Managing Social Impacts
Managing Social Impacts
We have adopted formal policies, procedures and industry best practices to address the impacts of our activities and contribute to the social and economic development of communities.
As each country and community in which we operate has a distinct culture and social context, our management framework provides a consistent methodology to measure and track social impact and our corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance across our mines, yet still have the flexibility to tailor our approach to the particular circumstances of
Our Management Approach
- CSR Policy – Details our overarching commitment to operate mines and develop projects in harmony with local communities and to respect and uphold human rights. A central tenet of our CSR Policy is to engage local communities in a timely, inclusive, transparent, and culturally appropriate way throughout the mine life cycle.
Baseline assessments help us:
- Understand the current social context and the potential impacts of our operations on our host communities
- Identify and map relevant COIs, including vulnerable groups who may be disproportionately affected by our activities
- Identify programs appropriate for the social context
- CDI Tool – Our Community Development Initiative (CDI) tool helps sites determine what type of legacy programs are a good fit for us and local communities. Every socio-economic program requiring corporate office approval is developed and evaluated using this tool.
- Community teams – Each mine site has a community office with a team responsible for ongoing engagement.
- Materiality survey – We gather information annually on which issues are important to our COIs, as well as their perceptions of our performance.
- Feedback and response mechanism – Each community office maintains a feedback log where community questions, comments, concerns and grievances are recorded. These mechanisms help us understand community concerns around the perceived or actual impact of our activities.
- Programs and initiatives – Our programs are designed to provide sustainable benefits for our local communities, promote local hiring and procurement, or support new or ongoing infrastructure or services.
Internal Capacity Building
- Training – We train our local teams on new procedures to manage potential impacts and ensure that our socio-economic development programs are aligned with community needs and aspirations.
- Education – We conduct workshops to educate employees and community-based service providers about the high ethical, safety, environmental, and CSR standards we expect.
- Social audits – We conduct social audits in each mine biennially to monitor the programs we run in partnership with neighbouring communities, assess our contractors’ camps and facilities, and identify opportunities for improvement in our processes and programs. The ISO 26000 guidance standard on social responsibility serves as the basis for our audits, and we have developed additional company-related content to assess issues relevant to our organization.
- TSM Aboriginal and Community Outreach protocol – Our sites self-assess their performance against this protocol and develop corresponding action plans for improvement.
- Site-level community teams, comprised of experts, such as social workers and psychologists, are responsible for ongoing engagement and program implementation.
- The head of CSR at the site or country level oversees social audits and ensures that follow-up is conducted.
- The Vice President of Social Sustainability leads sustainable development and human rights programs and initiatives, which are overseen by the Vice President of Environment and Sustainability.
Social audits help us monitor our social footprint and manage our performance. Depending on the audit findings, sites can take between three months to a year to implement corrective actions.
In 2018, we completed an audit of Manantial Espejo in Argentina. The primary findings were related to infrastructure upgrades and the roll out of a grievance mechanism. These are currently being addressed.
In 2019, audits are planned for our Peruvian and Bolivian operations.
We engage in open dialogue early in the mining lifecycle and maintain this through to mine closure in order to build trust, understand the priorities and concerns of our host communities, as well as to better manage our impacts and community expectations.
Community Feedback and Grievances
Community members can provide their questions, concerns and/or complaints to us through a community mailbox or in person at our community offices. Each community office maintains a feedback log and all feedback is categorized. Any concern or complaint raised by an individual or group impacted by our operations which requires a response or resolution is categorized as a grievance. The most common grievances we receive fall into the following categories: environment, health and safety, company initiatives, and property and land agreements.
For any grievance, a local company representative is appointed to follow up. We aim to respond to and resolve grievances within 15 days. The outcomes are reported to and reviewed monthly by the Vice President of Social Sustainability. When a grievance cannot be resolved directly with the complainant and a grievance remains, we consider this to be a significant grievance. Local senior management is then assigned to address the significant grievance.
In 2018, we received 156 grievances and no significant grievances through our grievance and feedback mechanism.
We did, however, address two community-based conflicts at Huaron and La Colorada. In April 2018, members of the nearby Huayllay community set up roadblocks on the access to the Huaron mine in Peru. The community members demanded compensation for alleged impacts to community land, as well as additional service contracts for construction work, haulage and supply of materials to the mine. We temporarily suspended operations during the blockade while we engaged in a mediation process led by the Social Affairs General Office of the Peruvian Ministry of Energy and Mines.
Through this conflict, we determined the need to conduct an updated, participatory social baseline assessment, which would help us better understand the conflict’s root causes and the post-conflict situation in the area. We conducted the assessment in the fall of 2018, and are now in the process of open and broad communication on the findings to community leaders as well as to the community at large. The experience has helped us improve the ways in which we communicate and engage with the community.
As part of our plant expansion at La Colorada, in 2015 we built new camp facilities and re-accommodated workers, as well as a group of families who were not workers but lived on our property in substandard housing. A small group of these remaining families filed a claim in the Mexican Agrarian Court and also engaged the United Nations Commission on Human Rights office in Mexico City (OHCHR). We have been proactively working with the OHCHR and the families affected to resolve the issues. In 2018, during a site visit the OHCHR identified areas of concern and opportunities for improvement. These included: improving water, electricity and facilities access, and changes to physical security infrastructure. Pan American Silver took immediate steps to address these issues and we continue to work towards a final resolution with the remaining families still living in the Company’s camp facilities. Engaging with the OHCHR has been a positive learning opportunity for us, particularly in receiving and adopting advice and creating a forum for respectful dialogue to mitigate potential conflicts and create a mutually beneficial resolution.