Building Our Shared Future
We believe best practices in corporate social responsibility are vital to maintaining the positive reputation that New Gold has achieved, and drive the way we contribute to sustainable development. By acting ethically and with integrity we are able to make responsible decisions that decrease risks to our employees and contractors, minimize impacts on the environment and benefit the local communities for years into the future.
New Gold’s Health, Safety, Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility (HSE & CSR) Policy describes our commitments in these areas and is reinforced by our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Policy and Human Rights Policy. In 2016, we kept working on continual improvement and adoption of leading industry practices, in accordance with the commitment to our New Gold HSE & CSR Policy. This Policy, implemented throughout our operations and projects, supports a management system framework consistent with:
- The United Nations Global Compact
- The International Cyanide Management Code
- ISO 14001 (Environmental Management System)
- ISO 26000 (Social Responsibility Standard)
- OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety Management System)
- The Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining Initiative
Every New Gold site follows company-wide principles and commitments regarding health and safety, environmental and social responsibility as well as ethical behaviour. We have developed and fully implemented three internal management standards: Health and Safety, Environment, and Community Engagement and Development. These standards are based on best practices and international standards. In 2015, we added two new standards for incorporation into our internal management systems: Mine Closure and Water Stewardship. In 2016, we added the Acid Rock Drainage standard.
Each standard specifies regular reviews including internal and external audits. These audits include verification of the Toward Sustainable Mining (TSM) protocols, which are part of our management standards. TSM verification in operations in Canada is a Mining Association of Canada membership requirement. At New Gold, all operations perform regular verification against TSM protocols irrespective of their location. Measuring performance through regular audits is an important way to ensure our standards are properly implemented and performance is continuously improved. Individual mines may also maintain site-specific policies and processes to ensure compliance with local regulations or other commitments.
New Gold has been recognized as an industry leader for its excellence in social responsibility. In 2016, New Gold is, for the fourth time, the top ranking mining company, and ninth ranked company overall in the Future 40 Most Responsible Corporate Leaders in Canada by Corporate Knights, which recognizes Canada’s emerging sustainability leaders from small to mid-cap corporations. For the past seven years, the Cerro San Pedro Mine has been recognized by the Mexican Center of Philanthropy (Centro Mexicano para la Filantropía, A.C. - CEMEFI) as a Socially Responsible Company (ESR, for its abbreviation in Spanish). In 2015, Cerro San Pedro obtained the prestigious award, Outstanding Business Award COBA 2015, under the Socially Responsible Company category, granted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Mexico (CANCHAM).
Our vision is to continue to be a leader in the area of social responsibility, recognized for excellence in health and safety, environment and community engagement and development.
Social Responsibility Strategic Priorities
In 2016 our Environmental and Social Responsibility team completed a five-year Strategic Plan, identifying goals under the pillars of the New Gold Strategic Framework: Health and Safety, Operational Execution, Disciplined Growth, People, and Environment and Social Responsibility. Targets we identified for 2017 in each of the five pillars are described in our performance scorecards in this report.
Our goals were also mapped against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – which were identified in 2015 to end poverty, protect the environment, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. We did this cross matching to explore how our work contributes to the broader aims of the SDGs.
The table below includes the five-year goals under the Environmental and Social Responsibility pillar and the SDGs we believe we will be contributing to.
Our Environmental and Social Responsibility goals are integrated into business planning across the company. We intend to continue to report on how our strategic priorities and annual targets are aligned with the SDGs.
Health, Safety, Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility (HSE & CSR) Governance
The Board of Directors has responsibility for the overall stewardship of the conduct of New Gold’s business. The Board’s fundamental objectives are to enhance and preserve long-term shareholder value and to ensure that the company continues to meet its obligations and operate in a safe and reliable manner on an ongoing basis.
Details regarding members of the Board and New Gold’s governance practices are described in the Board of Directors and Corporate Governance sections of our website at www.newgold.com/company/corporate-governance/default.aspx.
New Gold’s Compensation Committee is responsible for assisting the Board of Directors in approving and monitoring guidelines and practices with respect to compensation. This includes reviewing corporate goals and objectives relevant to executive compensation. Our corporate goals include matters related to health, safety, environment and corporate social responsibility, which directly impact the compensation paid at all levels of the organization.
The HSE & CSR Committee is a Committee of the Board that reviews and monitors the company policies and activities related to health, safety, environment and corporate social responsibility on behalf of the Board. The Committee may investigate any activity of the company that relates to sustainable development, community development, environment, or health and safety.
At the corporate level, the Health and Safety, Environment and Social Responsibility (HSE&SR) Department has responsibility for related initiatives, targets and performance. The HSE&SR Department is led by a Director, and includes the Environment and Social Responsibility Manager and the Health and Safety Manager. Each site is supported by professionals in these disciplines to ensure sites operate in a manner that respects the expectations of our communities of interest.
