Advancing CSR in the mining industry : A stakeholder and management system approach

Abstract: The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is often defined as the integration of social and environmental concerns in a company’s operations and in its interactions with stakeholders on a voluntary basis. It is commonly accepted that extractive industries are at the cutting edge when it comes topractising CSR and that CSR is especially important in the mining sector. CSR needs to be implemented at every level of an organization if it is to have any meaningful impact. In this respect, scholars call for research on the practical rather than the policy level of CSR and for research viewed from an internalrather than an external standpoint. Established management systems are claimed to be useful for CSR practice and frameworks are based on various standards. The benefits of integrating all the aspects of CSR into one sustainability management system (SMS) are often highlighted. However, critical researchersbelieve that SMS would benefit from an externally focused stakeholder-driven and value-based approach, and that instead of ‘doing things right’ the focus should be on ‘doing the right things’, in that companies are often confronted with a range of stakeholders. In line with the call for practical research, thisthesis focuses on stakeholder management within the context of management system thinking. The purpose of this thesis is to explore how the extractive industry in general and companies in the metal and mining industry in particular practise CSR and how this management can be developed. The case study method was chosen as the research strategy and two single case studies in the mining industry were designed. The research began with a literature review and the collection of case study data consisting of documentation, interviews and interactive workshops. The most comprehensive and applied CSR practice is found in the oil industry. The forestry sector mainly seems to practise CSR through environmental issues, while mining companies focus primarily on community involvement and development and environmental issues.Both the case companies have comprehensive policy frameworks in place for CSR and well implemented work systems for labour practices and the environment. This indicates that certified management systems are effective tools for CSR. However, other important CSR issues, such as fair operating practices and community involvement and development, fall outside the scopeof the adopted management system. Therefore, management systems need to be supplemented in order to integrate sustainable development more fully. Both case studies show that ISO 26000 is useful for evaluating and improving a company’s CSR practice. Case study II demonstrates that stakeholder theory iseasily practised and contributes to the development of CSR practice, at least in the planning phase of the PDCA methodology, i.e. the identification of stakeholders and stakes, the estimation of ‘who and what really counts’ and the development of effective strategies to best manage stakeholders. The path from theory to practice also generates interesting discussions when a company looksat stakeholders from different perspectives.