Q&A with Rob Doyle, CFO
Q: What’s the relationship between finance and sustainability?
A: Finance is an integral part of sustainability. Being a financially healthy and stable company allows us to contribute both directly and indirectly towards meeting our sustainability goals in the regions where we operate. For example, we pay taxes, royalties, and fees to local governments, and those payments can be invested back into social programs and community infrastructure. Hiring locally and providing competitive wages also serves to stimulate local economic activity in regions where we operate.
What’s interesting now, however, is the growing recognition that investments in sustainability make good financial sense – by lowering risk, attracting capital, and gaining social acceptance. Pan American Silver has always seen community-focused programs as essential to success. As an example, we procure the vast majority of the products and services we need for our business from local suppliers. Investing in capacity building of local businesses helps those businesses improve their practices. Working with those businesses helps us build community relationships as well as a more cost-effective and resilient supply chain. We also work with host communities to identify, create, and support sustainable development programs, which helps us to better understand the needs and priorities of those host communities. These initiatives improve local quality of life, which, in turn, is key to building and maintaining the community support we need to operate in the long term.
Q: How does Pan American Silver’s business impact local economies and communities?
A: I take great pride in the positive economic impacts our Company has on the communities and areas around our operations. Our need for skilled labour translates into jobs and business opportunities for host communities. We hire locally and provide our workforce with competitive wages and benefits. Whenever possible, we procure goods and services locally for mine operations and maintenance. We also provide training and capacity building to local companies providing services and supplies to our mines, which can mean long-term employment opportunities for the companies. With our acquisition of Tahoe Resources in early 2019, our socio-economic development programs were extended to the communities near our new sites. We work hard to make sure we leave a legacy of economic benefits that extend beyond the life of our mines.
Q: How have investors’ demands for greater transparency and accountability on topics related to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance affected Pan American Silver and the mining industry?
A: ESG is becoming increasingly important to investors. We’re at a point where interest in ESG information comes not only from institutional or socially responsible investors, but also mainstream investors. It makes good financial sense for investors to want an understanding of how a mining company manages its key sustainability risks, namely, climate change, water, tailings, community and government relations, and tax transparency. Pan American Silver has long held strong ESG performance as a fundamental part of our business. In the future, the investment community will place increasing importance on ESG performance. Pan American Silver has long held strong ESG performance as a fundamental part of our business. Personally, I welcome more diligent ESG standards, which will bring greater focus and should then translate into improved sustainability performance across the industry.
As part of our evolving approach to ESG performance, Pan American Silver supports the approach presented in the Task Force on Climate related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) recommendations. We are working towards implementing TCFD recommendations and will publish a TCFD report in 2021. We are committed to doing our part to reduce our carbon footprint by setting realistic short and medium term targets, improving our existing public disclosure, and ensuring that climate risks are incorporated into our business plan.
What’s interesting now, however, is the growing recognition that investments in sustainability make good financial sense – by lowering risk, attracting capital, and gaining social acceptance.