Local schoolchildren at Yaramoko village near Appian portfolio company Roxgold (West African gold producer)
Appian regards social, environmental and governance standards as crucial elements within all investment opportunities and portfolio companies
Corporate social responsibility
Appian regards social, environmental and governance standards as crucial elements within all investment opportunities and is committed to working to ensure that all of its portfolio companies adhere to international best standards. Mining requires collaboration from all stakeholders to support the project development in return for the greater social and financial benefit that a mine can bring to isolated communities and governments.
As part of Appian’s 360° due diligence process, the team reviews both the social and environmental aspects associated with all potential investment opportunities. This process generally involves a comprehensive review of existing environmental liabilities, rehabilitation and closure plans, local legislation and permitting requirements, local communities and other operating mines in the region. The Appian team is keenly aware of the continuous need for the social license to operate and ensures all projects and investment opportunities evaluated have a well-established and long term workable social license.
Principles for Responsible Investment
Appian has been accepted as a signatory to the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (the “Principles”). The Principles are a set of internationally accepted guidelines, which ensure that all signees adhere to best-in-class responsible investment practices in relation to environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) issues.
Appian has been a member since founding and, in signing the Principles, we publicly commit to adopt and implement them, where consistent with our fiduciary responsibilities.
The six Principles are:
- Incorporation of ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes
- Be active owners and incorporate ESG issues into the ownership policies and practices
- Seek appropriate disclosure on ESG issues from the entities in which we invest
- Promote acceptance and implementation of the Principles within the investment industry
- Work together to enhance the effectiveness in implementing the Principles
- Each report on activities and progress towards implementing the Principles
For further information about the Principles, please click here.
Portfolio Company ESG Performance
Health, safety, environmental, and community programs consistently remain the top priority of all Appian portfolio companies throughout the life of the investment. The long-term value creation that is core to Appian’s mandate is not one-sided but, is rather viewed as an opportunity to give back to local communities and the environment through the implementation of robust social programs and the adherence to Tier 1 environmental practices.
All of Appian’s portfolio companies have delivered significant benefits to the local communities and stakeholders. We are believers in strong partnerships with local communities, which has led to the implementation of numerous social programs, and knowledge and skill advancements for the local stakeholders.
Each of Appian’s existing portfolio companies maintains a comprehensive health, safety, environmental, and community program. Beyond providing over 1,400 direct employment and training opportunities to remote communities, and thousands more indirectly, Appian’s portfolio companies undertake a number of community initiatives, including but not limited to:
- Community infrastructure programs, including the construction of classrooms, health centres, and water wells
- Local recruitment and vocational training from surrounding communities
- Preferential procurement from local suppliers and contractors
- Funding to support community enterprise schemes and business opportunities
Roxgold has successfully demonstrated a commitment to conducting its mineral exploration and development activities in accordance with international best practices outlined in the International Finance Corporation’s (“IFC”) Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability, who are a major shareholder. Roxgold’s comprehensive Health, Safety, Environment and Community (“HSEC”) Policy ensures that environmental responsibility and community engagement remain at the forefront of day-to-day operations while maintaining a work environment conducive to workers’ health and safety. A brief summary of Roxgold’s HSEC policy is highlighted below:
- Work towards and build on international best practices for exploration and mining
- Implement environmental requirements as outlined by the authorities of Burkina Faso and any future jurisdictions in which it operates
- Implementation of health and safety best practices and making leadership accountable for their application
- Comply with IFC’s Performance Standards and applicable guidelines
- Establish and implement appropriate communication and consultation procedures with all stakeholders, as identified in the Stakeholder Engagement Plan
- Seeks to achieve a balance of economic growth, social progress and environmental stewardship in our operations, to ensure we make a lasting contribution in the communities in which we operate
Since day one, Health and Safety have been fundamental aspects of the Roxgold culture. The Company’s dedication to the IFC’s Performance Standards has been consistently demonstrated through the prioritization of the protection of the health and safety of the Roxgold workforce. The primary goal of realizing a Zero-Incident workplace has been reinforced by the active participation of all employees and contractors in achieving this goal, and further driven by Roxgold’s exemplary culture of safety leadership. Thanks to the dedication of all Roxgold staff members and contractors, the Company has achieved the impressive milestone of working over 4.5 million hours LTI free since the mine’s commissioning in May 2016 to the end of the first quarter in 2018. To this end, Roxgold has conducted over 22,000 hours of health and safety training since operations at Yaramoko have begun, including 2,500 hours in emergency response training.
