Disruption and Institutional Development: Corporate Standards and Practices on Responsible Mining
This chapter accounts for the special context of mining and discusses what “respecting” human rights means in the mining industry. The aim of the chapter is to clarify the relationship between social investments and respect for human rights in a context characterised by the disruption mining operations cause and weaker local capacities to cope with mining. Three questions are raised herein: Are social contributions part of the corporate responsibility to respect human rights under the UNGPs, and thus imperative, or are they optional, desirable, rather irrelevant or even problematic from a human rights perspective? Do industry strategies recognise institutional development as part of their social responsibility? Are there operational arrangements substantiating a shift in CSR strategy or does the shift remain largely confined to rhetoric and aspirations?
The chapter examines the latest reports from five of the largest mining companies and the guidance from four organizations influential in the extractives sector. The focus is on potential shifts in industry strategy putting more emphasis on local institutional capacities and holistic solutions to facilitate good governance dynamics. Thus strategic shifts in four specific areas are analysed: water management, security provision, contributions to development, and revenue transparency. The chapter finds that institutional development is emerging as a cross-cutting dimension and thus creates opportunities for increased participation of rightholders and external actors in constructing a right-based and development-enhancing approach to mining.
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