Sustainability: What does it mean to us?

We are committed to economic, social and environmental sustainability; it is fundamental to our business and operations.

Evolving international good-practice on sustainability is raising the ante on measuring and reporting on the natural, human, social, financial and physical aspects of wellbeing. Globally, these living standard indicators are coming under increasing strain, with the onus on private enterprise to lead positive change. We are meeting this challenge by drawing on the Global Reporting Initiative (“GRI”) as our guiding framework for annual reporting.

We have identified ten material topics for the sustainability of our business. For each, we are defining the level of performance we want to achieve, and how we measure progress against our goals and targets.

This is the third year of continually strengthening our sustainability metrics, and the data we collect. As with 2018 and 2019, this year’s reporting is against material topics spanning socio-economic, health and safety, environment and governance categories.

COVID-19 pandemic

The health and safety of our people and the people we interact with, and compliance with government restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have been our top priority. We are also actively building the resilience of our business in view of the related economic downturn that is expected as result of the pandemic.

Climate change

In New Zealand, climate change and the country’s response to it loom large in sustainability policy and action. This year we formalised our position on climate change.

As a coal mining company, we have a key role in ensuring continued economic prosperity during the transition to a net zero carbon economy. We will be increasingly focused on producing coal for steel-making, and working with our industrial process heat customers to continue their coal supply, while they contribute towards maintaining New Zealand’s food sovereignty and their own part in the transition.

We are also exploring what we can do to reduce the CO2 emissions for which we are directly responsible as a business.

Environmental management

We are noticing increasing scrutiny of environmental management at our sites. The case study we provide illustrates our commitment to management of biodiversity and freshwater at our mines. It tells a story of identifying the impacts of mining on the environment, and how we are dealing with them to achieve positive outcomes.

Health and wellbeing

Our area of focus in FY20 was our systems management approach to health and wellbeing in the workplace. We are conscious that it’s one thing to reduce the risks around slips, trips and falls and other hazards at sites; it’s another to deal with longer-term occupational health issues.

We are taking a hard look at how our people are meeting the daily challenge of the working day while safeguarding their health and wellbeing. Bathurst’s employee health management system is now rolled out across the organisation. More detail is provided in a case study.

Mining’s importance to the West Coast

We surveyed our workforce in 2018 to understand how people are employed in mining on the West Coast, their involvement with the community, and how we collectively contribute to the region. The report we commissioned was updated with the latest census data in early 2020.

Topics covered include residency times, level of home ownership, family ties to the community including schooling, work, voluntary activities, and spending in the local economy. The study reveals our workforce is a significant and living part of the West Coast and its people. Further information is provided in our case study.