Issue 10 - February
The Trade Commissioner Service Support Division at Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) is pleased to release a new issue of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) E-Bulletin, which aims at informing stakeholders of the Government of Canada’s initiatives in the area of CSR. We trust that you will find the following informative and look forward to working with you in fostering and promoting CSR practices and standards.
For reasons beyond our control, this edition of the CSR e-bulletin covers the period from August to November 2010. We expect to circulate the next version of the e-bulletin in April 2011.
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (CSR) STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION PROGRESS REPORT
CSR COUNSELLOR LAUNCHES REVIEW MECHANISM – The Government of Canada's Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor, Marketa Evans, has concluded her public consultations for the Office's review mechanism. The rules of procedure for the review mechanism have also been finalized and the launch of the review process was officially announced on October 20th 2010. For more information on the CSR Counsellor, read the public reports from the consultation workshops or more information on the review process, please visit the Office’s website. The Office is one of four pillars of Canada's CSR Strategy for the extractive sector: Building the Canadian Advantage.
UPDATE ON THE CENTRE FOR EXCELLENCE IN CSR – The Centre for Excellence in CSR has been making significant progress in the areas of strategy, governance, and program planning. The Centre aims to help raise the bar for excellence in CSR-related practices in the extractive industry by providing pertinent information and tools to various Canadian stakeholders operating in Canada and abroad — including industry, governments, Aboriginal organizations, NGOs, human rights groups, academics, environmental managers, and various other associations. To achieve these goals and to ensure the longevity of the Centre, it has focused on laying a solid foundation through the development of a multi-stakeholder governance structure. The Interim Executive Committee (IEC), which was established to help lay the groundwork for the implementation of a permanent executive committee in 2011, has been expanded to incorporate a greater variety of stakeholders, thereby enhancing the diversity of voices during these critical developmental stages. The Centre’s mission and vision have been identified and work continues on the development content for the web-based resource that is being administered by the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum (CIM), which currently serves as the Centre’s Secretariat. For more information please visit the Centre’s website. The Centre is one of the four pillars of Canada’s CSR Strategy for the extractive sector, Building the Canadian Advantage.
ISO 26000 - On November 1, 2010, the new social responsibility standard Social Responsibility 26000 (SR 26000) was launched by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). SR 26000 is a set of non-binding voluntary guidelines on social responsibility for all types of organizations. Though a fairly new initiative, the government considers the guidance to be a valuable tool that could contribute to the creation of a common understanding with respect to social responsibility globally. Government of Canada officials were active participants in the development of the Standard. Canada's yes vote in September was part of a 93% approval rate among 77 voting members globally. The Standard is in line with the government's CSR strategy--Building the Canadian Advantage: a Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Sector. Next steps for Canada entail the development of a national standard based on SR 26000, which is expected to be led by either or both of the Canadian Standards Association and/or Bureau de normalisation du Quebec. In order to support that effort, a National Technical Committee is expected to be formed consisting of a balanced stakeholders group including federal government officials. For more information on ISO SR 26000, please visit the ISO website.
OECD MEMBERS BEGIN PHASE III EVALUATIONS FOR CONVENTION AGAINST CORRUPTION – Phase III Evaluations began in 2010 for all the parties to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. This phase examines the progress made by Parties in implementing recommendations made to them during their Phase II evaluation as well as issues pertaining to changes in domestic legislation or institutional frameworks, enforcement efforts, and the results thereof. As a Party to the OECD Convention, Canada is participating in this evaluation phase as an examiner and a State Party under review. The OECD Secretariat and the lead examiners from the United States and Austria conducted an onsite visit to Canada in October 2010 for its examination. The evaluation report is scheduled to be reviewed and adopted by the Working Group during its plenary meeting in March, 2011. For further information on country monitoring reports and implementation efforts under the OECD convention, please consult the OECD website. To find more information on Canada’s international efforts in fighting corruption visit DFAIT’s anti-corruption website.
THE FIRST FEDERAL SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY (FSDS) was tabled in Parliament on October 6, 2010 (please visit Environment Canada Website) –The FSDS establishes a governmentwide comprehensive approach to reporting and tracking progress on environmental sustainability. The strategy will provide Canadians with the information they need to monitor the government's progress on environmental sustainability by making federal environmental decisions more transparent and accountable to Canadians. The FSDS makes three key improvements: integrating government wide actions and results; linking sustainable development planning and reporting to the Government's core expenditure planning reporting system; and providing effective measurement, monitoring, and reporting tools to track and report on progress. Specific measures will reduce the environmental footprint of the daily operations of the Government of Canada in key areas of green buildings, electronic waste, printing units, paper consumption, green meetings, green procurement, and greenhouse gas emissions from federal operations. For the first time, Canadians will be able to find, in one place, comprehensive information on activities across the federal government that contribute to environmental sustainability. CSR is featured in the Strategy under Contribution of Industry to Sustainable Development.
