Sustainability Topic: Local Communities
413–1 Operations with local community engagement, impact assessments, and development programs.
Good social relations are important to Boliden, both for the current business operations and for our new projects – everything from prospecting to finishing. Boliden maintains a continuous dialogue with stakeholders and conducts several consultation processes each year where the public and various business owners are invited to attend and submit their views. Ensuring that the consultation process works well is essential for designing activities and projects in the best possible way and giving everyone the opportunity to express their views. As part of this, Boliden is working on developing the process and introducing new ways of working such as a careful analysis of those involved, and the consultations are then adapted to best capture individual groups’ views and ideas. Active and interactive ways of working also capture the interest in a better way. The civil dialogue regarding Gillervattnet and the Boliden Area’s original breakthrough is one example of a developed consultation process.
In addition to consultation processes, constant dialogue and interaction with stakeholders and the local community take place through different types of activities. These may involve event weeks, with visits from schools, business and municipalities, collaboration and sponsorship of local associations and sports teams, cultural activities and cooperation with hometown associations, etc.
Local involvement in the form of support for and partnerships with voluntary organizations and associations are other ways in which Boliden can make a positive contribution to the areas in which the company operates. Boliden’s support focuses primarily on local sporting and cultural events, schools, and hospitals, often linked to children and young people. In 2019, Boliden’s units sponsored 413 (347) local activities to the tune of approximately SEK 10.5 (10.7) million.
Keeping the interests of the local community high on the agenda when planning and executing mining and smelting operations is vital to maintaining good relations with the employees, their families, and their neighbors, and is an essential part of being a responsible corporate citizen. Failing to maintain these good relations would be a threat to the operation, as it would hamper the ability to attract a competent workforce and jeopardize any potential expansion.
Stakeholder analysis and social impact assessments
Stakeholder identification is also something that Boliden has identified as key to getting the Social Licence to Operate. Stakeholders are identified in the first exploration works and contacted through telephone calls, working plans for exploration or public meetings if the company enters an area of low experience of exploration and mining. Stakeholder management is also a central part of project development, application processes for permits as well as on an ongoing basis during operation and rehabilitation into the long term phase. Stakeholders are contacted and involved in different ways. Social impact assessments have been completed in several projects. Boliden has developed a toolbox for different types of stakeholder involvement.
413–2 Operations with significant actual and potential negative impact on local communities
Social-impact assessments are made in conjunction with closure of an operation, in order to assess any consequences to the community and in an effort to mitigate, as far as possible, any negative effects. Measurements are carried out continuously to monitor any impact on the local community’s environment in the form of dust, noise, vibrations, and shockwaves from blasting, for example. Methods have also been put in place for assessing impact, e.g. through changes to traffic, the landscape, water access, and land access.
The Group’s operations not only have a substantial impact on job opportunities but also affect suppliers’ purchasing power elsewhere in the local business sector, which, in the long term, impacts the development of the communities’ service sectors. Boliden estimates that for each Boliden employee, another three to five local job opportunities are, on average, created.