Social Development Strategy
Pan American Silver defines Corporate Social Responsibility as “the commitment of business to contribute to sustainable economic development, working with employees, their families, the local community and society at large to improve the quality of life, in ways that are both good for business and good for development.” Our approach to social development is based on our belief that we can be a force for positive change in the communities where we operate.
Our commitment to sustainability is an ongoing journey, as we face the challenge of operating seven mines in four countries, with some mines in the expansion phase and others nearing closure. Some of our operations are near communities that have basic services and amenities while others are in remote, sparsely populated regions with little or no infrastructure. We also have almost 6,500 employees and contractors from a variety of cultural, social and educational backgrounds.
A central tenet of our CSR approach is building relationships and trust with communities and other stakeholders, including our mine employees, who are mainly from local communities and regions. This process begins with community engagement, as articulated by the following commitments of our CSR policy:
- meet or exceed industry standards for community engagement, adhering to the laws and regulations of the countries and regions where we operate; and
- endeavour to engage our communities in a timely, inclusive, honest, transparent and culturally appropriate way before undertaking significant activities and at appropriate stages throughout the life of a project.
We learned that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to community engagement is not effective, as the countries and regions where our mines are situated are very different. We have had to conduct cultural due diligence and tailor our CSR approach to each mine.
Having a hands-on approach to community engagement helps us navigate cultural differences with sensitivity. We conduct workshops to educate community-based service providers about the non-negotiable safety and environmental standards that we require as a Canadian company, which are sometimes more stringent than local regulations. The Government of Canada expects Canadian companies to embody CSR best practices and operate to the highest ethical standards, as articulated in its enhanced CSR strategy, “Doing Business the Canadian Way.” Community engagement is an important part of this strategy, as we want our employees and communities to see the realities of our industry so we can work together for mutual benefit.
Community engagement is an ongoing commitment throughout the mine life cycle. Our policy is to start consultations at the earliest possible stage of project planning and continue at appropriate stages through to mine closure.
Ongoing consultation is also important because community acceptance can never be taken for granted. Community trust must be earned every day, by every person on our team.
To learn more about the work we do in the communities surrounding our operations, please take a look at our 2015 Sustainability Report Website.