The Responsible Mining Index (RMI): What is it? What’s in it for Mining Companies & HR Professionals?
The first Global Index on responsible mining, RMI 2018, was released in April 2018.
Who does it cover?
The RMI is an ambitious initiative, covering 30 of the biggest mining companies in the world, which together produce 25% of all mined commodities worldwide, excluding oil and gas. These companies represent 16 home countries and operate more than 850 sites across 40 countries.
What does it measure and how?
Aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the RMI evaluates and compares companies on six Economic, Environmental, Social and Governance (EESG) dimensions: economic development, business conduct, lifecycle management, community wellbeing, working conditions and environmental responsibility.
The assessment includes 73 indicators applied at the company-wide level across these dimensions. It also considers site-level actions.
The RMI determines how well companies can demonstrate, rather than simply claim, that they are committed to responsible mining. It shows that they have established systematic approaches to address issues and that their performance in these areas is monitored and reported on.
The RMI assessment is based on publicly available information on these companies. This means that where very little evidence has been found, results will be weak and could be a reﬂection of the level of public reporting on a company’s policies and practices.
Focus on Working Conditions – Room for Improvement
The RMI’s ‘Working Conditions’ dimension covers the rights of employees and contract workers to work in safe and healthy conditions, to express their concerns, to organise on labour matters, and to receive fair treatment in recruitment, employment and promotion. These are all part of the requirements set out in the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standard 2 Labour and Working Conditions.
Performances are broadly similar across all companies on this topic, with a couple of exceptions at both ends of the spectrum. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, ‘Working Conditions’ was the lowest performing dimension overall.
Digging through the report, it rapidly appears that performance is satisfying in terms of occupational health and safety with “nearly all companies have made formal commitments to provide a safe and healthy work environment; and most companies also track and report on their performance in this area and show evidence of efforts to improve their performance on health and safety”, according to the report.
The gaps in performance, as inferred by the lack of evidence disclosed by companies, are principally found in the following areas:
Another issue identified in the report as presenting a large performance gap is tracking the levels of workers’ wages against living wage standards, or legal minimum wage. While respecting legal minimum wages is a must that doesn’t require much explanation, the concept of living wages is still in its infancy, its definition subject to much debate, which might explain the low performance noted in this area.
Further Key Findings and Areas of Improvement
Based on the report’s key findings, these are the actions companies could focus on in order to generate rapid improvements:
- Underpin commitments and policies around EESG issues with systematic company-wide systems and actions
- Implement monitoring processes to track performance on these issues
- Transparently and publicly report site-level performance to workers, mining-affected communities and other stakeholders.
It is worth mentioning that the report also identifies strong cases of leading practice which interested companies can refer to as valuable models.
A Final Word
The RMI 2018 is full of insights and examples of leading practice in the different areas covered. Globe can only encourage our clients to browse through it. We remain available for any questions or support on these matters.
A summary of the 2018 report can be found here: https://responsibleminingindex.org/en/results/overall
This article was featured in Globe 24-7's Quarterly Newsletter - Issue 2 January 2019
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Alain Pfammatter - Manager, Global HR Consulting