BUILDING CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY - CSR
DEFINING MYTCL BEST PRACTICE – ISO 26000 & AA 1000
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) refers to the voluntary actions undertaken by Myanmar Yang Tse Copper Limited to either improve the living conditions (economic, social, environmental) of local communities or to reduce the negative impacts of our mining projects. By definition, voluntary actions are those that go beyond legal obligations, contracts, and licence agreements.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MINING AND SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
MYTCL's CSR programs usually invest in infrastructure (potable water, electricity, schools, roads, hospitals, hospital equipment, drainage repairs, etc.), building social capital (providing information on HIV prevention, workshops on gender issues, information on family planning, improving hygiene, etc.), and building human capital (providing for high-school and university education, training local people to be employed by our mining enterprise or to provide outsourced services, promote and provide skills on micro-business, aquaculture, crop cultivation, animal rearing, textile production), and so on. We have voluntarily allocated a CSR budget in cooperation with MEHL and chosen to undertake CSR programs in order to build better relations with the local mining communities in which we operate and in response to the requests from our neighbouring villagers in times of need.
The plan for 2017-18 and onwards, is to move away from the short-term achievements and to look at more life-long and sustainable opportunities for the communities that are engaged with us. Our SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS will be developed to contribute to the long-term strengthening of community capability. Globally, the most sustainable beneficial legacies that community development programs around a mining and metals operation may leave are in the skills and capacities that training, employment and education programs for local people provide. The collaborations for the 2017-18 CSR Programs of MYTCL will push for a focus generating off-site growth and potential, and following or adapting international success projects. The essential element of these sustainable community development programs will be that they can survive without input from MYTCL, especially after the mining project is finished. Thus, community sustainability can be supported by mining practices that help convert one local asset, namely non-renewable natural resource capital, into other local assets, namely sustainable social, economic and environmental capital.
INTEGRATING SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS
Mirroring the United Nations Inclusive Development Programme (UNDP), MYTCL initiated an Integrated Development Action Plan to address the issues of sustainability and community development. The foundation of this action plan rests on the UNDP platform: "Development can be inclusive - and reduce poverty - only if all groups of people contribute to creating opportunities, share the benefits of development and participate in decision-making."
There had been legacy programs in place with the previous ownership, but they lacked the function of separation from the mine once completion had been established. There were immediate goals such as training programs and donations, but there was no long-term planning for development and infrastructure, or for the environment and community growth. There was little community input. The focus was on benefits directly in relation to mining. A shift away from the mine and onto the community itself was missing from the formulae. In 2017-18 the on-going application of community development initiatives will move forward to instigate close consultation with all relevant stakeholders, with the primary purpose to improve livelihoods and employment opportunities and to establish new alternatives to lessen the communities' reliance on the mine through micro-enterprise and SME development (Small and Medium Enterprise). It is intended that a partnership between the mine, the community, reputable local NGOs with suitable implementation capacity, and the government can take on the responsibility for development of essential human resources and social sector infrastructure, which is so sorely lacking in the area. Mine closure preparations at MYTCL are estimated to commence within a projected 15 years, and it obviously essential to continue to implement and improve upon IDAP development.
It is also intended that the MYTCL plan will establish a national prototype model for sustainable social and economic development of communities confronted with eventual mine closure and the loss of associated employment and infrastructure. Successful implementation of the plan in the country's largest mine would provide a valuable model which could be replicated in other projects in Myanmar and will contribute significantly to developing best practice in the country's mining industry on sustainable community development and mine closure.
Utilising participatory methodologies to ensure 'ownership' by all key stakeholders, the following activities will be included for consideration in the 2017-18 CSR Budgets:
• Facilitation of a consultative process with all key stakeholders to develop and build consensus concerning an overall strategy to establish a diversified sustainable local economy, and to identify a number of projects (agriculture, health, environment, SMEs) that will be implemented by MYTCL and become entrenched before mining moves away from the area.
• Evaluation and preparation of detailed cost estimates and/or economic models and implementation schedules for selected projects.
• Identification of improved agriculture and livestock production systems that could be promoted through various inputs (e.g. identification of markets; preparation of training materials for use by a foundation and/or government agencies concerning suitable land use, improved seed varieties, fertiliser and pest management techniques, development of water sources and irrigation systems for small scale gardens, poultry production systems, etc.).
• Identification of means to promote and establish SME's and HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis support projects.
• Preparation of an overall plan for MYTCL based on selected sustainable projects, and which clearly identifies sources of funding and revenue flows, potential partners, cost estimates, implementation schedule, roles and responsibilities, and monitoring and evaluation processes.
• Provision of training to assist in creating partnerships between various organisations, Government Agencies, NGOs, target villages, and international aid agencies, and to build the capacity of MYTCL and its local constituents to implement selected projects.
• Development of a linkage between the mine, the community and the government.