Supply Chain Management – Sustainability Practice


Mining companies are facing increasing global demands to demonstrate that sustainability considerations are taken into account in their operations and also across complete value chains. Performance pressure is coming from a variety of stakeholders and is interestingly being led at both ends of the spectrum, shareholders and customers alike, creating a perfect storm and call to action.

The global mining industry is being held accountable in all corners of their operations from exploration to closure and from the rock face to the dock, with demands of better transparency and proactive management and compliance to standards. Mining supply chains will play a major role in the changes that are occurring in the industry.

As global sustainability targets quickly become the mining industry norm, the expectation will be for companies throughout the global value chain to perform in unison towards measurable standards.

Driving global interest is the UN Sustainable Development Goals, 2030 offering 17 specific goals to address sustainability and social responsibility. Supporting the UN ground breaking initiative is the international standard ISO 20400 Guidance for Sustainable Procurement was launched in 2017.

Global Affairs Canada has taken a leadership role in the mining industry by developing awareness and support for mining through the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service to improve programs and conformance with CSR training.

Shareholders are demanding better management of risk before they invest in an increasingly volatile world, which is driving the mining industry to prioritize action towards improvement. There is significant focus on local and international levels of mining supply chains that will contribute to corporate, industry and also global targets of sustainable development.

The rapid awareness of the critical nature of sustainability is leading exploration and mining companies and manufacturers alike to investigate, take stock and develop programs the meet new investor risk and performance profiles. This awareness is developing a noticeable change towards the way supply chains make decisions with global procurement models and proactive management of performances and challenges. Companies that are embracing the challenge will be rewarded with increased social capital and licence to operate. Results will translate into lower risk, better availability of capital and increased bottom line results.

Working across operations with a broad range of national programs and expectations is a challenge, and corporations who strive for the highest standards will be rewarded with the best position to avoid future problems as standards and expectations continue to rise. Areas where companies are measured include; environmental impact, health & safety, financial management, ethics, employment certainty, Fairtrade, human rights, labour rights, equal opportunities, community engagement and philanthropy.

The most considered actions towards improvement include auditing suppliers, having suppliers provide increasingly accurate sustainability information and developing structured dialogue with increasing tiers of suppliers toward communicating an aligned sustainability policy. Companies that are considered thought leaders in sustainable practice have reached out to all tiers of their supply chain towards integrated strategies in compliance to standards. Thought leader companies are also focusing more on training their supply chain on expectations including the use of independent external audits to align with their corporate protocols and methodology.

As global sustainability targets quickly become the mining industry norm, the expectation will be for companies throughout the global value chain to perform in unison towards measurable standards. Those that fail to develop comprehensive, credible and verifiable plans may find accelerated timelines in the future that could impact performance later.

A coordination mining supply chain association is The Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC), based with their 2019 summit event in May. SPLC will bring together bring together over 450 purchasing and sustainability professionals, suppliers, and NGO experts from diverse sectors and regions in order to share, simplify, and spread the best sustainable purchasing practices across the complete economy.

To learn more about the SPLC Summit, please visit:

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