According to a recent article from The Guardian, Canada is currently the headquarters of more than half of the world’s publicly-traded mining companies. These companies have a far-reaching supply chain, having more than 8,000 mining projects across six continents that involve practically every aspect of mining (exploration, construction, production, and closure) and employ almost every piece of heavy equipment available (excavators, dump trucks, drills, mine cages, skips, and rail cars).
One huge potential risk for these businesses is having projects that are located in developing countries where minors account for almost half of the local population—children below 18 who are prone to the negative effects of living so close to mines. To stave off these ill effects, a handful of Canadian mining companies are taking the initiative to study how to improve operations in a way that can benefit children in mining industries, and then implement the necessary changes.
Canadian mining sector does its part to protect children’s rights
These Canadian companies are considered as early adopters of the UNICEF’s Children’s Rights and Business Principles, guidelines for mining companies to advance children’s wellbeing and enhance the impact of their industry to communities. Part of the guideline’s aim is to give children a voice and let them provide important insights on business impact.
Children’s rights as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Upholding children’s rights should be integral to any CSR strategy or policy. Traditionally, mining companies used to think that reducing and eliminating child labor in their supply chains was enough to protect children’s rights. While important, mining industry leaders and experts have come to realize that respecting and protecting children’s rights extends beyond that.
A robust mining CSR strategy should comprehensively represent the many ways in which a mining business may adversely impact children’s rights. Developing and implementing steps that protect children’s rights can improve a company’s reputation and minimize its liability risks. With the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, UNICEF hopes that mining companies will heed the call to respect and support children’s rights across their activities and business relationships through actions in the workplace, the marketplace, the community, and the environment.
Mining equipment manufacturer in Canada
Leading manufacturers of mine shaft cage systems, rail cars, and skips like Wabi Iron & Steel Corp. are committed to the protection of human health and the natural environment by employing a balanced approach to sustainable manufacturing and legislative compliance.
How Canada’s mining sector is addressing children’s rights, The Guardian, Jun. 29, 2015
Corporate Responsibility for Children, UNICEF Canada