Corporate Social Responsibility at New Gold
New Gold has consistently worked to build strong relationships and a positive reputation with the company’s many communities of interest, and believes that upholding best practices in corporate responsibility is vital to the company’s long-term success and its vision to be the partner of choice for communities, Indigenous Peoples, governments and shareholders. By acting ethically and with integrity, we are able to make responsible decisions that decrease risks to our operations, employees, and contractors as well as minimizing impacts on the environment, and providing lasting benefits to local communities.
New Gold has been recognized as an industry leader for its excellence in corporate responsibility. In 2017, New Gold was the fourth-highest ranked mining company and fourteenth ranked company overall in the Future 40 Most Responsible Corporate Leaders in Canada by Corporate Knights, which recognizes Canada’s emerging sustainability leaders that are small to mid-cap corporations. For the past eight years, the Cerro San Pedro Mine has been recognized by the Mexican Center of Philanthropy (Centro Mexicano para la Filantropía, A.C. – CEMEFI) as a Socially Responsible Company (ESR, for its abbreviation in Spanish). In 2017, Cerro San Pedro received the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining Leadership Award for outstanding externally verified results in all TSM protocols.
Corporate Responsibility Strategic Priorities (2016–2021)
Our Environmental and Social Responsibility team completed a five-year Strategic Plan in 2016 to identify corporate responsibility goals and targets which are described in the performance scorecards throughout this report. These performance scorecards evaluate our progress against goals in several areas, including corporate governance, health and safety, local communities, and environment. Our goals were mapped against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) developed to guide global efforts towards the end of poverty, protection of the environment, and ensuring prosperity for all. Our goals were mapped against the SDGs to explore how our work contributes to the broader goals of the SDGs, and the table below includes the Environmental and Social Responsibility five-year goals and the SDGs we believe we will be contributing to.
New Gold’s three main environmental and social responsibility goals above are integrated into business planning across the company. We intend to continue to report on how our strategic priorities and annual targets are aligned with the SDGs.
Governance and Management Systems: Health, Safety, Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility (HSE & CSR)
New Gold strives to continue being a leader in corporate responsibility: recognized for excellence in health and safety, environment and community engagement and development.
Board and Senior Management Oversight
The Board has responsibility for the overall stewardship of the conduct of New Gold’s business. The Board’s fundamental objectives are to enhance and preserve long-term shareholder value and to ensure that the company continues to meet its obligations on an ongoing basis and operates in a safe and reliable manner. Details regarding members of the Board and New Gold’s governance practices are described in the Board of Directors and Corporate Governance sections of our website at www.newgold.com/company/corporate-governance/default.aspx.
Our corporate goals include matters related to health, safety, environment and corporate social responsibility, which directly impact the compensation paid at all levels of the organization. New Gold’s Compensation Committee is responsible for assisting the Board of Directors in approving and monitoring guidelines and practices with respect to compensation. This includes reviewing corporate goals and objectives relevant to executive compensation.
The Health, Safety, Environment & Corporate Social Responsibility Committee is a Committee of the Board that reviews and monitors the health, safety, environment and corporate social responsibility activity of the company on behalf of the Board.
At the corporate level, the Health & Safety and the Environment and Social Responsibility Directors have responsibility for related initiatives, targets and performance, and report activities and progress to our Vice President, Operations and General Counsel, and Vice President, Government Relations, respectively. Each site is supported by professionals in these disciplines to ensure sites operate in a manner that aligns with the expectations of the company and the company’s stakeholders.
Compliance with Laws and Regulations
New Gold maintains standards and processes to ensure that relevant legal, regulatory and other health, safety, environment and social responsibility requirements are identified, understood and complied with.
Human Rights and Ethics
New Gold is committed to integrating human rights best practices into our business operations and decision-making processes. In observation of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights we are committed to reflecting the United Nations Global Compact’s 10 principles relating to human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption in our business operations.
The table below describes the key Human Rights matters relevant our business and identified by the UN Global Compact, as well as the management tools we have put in place.
