The Positive Shift: Australian Commitment Defines New Levels of ESG Leadership in Africa

By AAMEG | 26 May 2022

If you were to ask Australian metals and minerals companies operating in Africa what the silver lining of the past few years has been, you may get a fair breadth of responses.

The sector has faced more than its share of operating challenges; from navigating supply chain issues, to leading remote teams and getting a mine up and running with COVID-related closures and travel restrictions have been just some of the unexpected forces at play for companies at all stages of development.

But through this all, one common denominator has remained steadfast: these operators have not let tribulations detract from their efforts to put Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives into practice.

This ‘no compromise on ethics’ approach is an unwavering standard among Australian companies with African interests; and rightly so.

Meg Kauthen, AAMEG Member and Sustainability Designer at Business for Development commented, “There may be no silver bullet when implementing ESG initiatives but having a framework or strategy in place makes a considerable difference to lasting impact and a company’s ability to play a stronger role in creating a more resilient, equitable economy in the country of operation.”

In recent years, AAMEG has seen significant advancement in Australian mining companies’ communication of such goals and increased activity related to the measurement and reporting of performance against the ESG landscape. This, combined with the integration of ESG considerations in good board governance and remuneration has seen the operational standard in Africa excel.

Transparency too has been a large facilitator for the visible shift towards sustainable mining practices.

What’s more, companies know that investors and stakeholders at large are making decisions on who to support based on their measurement, reporting and communication of ESG factors. This trend is only growing in momentum, and global standards like the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which benchmark an organisation’s business goals, are facilitating the ability to compare and assess a company’s success in integrating sustainability across its operations.

In other words, stakeholder awareness and influence are pushing companies to seek better ways of operating, because ‘if junior company X can be an ethical leader, why can’t established developer company Y’?

Commenting on Australian mining company progress in ESG reporting, Roger Staley – AAMEG’s CEO said, “Establishing greater accountability from the top down, coupled with a more visible ESG agenda and public touchpoints has led to some impressive industry-wide outcomes. AAMEG is proud to celebrate and raise awareness of these efforts through its annual AAMEG Africa Awards and other government avenues of advocacy that we undertake.

Being an ESG leader is a continuous effort, but it is exciting to witness the evolution and implementation of responsible business practices among our 90+ strong membership base and associations in the African minerals and energy space.”

This article was originally published in Mining Indaba’s ‘Daily News’ Publication.