CANADA PARTICIPATES IN UPDATE TO THE OECD GUIDELINES FOR MULTINATIONAL ENTERPRISE (MNEs) – On June 30, 2010 the Corporate Responsibility Roundtable of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) launched an update to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The update marks 10 years since the last revision of the guidelines in 2000. This revision will ensure the continued relevancy of the Guidelines as one of the leading global instruments of corporate social responsibility. The OECD hopes to conclude this exercise, which involves 42 adhering countries, by June 2011. The Government of Canada, led by DFAIT, is actively participating in the update and is consulting with key stakeholders over the coming months. To find out more information about the Guidelines please visit the OECD website.
THE VOLUNTARY PRINCIPLES CELEBRATE 10 YEARS – the year 2010 marked the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs). The VPs provide guidelines to help corporate actors anticipate and mitigate risks related to the deployment of public and private security. The guidelines are intended to prevent human rights violations and the excessive use of force. The VPs were developed through a partnership of states (initially the U.S. and the U.K.), corporations and non-governmental organizations in 2000, and designed to address challenges relating to the relationship between extractive companies and security providers. Canada joined the VPs as a Participating Government March, 2010 and will accede to the chair of the VPs from March 2011 to March 2012. For more information visit the VPs’ Secretariat website.
EXPORT DEVELOPMENT CANADA RELEASES 2009 CSR REPORT – Export Development Canada (EDC) has released its sixth annual CSR report. Important highlights of the report include the enhancement of the EDC’s human rights assessment process, the completion of extensive stakeholder engagement on EDC’s environmental policy, and the purchase of carbon offsets related to business travel. "We hope our report signals the importance of CSR to our customers, our corporation and the way we conduct our business", said Eric Siegel, EDC President & CEO. In June, EDC received an Excel Award from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC - Ottawa Chapter) for its 2008 CSR Report. The 2009 report is available as an interactive online product on the EDC website.
INDUSTRY CANADA AND ENVIRONMENT CANADA SUPPORT CBSR REPORT ON CSR GOVERNANCE GUIDELINES – Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR) released its new report detailing CSR Governance Guidelines for corporate boards. The report recognizes that to protect long term shareholder and stakeholder interest, CSR issues need to be incorporated into board of directors’ decision making policies and practices. Funding for the project was provided by Industry Canada and Environment Canada. Founded in 1995, CBSR is a non-profit, member-led organization that mobilizes Canadian companies to make powerful business decisions that improve performance and contribute to a better world. The report can be accessed on the CBSR website.
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA’S PROMOTIONAL ENGAGEMENTS IN CANADA AND ABROAD (please note that this list is not exhaustive):
Vancouver – On July 15th DFAIT’s Regional Office in Vancouver, in partnership with the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AMEBC), held a seminar on mining and sustainability. Speakers included a representative from the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), who discussed the Council’s sustainable development principles and programs. Furthermore, a representative from the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AMEBC) discussed the association’s Aboriginal Engagement Toolkit and other CSR initiatives in Canada. A brief update on the status of Canada’s CSR Strategy for the Extractive Sector was also provided. Thirteen organizations representing mining and explorations firms, civil society, and academia attended the event.
Lusaka –The Canadian High Commission in Zambia, in partnership with Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Institute of Directors of Zambia, successfully hosted a corporate governance and CSR event in Lusaka on July 15th. Building on work that EDC has undertaken on its CSR program with Care Canada, the High Commission and EDC co-organised a presentation to local business executives. Entitled "Best Practices in Corporate Governance", the event included a presentation from the Institute of Directors of Zambia, a business-led organization dedicated to promoting good corporate governance. The presentation was followed by a question and answer session with EDC’s Vice-President of Strategic Planning and Corporate Communication, who discussed EDC’s experiences with CSR. The event drew participation from a variety of sectors of industry, including finance and telecommunications, and received national television and newspaper press coverage.
Lima – August 17, 2010 the commercial section of the Canadian Embassy in Peru hosted the Canada y la Responsibilidad Social Empresarial (RSE) seminar in Peru’s most prominent mining region, Cajamarca. The seminar included promotion of the Canadian vision and strategy for CSR, and distributing the Mining Tool Kit and the E3Plus project from the Prospectors and Development Association of Canada (PDAC). The Embassy of Canada recognizes the importance of the growing mining sector in Peru and its need for guidance and support in terms of community relations, how to manage early engagement and dialogue, and maintain an ongoing working relationship throughout the mining cycle. The reaction to the seminar was very positive. It enabled participants to establish or create relationships that should lead to future cooperation.
Almaty – On September 30, 2010, the Embassy of Canada in Kazakhstan, with support from Cameco Corporation, organized the first-ever CSR panel featuring Canadian company investors who are active in the mining sector in Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic. The panel, consisting of representatives of Cameco, Centerra Gold and Ivanhoe Mines, discussed initiatives undertaken in their respective Central Asian operations for the proactive implementation of CSR strategies, positioning themselves, and Canada as global leaders and promoters of CSR. The panel attracted over 100 participants, including: NGOs, public and private sector representatives, the diplomatic community, development agencies, multinational companies and the media.