(Ottawa) A report obtained by MiningWatch Canada reveals that Canadian mining companies are implicated in four times as many violations of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as mining companies from other countries. The report was commissioned by the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) in 2009 but was never released to the public.
The report discusses 171 high-profile CSR violations by mining companies between 1999 and 2009. Sixty-three percent of these violations are linked to companies from just five countries, including Canada. Canadian mining companies are involved in more than four times as many violations as the next two highest offenders, Australia and India.
The report's authors conclude that “...Canadian companies have been the most significant group involved in unfortunate incidents in the developing world. Canadian companies have played a much more major role than their peers from Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Canadian companies are more likely to be engaged in community conflict, environmental and unethical behaviour...”
Importantly, the report also found that the large majority of the Canadian mining companies involved in such violations have CSR policies in place.
“This report - done for the biggest industry lobby group - confirms what we have been saying for years: that violations of good corporate behaviour by Canadian mining companies in developing countries are numerous and widespread. Cleary this is not just a case of a few bad apples, as the industry's boosters would like us to believe,” said Catherine Coumans, Research Coordinator for MiningWatch Canada. “It also confirms that voluntary social responsibility measures by these same companies are not enough to stop abuses of human rights and the environment.”
It is for this reason that MiningWatch Canada firmly supports the passage of Bill C-300, An Act Respecting Corporate Accountability for Mining, Oil and Gas Corporations in Developing Countries, currently before the House of Commons. “Canadians want to know that our government is not supporting Canadian mining companies that are involved in abuses of human rights and the environment overseas,” says Coumans. “That's what Bill C-300 is all about, making sure our tax dollars do not support bad corporate behaviour.”
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The report by the Canadian Centre for the Study of Resource Conflict, Corporate Social Responsibility: Movements and Footprints of Canadian Mining and Exploration Firms in the Developing World is attached below.