New Gold’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics reflects the principles by which we conduct our business. All employees of New Gold and its subsidiaries must review the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and confirm their personal compliance annually. New Gold’s Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Policy (the ABAC Policy) is designed to promote compliance with applicable anti-bribery laws and ethical business practices, support transparency and mitigate the risk of corruption. The ABAC Policy is supported by an ABAC compliance program with comprehensive procedures and controls applicable to our business around the world. All New Gold employees are trained on New Gold’s ABAC compliance program.
Our Whistleblower Policy is designed to prevent, detect, investigate and remediate any unethical behaviour within the organization. The policy includes contact information for an independent third party to whom any employee can communicate a concern or complaint in confidence, with the assurance that there will be no negative consequences for the employee related to reporting and that the issue will be investigated.
Policies and Standards
New Gold’s Health, Safety, Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility (HSE&CSR) Policy describes our commitments and is reinforced by our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, ABAC Policy and Human Rights Policy. These company-wide policies give direction to management systems consistent with the following international best-practice standards and frameworks:
- United Nations Global Compact
- International Cyanide Management Code
- ISO 14001 (Environmental Management System)
- ISO 26000 (Social Responsibility Standard)
- OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety Management System)
- Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining Initiative
To put the above goals into practice, we have developed and fully implemented three internal management standards: Health and Safety; Environment and Community Engagement and Development.
Measuring performance through regular audits is an important way to ensure our standards are properly implemented and performance is continuously improved. Each standard specifies regular reviews including internal and external audits, in addition to external verification of the Toward Sustainable Mining (TSM) protocols. Individual mines may also maintain site-specific policies and processes to ensure compliance with local regulations or other commitments.
We are a member of the World Gold Council and support its efforts to eliminate unethical gold production and increase transparency of gold mining companies. The Conflict-Free Gold Standard, released in late 2012, is an industry-led approach to combat the potential misuse of mined gold to fund violence and armed conflict.
New Gold does not cause, support or benefit from unlawful conflict, or contribute to serious human rights abuses or breaches of international law in the course of our gold production and sale activities. For the fifth consecutive year, we have been provided with a statement of assurance from an external auditor that confirms we have the processes in place to ensure that our operations do not cause or support conflict, human rights abuses or breaches of international law. A report and the statement of assurance can be found at http://www.newgold.com/corporate-responsibility/Conflict-Free-Gold-Report/default.aspx.
The Conflict-Free Gold Standard requires different levels of assessment based on the level of conflict in the area where gold production takes place. Our operations in Australia, United States and Canada are in areas not considered a conflict zone or a zone of high-risk of conflict, as determined by the Annual Conflict Barometer published by the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research. The Cerro San Pedro Mine is located in San Luis Potosi, a state of Mexico which has been identified by the Conflict Barometer as a zone of no violent conflict for the last three years. At a country level, however, Mexico has been identified at the highest level of conflict. Historically, to be conservative, a detailed comparison of our practices at Cerro San Pedro were assessed against the Conflict-Free Gold Standard. However, since the gradual closure of this mine commenced in 2016, our approach has been to perform a similar level of assessment to that applied to our operations in other jurisdictions.
We continually monitor the Conflict Barometer’s assessment of San Luis Potosi and other jurisdictions where we operate and conduct the appropriate level of assessment based on the Conflict-Free Gold Standard requirements.
As a global mining company, New Gold is affected by evolving public policy in each jurisdiction we operate in. In particular, mining-related policy and tax policy can impact the viability and the profitability of our operations. Evolving policy and regulations, including in areas such as the environment, health and safety, and Indigenous rights and title, can also have significant implications for the way we manage our business. New Gold engages with decision makers either directly or via membership in associations that engage decision makers, in order to communicate New Gold’s interests and help ensure that government policies achieve their intended objective and are implementable on the ground at our sites.
As a Canadian company, New Gold contributes to the development of sound Canadian public policy through participation in the Mining Association of Canada and the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada. We are also active members of the Mining Association of British Columbia and the Mining Association of Ontario. These associations regularly facilitate engagement with government and regulators with regard to policies that may affect the mining industry.
In the United States and Mexico, we participate in public policy issues through local mining industry organizations: the American Exploration and Mining Association, Mexican Mining Chamber and Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Mexico. All sites maintain regular dialogue with local regulatory authorities.
Scorecard 1: Corporate Governance
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