Sustainable business growth and stakeholder relations

Our ambition is to maintain good community relations and effective operations management in order to ensure our social license to operate.

Our approach to responsible operations

Boliden’s business strategy is based on responsibility and minimizing negative impacts related to other interests, such as the environment, society and reindeer herding. We have a proactive approach to society that includes continuous dialogues as well as voluntary commitments and business agreements with stakeholders. We strive to reach agreements through good cooperation – based on the respect and understanding of other interests and stakeholders. None of Boliden’s proven or probable reserves are located in or near areas of conflict according to the Uppsala Conflict Data Program.

Just as Boliden’s operations are important to the development of society, society is important to Boliden. We maintain an ongoing open dialogue with local residents and other parties with interests in Boliden’s operations. We also collaborate with local actors and sponsor various associations and events. We encourage visits to our mines and smelting plants.

When expanding operations or establishing operations in a new location, it is also important that we maintain dialogue with all concerned stakeholders to ensure that our negative social and environmental impacts are minimized.

We focus on the topics of local communities, anti-corruption, anti-competitive behavior, compliance and resettlement.

Environmental topics

Environmental topics such as energy use, water, emissions, effluents and waste, compliance and transport are directly related to how we conduct our operations. These are important metrics that determine whether we maintain stable processes that comply with permit requirements. Many of the topics are interconnected and impact our overall performance and compliance. Climate, materials, biodiversity, closure planning, grievance mechanisms and supplier assessments are also important environmental topics. These impact external stakeholders and determine our license to operate and ability to develop our business.

Grievance mechanisms

Effective grievance mechanisms play an important role in labor practices in our own operations. All Boliden employees can file grievances via managers, HR functions or union representatives. Anonymous grievances can also be filed via our whistleblower function. Local grievance mechanisms are in place at each site.

During 2022, Boliden Mines implemented a new stakeholder management system (Borealis) with a grievance management module. Grievances will be filed and systematically handled in the system. A digital Stakeholder Feedback portal is being constructed and will be implemented in 2023 to make it easier to file requests for information and grievances. Grievances can be filed anonymously and can be followed by the person who filed it.

Grievances concerning environmental impacts

Reported issues received by Boliden include noise, vibration, dust and other types of environmental disturbance to Boliden’s sites. Complaints are handled in accordance with local procedures. Neighbors and other stakeholders are welcome to contact either the Business Unit or any of the Group's functions through a variety of channels, including phone, e-mail, and written correspondence. It is the responsibility of every employee to ensure that operations are conducted properly and in compliance with the given instructions. Employees must promptly report any suspected environmental violation.

Local community engagement, impact assessments and development programs

Good community relations are important, both for our current business operations and for new projects. Everything from the initial exploration to rehabilitation over the long-term must be properly managed.

We maintain continuous dialogue with stakeholders and conduct regular consultation where the public and local stakeholders 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. We continuously seek to develop the way we work, such as through careful analysis of those involved, and the consultations are then adapted to best capture the views and ideas of individual groups. Active and interactive ways of working also capture the attention of participants in a better way. The community dialogue regarding Gillervattnet and the Boliden industrial area is a good example of a well-managed consultation process.

All of Boliden’s operations have implemented local community engagement, impact assessments, and/or development programs. 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. In 2022, our units sponsored 346 (314) local activities with a combined value of approximately SEK 15.8 (12.4) m. In addition to this, Boliden donated 5 m SEK in a campaign to the humanitarian crisis following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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 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 our operations, as it would hamper our ability to attract a competent workforce and may jeopardize any future expansion plans.

Stakeholder analysis and social impact assessments

Stakeholder identification is also something that we have identified as key to ensuring our continued social license to operate. During 2022, new stakeholder identification instructions were developed. Stakeholders are identified during initial exploration and contacted through telephone calls, working plans for exploration or public meetings – particularly 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. In 2022, Boliden Mines implemented a new software for stakeholder management (Borealis) plan, perform and follow up stakeholder engagements in specific plans. Social and socio-economic impact assessments have been conducted in new permitting projects. A pilot on how to further develop socio-economic impact reports has been conducted at the closed Saxberget mine.

Our impact on local communities

Our operations with significant actual and potential negative impacts on local communities are in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Ireland. Measurements are carried out continuously to monitor any impact on the local community’s environment such as in the form of dust, noise, vibrations, and shockwaves from blasting. Methods have also been put in place for assessing impact, for example through changes in traffic, the landscape, water access and land access.

Social impact assessments are made in conjunction with the closure of an operation, to assess any consequences to the community and to mitigate any negative effects as much as possible.

Our operations do not only have a substantial impact on job opportunities but also affect supplier purchasing power elsewhere in the local business sector, which can impact the development of community service sectors in the long term. Boliden estimates that for each Boliden employee, another three to five local job opportunities are created on average.

None of Boliden’s units are in any of the 20 lowest ranking countries on the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index.

We maintain continuous dialogue with stakeholders and conduct regular consultation where the public and local stakeholders are invited to attend and submit their views.