Responsible Investor

…government pensions buffer funds, The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) Staff Pension Fund and The Ethical Funds Company in Canada, have pushed Canadian mining firm Goldcorp to conduct an independent human rights impact assessment on its operations in Guatemala. Goldcorp has been criticised over the environmental and human rights impacts of its mining operations in the country. The investors, who have been lobbying the company for two years, said they hoped the assessment would become a benchmark for mining companies operating in high-risk countries. As a result of Goldcorp’s announcement, the investors have withdrawn a shareholder resolution submitted to the company in March. The assessment is expected to be completed in the next 8-12 months, with Goldcorp subsequently develop a plan for implementing its recommendations. Helene Regnell, research director of GES Investment Services in Sweden, sustainability advisor to the Swedish AP funds, said: “The outcome of this process could set a precedent for the entire industry and is crucial for Guatemala, since the mining industry has rapidly expanded there. However, after ending 36 years of civil war, the country is extremely vulnerable. Therefore, mining companies and others have a responsibility to make sure their business operations are sustainable over the long-term, and respect the Maya culture.”


By Hugh Wheelan

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