Groundbreaking Report on Mining, Oil and Gas Companies Released: Civil Society and Industry Representatives Agree on Good Overseas Practices



    OTTAWA, March 29 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada could become a world leader on
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) if the federal government and other
stakeholders accept and act on the recommendations of a groundbreaking report
released today.
    The report comes out of a ten month government-led roundtable process
that included representatives from civil society organizations, industry,
academia, labour, and socially responsible investors acting as an Advisory
Group, as well as representatives from communities affected by Canadian
mining, oil and gas operations in the developing world.
    The Advisory Group report lays out recommendations for a CSR framework of
good conduct for Canadian mining, oil and gas companies operating abroad.
    "There have been growing concerns about the environmental, social and
human rights impact of Canadian extractive companies operating in the
developing world. The Advisory Group has worked together to develop an
effective framework for addressing these issues, achieving an important
consensus from industry and civil society representatives," says Gerry Barr,
President and CEO of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation. "We
now urge the government to act upon our recommendations."
    "Canada's extractive sectors are committed to improving their social and
environmental performance and adhering to best practices wherever they
operate," states Gordon Peeling, President and CEO of The Mining Association
of Canada. "The Advisory Group report acknowledges the fact that in weak
governance zones, companies face challenges that require new sets of tools,
skills and support and that all stakeholders must work together to achieve
positive outcomes."
    If implemented, the CSR framework would establish standards and reporting
obligations for Canadian companies. It would also create an ombudsman office
to investigate and assess complaints, and to evaluate compliance with the
standards. The report lays out procedures for withholding government services
to companies in cases of serious non-compliance, while also supporting the
development of tools to promote good practice in the extractive sector and
adherence to the CSR framework.
    "Canadian mining companies listed on Canadian stock exchanges are the
largest outward investors, with interests in more than 8,000 properties in
over 100 countries around the world," adds Tony Andrews, Executive Director of
the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada. "Their activities can
help to create new economic opportunities in the developing world. However, it
is equally important that they continually improve their performance in line
with corporate social responsibility expectations. The Advisory Group's report
will contribute to the development of necessary guidance and tools."
    The roundtables were set up in response to a unanimous report by the
Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade that called on
the federal government to "put in place a process involving relevant industry
associations, non-governmental organisations and experts, which will lead to
the strengthening of existing programmes and policies in this area, and, where
necessary, to the establishment of new ones."
    "Parliamentarians responded to repeated appeals for assistance from
villagers and indigenous peoples affected by Canadian mining companies and
tasked the Government of Canada to take action," says Catherine Coumans of
MiningWatch Canada." Industry and civil society members have worked together
in an unprecedented way and it is now up to the government to implement these
recommendations."

    The report is available at:
    <a href="http://geo.international.gc.ca/cip-pic/current_discussions/csr-roundtables-en.asp">http://geo.international.gc.ca/cip-pic/current_discussions/csr-roundtables-en.asp</a> (English)
    <a href="http://geo.international.gc.ca/cip-pic/current_discussions/csr-roundtables-fr.asp">http://geo.international.gc.ca/cip-pic/current_discussions/csr-roundtables-fr.asp</a> (French)




For further information:

For further information: Pierre Gratton, Mining Association of Canada,
(613) 233-9392 ext. 319, Cell.: (613) 293-5111, pgratton@mining.ca; Karyn
Keenan, Halifax Initiative Coalition, (613) 789-4447, Cell.: (613) 301-6899,
kkeenan@halifaxinitiative.org


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