Mining and the Sustainable Development Goals

In September 2015, the UN member states agreed on a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which represent the global agenda for equitable, socially inclusive, and environmentally sustainable economic development until 2030. Mining companies have the potential to become leading partners in achieving the SDGs. Through their direct operations, mining companies can generate profits, employment, and economic growth in low-income countries. And through partnerships with government and civil society, they can ensure that benefits of mining extend beyond the life of the mine itself, so that the mining industry has a positive impact on the natural environment, climate change, and social capital.

At the same time, mining companies will be called on to extract with responsibility, produce with less waste, use safer processes, incorporate new sustainable technologies, promote the improved wellbeing of local communities, curb emissions, and improve environmental stewardship. Mining companies committed to the SDGs will benefit from improved relationships with governments and communities and better access to financial resources; those that fail to engage meaningfully with the SDGs will put their operations at risk in the short and long term.

CCSI has been working with the World Economic ForumUnited Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) to create a shared understanding of how the mining industry can most effectively contribute to the SDGs. The report will help mining companies navigate where their activities  – from exploration, through operations and mine closure – can help the world achieve the SDGs. Governments, civil society and other stakeholders can also identify opportunities for shared action and partnership with the industry.

A draft report of Mapping Mining to the Sustainable Development Goals: A Preliminary Atlas was released for public consultation in January 2016; the final version was released on July 19, 2016. The executive summary and the full report (available in English, Spanish, and French) are available here.