Canada’s mining industry commits to climate change action

May 5, 2021 | Industry News

New Sustainable Mining Standard to place Canadian mining industry at the forefront of global climate efforts

Today, the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) is releasing a new Towards Sustainable Mining® (TSM) Climate Change Protocol designed to minimize the mining sector’s carbon footprint, while enhancing climate change disclosure and strengthening the sector’s ability to adapt to climate change.

“We are committed to being a constructive partner in the fight against climate change. TSM has a proven track record of driving positive change in Canada’s mining industry and this new protocol ensures that we will continue to adopt leading practices related to climate change mitigation and adaptation,” said Pierre Gratton, MAC’s President and CEO. “Our mined materials are required inputs for green technology, like electric vehicle batteries, wind turbines and solar panels, and it is critical that these minerals and metals be responsibly sourced with the smallest GHG footprint possible. As an energy intensive industry, we know we have an important role to play in lessening our carbon footprint, and this new TSM protocol is intended to help our members do just that.”

TSM was the first mining sustainability standard in the world to require site-level assessments and is mandatory for all MAC member companies’ Canadian operations. First launched in 2004, TSM is a globally recognized sustainability program that supports mining companies in managing key environmental and social risks. Through TSM, eight critical aspects of social and environmental performance are evaluated, independently validated, and publicly reported against 30 distinct performance indicators. Canada’s mining sector operates some of the lowest carbon-intensive mines in the world thanks to Canada’s abundance of clean energy, the adoption of world-class sustainability standards like TSM and company adoption of low emission technologies at their sites.

“Not only does the industry have an important role to play in reducing its emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change, but Canada’s mining sector is also uniquely positioned to support the global energy transition that will be required to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement,” continued Gratton. “The new TSM Climate Change Protocol truly raises the bar for industry performance related to climate change, ensuring robust corporate governance and strategies related to climate action as well as comprehensive management systems at mine sites to ensure that companies can meet their climate-related targets.”

The TSM Climate Change Protocol is a major update to the TSM Energy Use and GHG Emissions Management Protocol, first introduced in 2013. The Climate Change Protocol is supported by the publication of the new Guide to Climate Change Adaptation for the Mining Sector, a comprehensive, first-of-its-kind guidance for the mining sector focused on assessing and identifying potential physical climate impacts, considering these risks in decision-making, and implementing corresponding adaptation measures. With substantial input from industry and communities of interest, the new protocol responds to many of the calls to action issued to MAC by the Community of Interest Advisory Panel in Rising To The Challenge: Advisory Statement On Climate Change, published in 2016.

The TSM Climate Change Protocol improves upon the TSM Energy Use and GHG Emissions Protocol in several important ways, including:

  • Stronger requirements for energy use and GHG emissions management, performance, and reporting at the facility level, setting a new bar for best practice.
  • A new indicator on climate change management at the corporate level to support companies in responding to the Recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures and in setting ambitious targets and actions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement, including commitments related to net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • Incorporation of new requirements for facility-level management of physical climate-related risks and adaptation measures.

“Climate change is an issue that matters to all of us. Minimizing our industry’s environmental footprint also makes good business sense as investors are looking for companies to disclose how they are managing climate-related risks and considering these risks in their business strategies,” said Gratton. “This new protocol requires companies to make commitments, set targets and take action consistent with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and, at higher levels of performance, make commitments corresponding with the societal ambition to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.”