • Applying a policy of progressive reclamation
  • Asanko has a policy of progressive reclamation to make sure that it keeps the overall footprint of its mine as small as practicably possible. The benefits of concurrent rehabilitation are two-fold: firstly, it helps to minimise and mitigate the impact of Asanko’s activities on local flora and fauna and, secondly, it helps to reduce Asanko’s liabilities at the end of the mine’s life. Asanko also has a land inventory of areas for reclamation in place and has signed a reclamation security agreement with the EPA to ensure adequate provision of material for rehabilitation and topsoil recovery.
  • Implementing a land rehabilitation programme
  • During 2018, Asanko commenced its concurrent land rehabilitation programme, with the aim of restoring land to either a natural or, at the very minimum, economically usable state in good time for mine closure. During the year, work began to restore approximately 5.2 hectares of the eastern section of the Nkran Pit Waste Rock Dump. Restoration work carried out included resloping, erosion control work and tree planting. Restoration and rehabilitation work continued throughout 2019 and was carried out in accordance with the Ghanaian EPA requirements.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 304-3 Habitats protected or restored

2) Disclosure 304-4 IUCN Red List species and national conservation list species with habitats in areas affected by operations

 

Disclosure 304-3 Habitats protected or restored corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  • Business theme: Water-related ecosystems and biodiversity
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  • Business theme: Marine biodiversity
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • Business theme: Mountain ecosystems, Natural habitat degradation, Terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems

Disclosure 304-4 IUCN Red List species and national conservation list species with habitats in areas affected by operations corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  • Business theme: Water-related ecosystems and biodiversity
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  • Business theme: Marine biodiversity
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • Business theme: Mountain ecosystems, Natural habitat degradation, Terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.



FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE

By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

Most importantly, you will gain the knowledge to use the GRI Standards, project manage your own first-class sustainability report and:

  • Identify your most important impacts on the Environment, Economy and Society
  • Begin taking solid, focused, all-round sustainability action ASAP

 

References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Asanko, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

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