Production Working Group Report to the Forum

Non-Ferrous Metals Consultative Forum on Sustainable Development

Second meeting; Oporto, Portugal

12-13 November, 2001

 Report of the ad hoc Working Group on Non-Ferrous Metals Production


The Working Group started its activities in March 2001, with 33 people expressing interest to participate in the group. The full list of participants is posted at the Working Group area of the NFMSD Web site. The first activity was to follow up on the recommendations from the first Consultative Forum meeting in Brussels to prioritise the production-related topics, which resulted in only a handful of responses. The first real session of the group was, therefore, the two-day meeting held in London on 19th and 20th April 2001. A second meeting was planned for September in Washington, which was converted into a telephone conference, held on two days to cover the main topics. The group has relied on the efforts of its members to provide input through e-mail using templates developed to record and analyse the data. The co-chairs are specific grateful to those members who provided submissions, and contributed to the work of the Working Group by attending meetings and participating in conference calls.

This report summarises the progress made by the Working Group, highlighting the issues being addressed and proposing a programme to develop a product from the group. Detailed reports of the meetings have been posted in the Members' Area of the Production Working Group on the NFMSD web site. A presentation of the progress will be made at the second Consultative Forum meeting in Oporto.


The group quickly identified two areas where existing work needed to be brought together to determine the current status of sustainable development activities in the production of non-ferrous metals:

  • Existing and past policies and practices that were designed to promote sustainable development in production of non-ferrous metals,
  • Community engagement initiatives.

This has resulted in the creation of two databases, which have been established in the Member's Area of the website and are attached to this report. The intention is to establish a representative sample of initiatives, rather than a fully comprehensive set of data. This data set is being analysed to determine the drivers behind the initiatives and the outcome of each initiative.  

Sustainable Development Drivers

A preliminary analysis of drivers based on the incomplete data set has indicated that there are three basic levels of drivers:

  • Global
  • National
  • Project specific.

The project specific level is the simplest to analyse as the scope of the initiative is clearest when compared to the others. The analysis of higher-level initiatives has identified a series of issues to be addressed by research and debate within the Working Group.

Issues identified

Sustainable development policies and practices

  • Majority of initiatives identified were initiated by governments

The success of these has been patchy, as seen from both NGO and industry viewpoints, reflecting a "top down" approach rather than an integrated one

  • Industry initiatives are possibly under publicised

Despite raising of profile of SD in the global environment, few companies have concrete examples. Companies may be treating SD as "part of normal business".

  • Few true examples of "triple bottom line" practices have been found

Preliminary analysis indicates segmentation between:

Environment/social focus in "developed world" and

Social/economic focus in "developing world"

  • No clear criteria to measure success of initiatives

Initiatives developed against a framework of "soft" measurements with little or no reference to the "future generations" aspect of SD

  • Indicators tend to be two dimensional (e.g. eco-efficiency)

Measurement systems have not been developed to integrate across the three axes to track effects of initiatives

  • Lack of clear channel to governments to develop integrated initiatives

Processes tend not to be inclusive, not all stakeholders engaged and little clarity on how decision-making process was put in place.

Community engagement

It was agreed by the Working Groups that all stakeholders would benefit from having a better understanding of where and how companies and governments, communities and NGOs have developed engagement strategies and tools that have been successful, as well as understanding those which have not satisfied all of some of those involved.

In order to achieve this objective, we agreed to inventory various approaches to community engagement, drawing on the experience of Working Group members. Contributions to date have been made by 12 Working Group members from industry, government and NGOs, citing several dozen individual projects or initiatives. No attempt has been made to critically review or edit submissions for content or analyses at this stage.

Themes of interest within the broad field of community engagement include;

  • Access to information
  • Opportunities for involvement by various stakeholders
  • Assessing community support and concerns
  • Addressing cultural differences
  • Financial initiatives for sustainable community
  • The impact of direct corporate contributions/philanthropy to communities
  • Means for evaluating the effectiveness of community engagement programs

Examples provided to the inventory include a broad range of inputs including

  • Operational monitoring programs
  • Community resettlement initiatives
  • Closure plan development committees
  • Community health programs
  • Regional development trusts
  • Indigenous partnership programs
  • Minerals and sustainable development consultations

This preliminary inventory successfully highlights diverse examples of involvement of a wide range of stakeholders being driven by various regulatory, and non-regulatory circumstances to design engagement programs in the North and South. Examples include national, regional and local programs.

There is interest in looking into the cultural, historical and institutional factors affecting outcomes of different programs in order to make further conclusions and recommendations about best practices as part of the next phase of work.

It was agreed by the Working Group that

  • The inventory was a useful initiative which should continue to be expanded, and
  • That there are both successes and failures identified that warrant further, more in-depth study.

Future Projects identified

Compile practical framework for developing successful SD Initiatives in Non-Ferrous Metals Production

The Working Group proposes to undertake a case study based approach to learn from current initiatives. A series of themes has been identified covering the social, economic and environmental focuses of existing initiatives. A small number of well-documented cases will be selected from the themes for analysis in terms of their effectiveness in reaching their goals.

  This will enable the Working Group to develop the framework covering the following key areas:

  • Criteria for Sustainable Development

Identify dilemmas faced when integrating "triple bottom line" measurements
Gap analysis for measurement systems

  • Community Engagement Processes

Involving the stakeholders in the decision making processes

  • Role of Governments

Partners in joint efforts towards SD vs. legislators responding to pressure groups. Unique strength to NFMSD forum is key role of government - identify how to use it effectively.

This is currently envisaged to be the next phase of activity product of the working group.

The co-chairs

Alan Young

Chris Hartley

Dave Cammarota

International Copper Study Group International Lead and Zinc Study Group International Nickel Study Group