The report Valuing social investment in mining discusses how, by taking a strategic approach to corporate social responsibility, mining companies can maximise the impact of their social investments.
Mining companies, the report concedes, are very aware of the significant impact of their operations upon local communities and recognise the need to earn a "social license to operate," in the form of an unwritten contract with workers, their families, and other stakeholders.
However mines are incredibly complex operations spread across wide geographical areas, and there is a temptation to allocate social investment into broad categories such as health and safety, social welfare, education, and sustainability. Yet without a detailed business plan, this money is at risk of disappearing into a black hole marked as "charitable contributions."
When considering options for social investment, the starting point is not: "How much should we pay?" but rather, "What can we achieve?" This mindset, suggests the report, should lead to programs with measurable social impact.