Health, Safety, Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility (HSE & CSR) Policy: Summary of Commitments
Health and Safety
We are committed to promoting and protecting the well-being of our employees and the broader communities where we operate, through safety-first work practices and a culture of occupational health and safety excellence. Systems are in place for health assessments and ongoing monitoring and surveillance programs to evaluate and mitigate risks. We are devoted to leading industry practices and systems in health and safety that focus on preventing occupational illness, accidents and incidents.
We are committed to upholding fair employment practices and encouraging a diverse workforce, where people are treated with respect and supported to realize their full potential.
Community Engagement and Development
We are committed to establishing relationships with our host communities, based on trust, mutual benefit and active engagement, to positively contribute to local communities and their economic and social development.
We are committed to minimizing impacts as well as preserving the long-term health and viability of the natural environments affected by our projects and operations.
Human Rights and Ethics
New Gold is committed to integrating human rights best practices into our business operations and decision-making processes. In observation of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights and as a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), we are committed to reflecting the UNGC’s 10 principles relating to human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption in our business operations.
We consider key human rights concerns to include non-discrimination, freedom of association and collective bargaining, and security practices. We have systems in place to ensure employees and contractors are familiar with and abide by the requirements of New Gold’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and Human Rights Policy.
New Gold’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics reflects the principles by which we conduct our business. All employees of New Gold and its subsidiaries must review the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and confirm their personal compliance annually. In 2015, New Gold adopted an enhanced Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Policy (the ABAC Policy) designed to promote compliance with applicable anti-bribery laws and ethical business practices, support transparency and mitigate the risk of corruption. Along with adopting the ABAC Policy, New Gold continued to bolster its ABAC compliance program by developing comprehensive procedures and controls applicable to our business around the world. All New Gold employees are trained on New Gold’s ABAC compliance program.
Our Whistleblower Policy is designed to prevent, detect, investigate and remediate any unethical behaviour within the organization. The policy includes contact information for an independent third party to whom any employee can communicate a concern or complaint in confidence, with the assurance that there will be no negative consequences for the employee related to reporting and that the issue will be investigated.
New Gold produces gold in a way that does not cause, support or benefit unlawful conflict, or contribute to serious human rights abuses or breaches of international law. We are a committed member of the World Gold Council and support its efforts to eliminate unethical gold production and increase transparency of gold mining companies. The Conflict-Free Gold Standard, released in late 2012, is an industry-led approach to combat the potential misuse of mined gold to fund violence and armed conflict.
For the fourth consecutive year, we have been provided with a statement of assurance from an external auditor that confirms we have the processes in place to ensure that our operations do not cause or support conflict, human rights abuses or breaches of international law. A report and the statement of assurance can be found at http://www.newgold.com/corporate-responsibility/Conflict-Free-Gold-Report/default.aspx.
The Conflict Free Gold Standard requires different levels of assessment based on the level of conflict in the area where gold production takes place. Our operations in Australia, United States and Canada are in areas not considered a conflict zone or a zone of high-risk of conflict as determined by the Annual Conflict Barometer published by the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research. The Cerro San Pedro Mine is located in San Luis Potosi, a state of Mexico, which has been identified by the Conflict Barometer as a zone of no violent conflict for the last three years. Because at a country level, Mexico has been identified at the highest level of conflict, we have, for the last three years, conservatively carried out a very detailed comparison of our practices at Cerro San Pedro against the Conflict-Free Gold Standard. In 2016, following the start of the gradual closure of the mine and consequent reduction in gold production, our approach has been to perform a level of assessment similar to those applied at our operations in Canada, USA and Australia. We continually monitor the Conflict Barometer’s assessment of San Luis Potosi and other jurisdictions where we operate and conduct the adequate level of assessment based on the Conflict Free Gold Standard requirements.
Compliance with Laws and Regulations
New Gold maintains standards and processes to make certain that relevant legal, regulatory and other health, safety, environment and social responsibility requirements are identified, understood and complied with. New Gold has never had any legal actions against the company for anti-competitive behaviour.
As a global mining company, New Gold is affected by evolving public policy wherever it operates. In particular, mining-related policy and tax policy can impact the viability and the profitability of our sites. Evolving policy and regulations, including in areas such as the environment, health and safety, and Indigenous rights and title, can also have significant implications for the way we manage our business. New Gold seeks to engage with decision makers either directly, or as a member of a relevant association so that these policies achieve their intended objective and are implementable at site level.
As a Canadian company, New Gold contributes to the development of sound Canadian public policy through participation in the Mining Association of Canada and the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada. We are also active members of the Mining Association of British Columbia and the Mining Association of Ontario. These associations regularly facilitate engagement with government and regulators with regard to policies that may affect the mining industry. In the United States and Mexico, we participate in public policy issues through local mining industry organizations. All sites maintain regular dialogue with local regulatory authorities.