Boliden’s Sustainability topics and directions

103–1  Identifying significant sustainability topics

Boliden has an internal process designed to annually review its sustainability topics in response to its overall ­results, changing business requirements, changing stakeholder expect­ations, implementation of the global goals for sustainable develop­ment, technological and scientific progress, etc. The ­process includes cross-disciplinary discussions and impact analysis where multiple internal experts participate. Significant Sustainability topics are defined and given as an input to the Group strategy process. The significant topics are approved by Group management and the Board of Directors through the strategy plan.

The significant Sustainability topics identified during 2019 were grouped into four focus areas presented in the Annual and Sustainability report.

People and Partnership


Responsible Business

Occupational Health and Safety, Diversity and Equal Opportunity, Local ­Community and ­Resettlement and closure plan


Business Partner ­Environmental, Social and Governance ESG Assessment





Sustainable resource usage (Circular economy)


Air pollution emissions, Climate and energy, Environmental compliance and Water

Sustainability component of the business strategy

The identification and prioritization of the Group’s sustainability topics are based on the overall vision of being one of the leading companies in the industry in terms of development, productivity, responsibility, and value creation.

Boliden’s process for integrating and implementing ­significant sustainability ­topics into the business strategy is described in four steps;

  1. Identify Sustainability topics
  2. Prioritize significant topics to be part of the strategy input
  3. Implement systematic sustainability work
  4. Report, follow up and improve.


103–2&3  Management approach, its components and evaluation thereof

The general aspects of 103-2 and 103-3 are covered in this part of the report, whereas the more topic-specific management aspects are covered in association with the disclosure of 200/300/400 topics. Identifying and prioritizing the most important and relevant issues within the context of Boliden’s sustainability work is an ongoing process. Sustainability comes with a long-term perspective and is a long-term commitment, which means it is an integral part of Boliden’s strategy and operations. The basis for the sustainability work is that all operations are conducted in accordance with legislative provisions and permits in the countries in which the Group operates. Boliden’s ambitions are, however, significantly higher than this and the Group works proactively by setting goals and guidelines that are fundamental to its operations from a sustainability point of view. In order to systematically control and develop Boliden’s operations, management systems have been implemented to ensure that significant sustainability aspects of the operations are covered, making it possible to minimize the risks associated with mining and metals production. Boliden’s way of working also facilitates adaptation to market conditions and preferences, and ensures compliance with future legislation. Boliden became a signatory to the UN Global Compact in 2012, and continually enhances the efforts to protect and respect its principles and promote its spirit.

The significant sustainability topics enable Boliden to set relevant goals, and to track and improve performance.

Policies and Management Systems

Boliden has a governance model comprising Group-wide policies, with local instructions, guidelines and tools in a global management system that corresponds to the challenges the company faces. The overall policy documents and local documents are available in the Boliden Management System (BMS), which is available to every employee via Boliden’s intranet.

Boliden’s operations have adopted quality, environmental, occupational health and safety and energy management systems. The ambition is to have all sites certified in accordance with the environmental management standad ISO 14001, standard for energy management ISO 50001 and the health and safety management standards OHSAS 18001, respectively (implementation of ISO 45001 is ongoing). In 2019, all sites except Kevitsa and Kylylahti achieved these certifications. The Group’s smelters are also certified in accordance with the ISO 9001 Standard for quality management. By working with certified management systems, Boliden ensures that its operations review significant issues, set targets, measure performance, follow up on progress, and continuously work to improve their performance. The certification schemes also demand documented delegation of responsibilities on each site and that relevant competences are upheld.

Ethics and compliance

In 2019, Boliden established a new function for ethics and compliance and employed a Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer for the purpose of strategically developing and leading Boliden’s ethics and compliance work regarding human rights, anti-bribery and anti-corruption, anti-competition and antitrust legislation, trade sanctions, whistleblowing and Boliden’s Codes of Conduct for employees and business partners. The function is placed within Boliden’s Corporate Responsibility department and is responsible for the overall management and co-ordination of compliance and adherence to regulatory frameworks, industry standards as well as internal policies and procedures related to the defined scope.