Roxgold has remained committed to develop and maintain positive relationships with the host communities to ensure an ongoing social license to operate. The recent extension of the mining area has been a demonstration of the partnership exiting between the mine and the surrounding community. This positive relationship originates from the successful implementation of an extensive and respectful community engagement program and social programs such as local procurement and employment, livelihood restoration, community health and safety, cultural heritage and local community investment. These programs aim to ensure the protection and development of the community with an end goal of making a lasting and positive impact on all local stakeholders.
Frequent and formal stakeholder engagement, such as quarterly community monitoring committee meetings, monthly villages meetings, mine visits, and local authorities meetings combined with the use of key performance indicators has resulted in the Company’s proven ability to develop pertinent social programs that meet stakeholders’ expectations including the IFC, the Burkina Faso Government and the local communities.
Social programs pursued by Roxgold include: malaria control and HIV sensitization activities in the villages around the mine site, rehabilitation of local roads, the financial support of cultural festivals and rituals and the funding of projects such as construction of school infrastructure, water boreholes, solar electrification of medical facilities and the financial and technical support of women’s association to develop small businesses. These programs are designed, operated and monitored with a participative approach jointly with the concerned stakeholders to ensure that the past successes set the seeds of the future. Roxgold has also undertaken comprehensive stakeholder consultations to identify future opportunities to continue giving back to the local communities, which has resulted in the identification of 31 new community investment projects for implementation in 2018 in addition to the 66 projects implemented to date.
Roxgold continues to implement the local employment management plan resulting in 49% of employees being from the region surrounding Yaramoko mine, and 87% of employees being from Burkina Faso. This particular success is due to the vigilance of the “local employment first” approach and by targeted training of local residents for specific job opportunities. One example of this targeted training was training of 40 local unskilled youth from the local community to ensure that all processing operators were recruited locally.
Furthermore, a local procurement management plan has been implemented to maximize the local socio-economic benefit from the project. In 2017, over US$1 million was spent in the vicinity of the mine and the total expenditures for goods and services within Burkina Faso was US$96.4 million.
As Roxgold’s HSEC Policy adheres to the IFC’s International Best Practices, the Company is committed to conducting all mining and exploration activities in a responsible and sustainable manner. To ensure environmental best practices are consistently respected, the Company continuously monitors all aspects of their operations through a robust environmental management system, resulting in no significant impacts or incidents recorded and no fine or non-compliance following the governmental audits and inspections. In addition, the Company has allocated significant resources to meet all environmental objectives related to long-term mine closure planning.
As a proactive measure to improve the biodiversity and the living environment, Roxgold commits significant effort and resources to minimizing their operational footprint to limit their impact on the surrounding environment. Additionally, Roxgold funds an annual community reforestation program, in association with the Bagassi leaders, women’s and youth groups, which has resulted in the planting of nearly 100,000 trees to date within the villages surrounding the mine site.
From resource development through to the achievement of run rate production and beyond, Avanco has consistently maintained its emphasis on the importance of outstanding ESG performance.
Avanco continues to maintain their exemplary health and safety record with no Lost Time Injuries (“LTIs”) incurred to date, highlighting the Company’s outstanding and industry-leading safety culture. In addition to the responsible work practices demonstrated by all Avanco employees, the Company has conducted health and safety training programs for hundreds of personnel to ensure that all safety procedures are adapted to fit the evolving work environment at the Antas North operation.
Avanco has successfully developed and maintained a positive relationship with the local community members through the implementation of numerous social programs and the integration of community members into the Antas North labour force.
Members of the local community have been consistently prioritized for employment and service contracts with over 95% of employees, contractors and service providers at Antas North residing within the Para State of Brazil. Beyond providing direct employment opportunities, Avanco seeks to support local business and supplier selecting a local catering firm to provide over 7,500 meals per month to all employees based at the Antas North operation. Additionally, local labourers are preferentially selected to complete ad hoc site work, such as fencing activities.
From an environmental perspective, Avanco continues to employ industry best practices and a proactive rehabilitation program. To ensure consistent tier-one environmental performance and compliance, Avanco constantly monitors all aspects of the Antas North operation, including a rigorous tailings management policy drawing regularly on independent consultants. Avanco remains dedicated to returning the environment to a better state than the pre-mining conditions of the Antas North property. Operating with this goal in mind, the team continues to successfully re-vegetate waste dumps as the material stacking is completed across various designated dumping regions. Many of the indigenous trees and plants utilized to rehabilitate the dumps were sourced from the Antas North nursery, established and donated by the Avanco team in an effort to give back to local communities. Aside from offering numerous employment opportunities to local community members, the nursery is also used to provide training programs to local farmers.