The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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.

Home / case studies / Case study: How Polymetal manages waste responsibly

Case study: How Polymetal manages waste responsibly

Polymetal is a leading precious metals mining group operating in Russia and Kazakhstan, with a portfolio of eight producing mines and a pipeline of future growth projects. Through innovation and constant improvement, Polymetal seeks to achieve greater efficiencies across its business and minimise the impact of its operations, putting environmental sustainability – including waste management – at the heart of everything it does.

This case study is based on the 2016 Sustainability Report by Polymetal 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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Polymetal is firmly committed to the responsible management of waste materials  Tweet This!, to re-using the waste generated within its operations whenever possible, and to also reducing hazardous waste. In order to manage waste responsibly Polymetal took action to:

  • reduce harmful materials and waste
  • recycle waste
  • responsibly handle cyanide

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2016 Sustainability Report Polymetal identified a range of material issues, such as

economic performance, occupational health and safety, procurement practices, anti-corruption, diversity and equal opportunity. Among these, managing waste responsibly stands out as a key material issue for Polymetal.

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 organization should identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process s 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 Polymetal engages with:   

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Investors and shareholders




·      AGM/GM

·      Annual and Sustainability Reports

·      Investor conferences and one-to-one meetings

·      Presentations/conference calls

·      Site visits

·      Direct correspondence



·      Employee opinion polls and questionnaires

·      Workers’ councils

·      Internal hotline, website, suggestion boxes and grievance mechanisms

·      Meetings and face-to-face communication with management

·      Performance reviews

·      Annual direct line with the Group CEO

Suppliers and contractors


·      Direct correspondence

·      Contractual relationships

·      Meetings and trainings

·      Compliance audits with Polymetal’s requirements with focus on safety

Government and industry authorities



·      Working groups

·      Meetings

·      Direct correspondence

·      Industry conferences

Communities and NGOs ·      Opinion polls and questionnaires

·      Public and face-to-face meetings

·      Communication with Company managers

·      Press conferences

·      Working groups (for NGOs)

·      Grievance mechanisms

·      Email and telephone helplines

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics, Polymetal engaged with its stakeholders through a questionnaire and personal meetings.

What actions were taken by Polymetal to manage waste responsibly?

In its 2016 Sustainability Report Polymetal reports that it took the following actions for managing waste responsibly:

  • Reducing harmful materials and waste
  • In order to minimise its impact, Polymetal drives efficiency in material use. For example, Polymetal identifies the most harmful materials in its operational processes – such as explosives, drilling parts and mill balls for grinding – and tries to reduce the volumes of these materials, without impacting quality. Polymetal’s audit teams conduct regular internal checks and assess Polymetal’s compliance with national and regional standards, and government agencies carry out regular environmental performance spot-checks at Polymetal’s facilities.
  • Recycling waste
  • Wherever possible, Polymetal re-uses the waste generated within its operations and has developed systems and procedures that enable it to maximise the amounts recycled, and minimise waste to landfill. Polymetal also finds uses for its waste outside of the company. For example, at Amursk POX Polymetal signed a contract in 2016 with a waste recycling company to provide them with 300 kg of packaging (PE, PP, wood) for incineration and energy production. Where Polymetal can’t recycle or re-use materials, it disposes of them at its own waste facilities or outsources waste disposal to external companies.
  • Responsibly handling cyanide
  • Polymetal’s production methods involve several harmful consumables among which the largest is cyanide, which generates hazardous waste during the recovery of gold from the ore Polymetal processes. Polymetal is rigorous in its handling, management and monitoring of cyanide, due to its hazardous potential. Polymetal’s approach involves identifying all related hazards, strictly controlling all cyanide levels in its tailings, and monitoring air, soil, surface and ground waters. Polymetal also provides environmental monitoring results to public authorities, and implements environmental protection measures which include the design, construction and monitoring of tailings dams, and the monitoring of water sources and quality, riverbed changes and associated drainage. Additionally, in 2016 Polymetal became signatory to the International Cyanide Management Code, followed by the certification of Amursk POX. To make sure there is no waste, Polymetal always uses 100% of the volumes of cyanide it purchases, and also takes a cautious approach to the transportation of hazardous materials. In 2016, Polymetal did not transport, import or export any waste deemed hazardous under the terms of the Basel Convention 2, Annex I, II, III and VIII.

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

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 301-2 Recycled input materials used

2) Disclosure 306-2 Waste by type and disposal method

3) Disclosure 306-4 Transport of hazardous waste


Disclosure 301-2 Recycled input materials used corresponds to:

Disclosure 306-2 Waste by type and disposal method corresponds to:

Disclosure 306-4 Transport of hazardous waste corresponds to:


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.

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1) This case study is based on published information by Polymetal, 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:




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