E-learning land rights
Lesson 10: Collective engagements on land rights
The Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO) strives for a more sustainable and responsible capital market to realise a healthier and more just world.
The VBDO undertakes various activities in cooperation with its members, which are institutions and private investors, as well as NGOs. Amongst these activities is engaging with companies on specific themes. One of the working groups that organised a collective engagement is the responsible mining working group. In this interview, the working group describes the engagement process, and lessons learned hereof.
1. Can you tell more about the responsible mining working group and its activities?
The Collective Engagement on Responsible Mining working group originates from an event VBDO organised at the end of 2018 regarding mining and the private financial sector. One of the outcomes of that event was that the sector needed more knowledge, depth and standardisation. As a follow-up, VBDO initiated a working group with leading institutional investors on the topic of responsible mining.
Soon after the founding of the working group, focus was set on three specific themes within responsible mining: biodiversity, water management and land reclamation. On each theme an engagement guide was written and published. Another activity resulting from the working group is an investor statement on responsible mining and water management. This statement was endorsed by a larger group of investors.
2. How did you select companies with whom to start your collective engagement processes?
For the engagement, which is currently still ongoing, companies are selected in close consultation with the participating investors. Based on the chosen themes within responsible mining, the companies that are most relevant are selected. The process consists of a long list of international mining companies, after which preliminary research is conducted. Based on the outcomes of the research, the final list of companies to engage with is decided with the working group.
3. What have you achieved through the collective engagements?
Since engagement is ongoing, lots will be achieved in 2023 and 2024. Up till now, the three engagement guides and the investor statement on responsible mining and water management are the most important outcomes.
4. What are essential lessons from the collective engagements that the responsible mining working group has conducted?
It is very important to set clear goals ahead of the engagement. In order to formulate goals, thorough research is needed. Without a clear path, collective engagement is sensitive to too broad approaches. Bringing in external expertise to further enhance knowledge of the latest situation surrounding the themes is another essential lesson.
5. What would be your recommendation to institutional investors that want to conduct engagement on land rights?
It is most important to, in any case, include local groups (NGOs, CSOs etc.) in the engagement process. Lots of information can be found online, but in the case of land rights and responsible mining it is vital to have valuable on-the-ground information. Apart from that, a strong recommendation would be to seek collaboration and form collective engagement groups. Together you can increase the impact of the engagement with companies.
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