Boliden’s Business Partner Code of Conduct

Boliden’s Business Partner Code of Conduct reflects the requirements applied on Boliden’s business partners. The Code is publicly available on Boliden’s corporate website.

The Code has been developed from the principles laid out in the UN Global Compact, the ILO fundamental conventions, applicable ISO standards, the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas, as well as other international industry standards and best practices. The code sets the minimum level of behavior required by all parties in the value chain - whether Boliden is a buyer or a seller – regarding human rights, labor rights, environment, anti-corruption, conflict minerals and governance.

Boliden continuously develops and improves its corporate responsibility work related to business partners by adopting new knowledge and adjusting to new conditions. The business partners evaluation process is based on the Business Partner Code of Conduct and evaluations are conducted at a minimum of three- to five-year intervals.

The Business Partner Code of Conduct addresses:

Human Rights and Labour Rights

  • Fundamental human rights
  • The effective abolition of child labour
  • Upholding the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor
  • Non-discriminatory practices
  • Protecting and respecting freedom of association and collective bargaining
  • Working hours
  • Living wages
  • Health and safety

The Environment

  • A precautionary approach to environmental challenges
  • Implementing environmental management systems
  • Minimizing the operational impact related to energy, greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and water consumption


  • Zero tolerance for bribery or any form of corruption
  • Zero acceptance of direct or indirect involvement in prohibited benefits
  • Compliance with trade sanctions and prevention of fraud, extortion, money laundering
  • Legal compliance such as taxation, fees and royalties, and transparency in disclosure of the same

Responsibility and Monitoring of Progress

Boliden’s Group management has ultimate responsibility for the Group’s sustainability work. Prioritizing sustainability issues, as well as identifying and selecting the most relevant sustainability issues, is an ongoing process involving all units within the Boliden Group. The Group management includes the Senior Vice President – Corporate Responsibility, who ensures that sustainability issues are addressed continuously.

The work is largely carried out through Group-wide networks in order to facilitate the dissemination of Boliden’s goals and strategies and by exchanging expertise and experience between the business areas and between production units. There are networks for health and safety, the environment, chemical management, quality, human resources, and communications, and the Chairs of the respective networks report to the Group management. Boliden’s Board of Directors reviews the Group’s sustainability performance data annually.

Environmental performance, sick leave, and accident rates are reported on a monthly basis. They are also presented at every Group management meeting and at every Board meeting. Supplier assessments of environmental and labor practices are reported on a quarterly basis. Boliden also presents sustainability performance in its quarterly interim reports.

Boliden’s whistleblower function

In 2019, Boliden implemented a new improved system for whistleblower reporting. The system is hosted by an external and independent third party and allows anonymous reporting. The new system facilitates and improves the investigation process and gives the whistleblower the possibility to follow the status of the case. Boliden also updated its routines for internal handling of whistleblower cases. The whistleblower function is managed by Group Ethics & Compliance with support from a cross-functional team of senior staff.

Developing how we manage sustainability

Boliden began evaluating the Natural Capital Protocol in 2018. The intention is to create a methodology that enables more informed decision-making by improving the way in which environmental, human and societal impacts are valuated and managed. Using common metrics and research that is reviewed and accepted by international associations gives our sustainability work greater credibility.

Following the completed NCP pre-study at a Boliden smelter site during 2018, Boliden has further developed its NCP methodology during 2019 by continuing with a pre-study on a mine site. A common impact valuation process has been defined for selected sustainable natural capital issues such as air emissions, water discharges, land-use and water consumption.

How Boliden will use NCP in 2020 and beyond

NCP analyses will enable us to better understand, compare and evaluate our operations’ various impacts and dependencies on natural capital. NCP has already provided Boliden with new factors for metal equivalents. NCP will allow us to prioritize and evaluate different investment alternatives for the benefit of our business, society and the environment. Additional studies have been initiated and we will continue to further develop the Boliden NCP methodology and guidelines in 2020.

The results from NCP analyses can also be used to present our societal impacts to internal and external stakeholders. The Dow Jones Sustainability Index, which supports the NCP, is a typical example of this.