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ESG flawed if in silo’s says Barrick’s Bristow

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Mark Bristow, President, and COE of global mining company Barrick Gold. Image credit: Barrick Gold.

ESG flawed if in silo’s says Barrick’s Bristow

The transition to a green economy will not happen if the United Nations’ Sustainability Goals continues to be encapsulated in environmental, social and governance silos.   

This was the message from Mark Bristow, President, and COE of global mining company Barrick Gold upon return from Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt. Barrick attended the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt as part of a delegation of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM).

Bristow says the palpable tension between the developed and developing world as well as between policy-makers, corporations, governments and investors was testament to the flawed approach of treating each of the United Nation’s 17 Sustainability Goals (SDGs) in silo’s under the approach of Environment Social and Governance (ESG).

“The achievement of the UN’s 17 SDGs by 2030 will not be met as long as the world’s key environmental and social challenges are dealt  with separately,” says Bristow.

SDGs interconnected, not in silos (ESG flawed if in silo’s says Barrick’s Bristow)

“The 17 SDGs are interconnected and a contribution to one will affect the outcome of another. There are synergies between improving economic prosperity, health, education, climate change, access to water and protection of biodiversity, and the path to achievement lies in collaborative thinking and solutions.

“Therefore, an integrated approach is required to meet the world’s triple challenge of poverty, climate change and nature loss,” says Bristow.

“Barrick has adopted a holistic and integrated approach to sustainability, which we applied within our business practices long before ESG became an investment mantra,” he says.

Bristow adds that an integrated approach to sustainability is embedded throughout Barrick’s business.

“A good example is resolving the long-standing legacy issues, notably the resurrection of the North Mara and Bulyanhulu mines through a formal partnership with the Tanzanian government, in line with Barrick’s philosophy of partnership with its stakeholders,” says Bristow.

Bristow says that a good business also has to be a good citizen, particularly in emerging countries where mining companies have a moral obligation as well as a commercial motivation to help develop economies and uplift people.

“If the gold mining industry is to survive in the changing world, it must recognise and acknowledge its duty to all stakeholders, and make sure that they benefit fairly from the value it creates.”

Consider the role of nature (ESG flawed if in silo’s says Barrick’s Bristow)

More and more captains of industry are of the opinion that a climate action and resilience strategy should not focus only on emission reductions, nor only on business resilience, but must consider the role and interconnections that nature plays in the environment.

It needs to consider how the company can build community resilience through socio-economic upliftment, as well as sustainable ecosystem services and biodiversity management, which in turn has positive consequences for nature and climate impacts.

“We look towards nature to develop interconnected solutions, such as constructing the largest wetland in Africa. We track the social outcomes of our community investments, such as girls school attendance and graduation rates. We believe in the integration of the environmental and social aspects, and the need for global socio-economic upliftment,” Bristow concludes.

ESG flawed if in silo’s says Barrick’s Bristow

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ESG flawed if in silo’s says Barrick’s

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AgricultureEnvironmental Management & Climate ChangeEnergyESGInfrastructureMiningPolitical EconomyTourism and ConservationWater Management