The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) released new membership requirements to advance the sustainability performance of the mining sector, committing members to implement the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Speaking at the UN Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights, Tom Butler, ICMM’s CEO, announced the council’s new performance expectations that will define what mining with principles looks like in practice, by setting a benchmark for the industry’s environmental and social performance.

“ICMM’s Council of 27 CEOs have shown real leadership in being the first industry body to commit to implementing the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,” Butler said. “Importantly, other companies will also be able to publicly commit to our performance expectations and I hope this will lead the broader industry to further improve its social and environmental performance.”

The performance expectations will apply to all ICMM’s company members who manage almost 650 assets in more than 50 countries, covering nearly half of the world’s iron ore and copper production, and more than a quarter of all mined commodities by value. Therefore, it will be the most far-reaching initiative to advance environmental and social performance in the mining industry.

The new performance expectations were developed with extensive input from nongovernmental organizations, international organizations and academics. The initiative has CEO-level support within all ICMM company members, a point that Butler expanded on in Geneva.

ICMM is currently developing guidance on how members will validate the performance expectations at the asset level, including through independent third-party assessments. This guidance is expected to be complete in the middle of 2019. The guidance will be piloted during the second half of 2019, followed by full implementation across the membership.