Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), on a practical level, is a suite of evolving progressive program initiatives aimed at addressing best practices across a range of issues including, but not limited to worker safety, human rights, stakeholder and community engagement and environmental impacts. The need for CSR is precipitated by citizens, shareholders, stakeholders, and of course companies themselves that wish to see business behaving ethically and responsibly in its activities. Nevsun embraces the view that companies should ultimately create an environment in which their presence is of net benefit to society, resulting in a considerable advantage to the host population while mitigating, where possible, detriments from its presence.
Furthermore, we believe our legacy throughout the entire project cycle should be positive to the vast majority of our stakeholders. We are cognizant that our presence in Eritrea, being an inaugural mining operation in the country, creates more regulatory and public scrutiny on our net benefit to society than companies operating in other environments. As such, we believe we have an obligation, whilst respecting the national sovereignty of Eritrea, to uphold and deliver upon standards, programs, and initiatives that reflect our Code of Ethics and organizational values, and that our partner ENAMCO also actively subscribes to these views.
- There were many sustainability and CSR achievements in 2014 including:
- We examined worker rights and standard of care
- We achieved or exceeded all of our economic goals
- We continue to have an exemplary workplace safety record
- We reached agreement with our business partner to pursue a study on the use of solar energy in order to reduce our dependency on diesel and look for a hybrid solar solution
- We internally undertook random spot inspections of our contractors to ensure regulatory and contractual compliance
- We listened to feedback from our workers in 2013 and made some changes in the workplace to improve labour conditions
- We secured approval for the allocation of monies towards community projects in 2015 that will enhance local food supply and business opportunities for communities surrounding the Bisha Mine
We also further enhanced the Bisha Training Centre by adding more classes and subjects, which have enabled measurable success for local Eritreans to learn and develop real-world, hands-on mining skills. These newly acquired skills can be applied to the opportunities that exist for skilled mine labour at the Bisha Mine. In addition, these transferrable skill sets also create an opportunity for increased labour mobility across the country which is crucial to a developing economy.
We also facilitated visits to the Bisha Mine for the Canadian Ambassador, as well as the Chair of the Parliamentary Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Development, as a mechanism to further enhance our transparency regarding how we operate in Eritrea. Finally, we have endorsed and have begun implementing the recommendations that were raised this past year in the Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) and look forward to the continual enhancement to transparency, worker rights, and community projects in 2015 and beyond.
Areas for continued focus in 2015 include having the personnel and resources in place to achieve the outstanding 2014, and new 2015 environmental goals, with a priority on stakeholder engagement regarding shared water resources and benchmarking our management systems in alignment with the IFC 2012 Performance Standards. Additionally, we plan, to complete and implement an Emergency Response Protocol and communications plan.
I hope you find our 2014 CSR Report an interesting and informative perspective of Nevsun’s continuous improvement role with respect to our economic, environmental, and social performance at the Bisha Mine. Our ongoing collaboration with the Government of Eritrea is fostering a positive contribution to the future of this East African state.
Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility April 23, 2015