The 2019 Environmental Transparency Rating of Mining and Metals Companies Operating in Russia, released by the local chapter of WWF, revealed that miners working in the largest country on Earth are doing a better job at reporting their efforts to mitigate environmental impacts and protect their natural surroundings.
According to WWF, this year’s rating included 41 participants and almost half of them not only provided information to the researchers conducting the analysis but also made available, on their websites, pieces of information that were missing. Last year, feedback was provided only by 14 companies.
“Each year we register an increase in the companies’ transparency,” Aleksey Knizhnikov, head of the Program for Business Environmental Responsibility at WWF-Russia, said in a media statement. “Thanks to the growing transparency of the companies, for the first time we have enough data to calculate industry-average environmental impact by sub-industry, including mining of precious metals, non-ferrous and ferrous metals.”
Knizhnikov informed that based on the results calculated by the Analytical Center of the National Rating Agency, Polyus Zoloto (LSE: PLZL) (MCX: PLZL), the largest gold producer in Russia, took the first spot when it comes to environmental transparency. The second place was occupied by coal miner SDS-Ugol, and the third by Canadian miner Kinross Gold (TSX:G) (NYSE:KGC).
The criterion for evaluating the environmental reporting of these companies involves, among other considerations, the quantitative performance results that emanate from the presence or absence of environmental management. This year, the amount of energy produced from renewable sources was also added to the measure.
Knizhnikov said that some firms were also awarded for special conservation efforts. Iron ore miner and steelmaker Severstal (MCX: CHMF) (LSE: SVST), for example, was recognized for its achievements in biodiversity conservation, while fellow steelmaker Metalloinvest won a prize for informational transparency. Similarly, Alrosa (MCX: ALRS), the world’s top diamond producer by output, was highlighted for active cooperation during the rating calculation.
Coal miner Kuzbassrazrezugol (MCX: KZRU) was acknowledged as the best first-timer of the year, and coal and iron ore miner Mechel (MCX: MTLR) (NYSE: MTL) demonstrated constructive dialogue in cases of accidents and environmental conflicts.
“The mining industry is one of the most important sectors of the Russian economy today. The growing demand for the various mineral resources regarding the development of a green economy will make this sector even more valuable,” Knizhnikov said. “With that in mind, we need to generate more efficient mechanisms that can reduce the negative impact of mining companies on the environment.”
In the view of the NGO staffer, WWF’s rating supports the pursue of such a goal as its distribution helps grow industry transparency and supports companies’ efforts to minimize their carbon footprint.