Corporate Social Responsibility practice in the mining industry

University dissertation from Luleå tekniska universitet

Abstract: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has frequently been discussed throughout the years. However, in the 1990s criticism of multinational companies and their production in developing countries resulted in new and more demanding requirements from society. Research within CSR has increased over time but scholars are now demanding research efforts on the practical rather that the policy level of CSR and in this thesis CSR practice is defined as the “ongoing, regular, daily activities of the organization”. It is commonly accepted that extractive industries are in the forefront of practicing CSR and CSR is significantly important in the mining sector. The research purpose is to explore how the extractive industry in general, and the mining industry in particular, is practicing CSR. A comprehensive literature review gave an overview of how CSR is put into practice in the extractive industry and two case studies gave more profound knowledge of the practical level of CSR in the mining industry. The ISO 26000 standard has been used as a framework consistently throughout the research process. The case studies gave information about the practical level of CSR in the mining industry and interesting similarities have been found. Both case companies have comprehensive policy frameworks on CSR. They also have standardized management systems according to OHSAS 18001 for occupational health and safety and ISO 14001 for the environment in order to fulfill legal requirements. When standardized management system standards, like ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, and ISO 50001 for energy, have been implemented, the requirements within these areas in ISO 26000 are fulfilled. In other words, there is an overlap between the content in ISO 26000 and other system standards. A structured way of working towards continual improvements is missing for the core subjects: community involvement and development; and fair operating practices. It is also within these subjects that the majority of the potential improvements for enhancing CSR performance havebeen identified. Stakeholder management is an important part of CSR theory. If all core subjects are integrated into a sustainability management system that has adopted the structured way of working toward continual improvements, the system can be used as a basis for stakeholder management. The study has identified two areas of special interest for further research: stakeholder management related to standardized management systems and community involvement and development.

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