The extractive sectors, which make up approximately 5% of global GDP and contribute significantly to government revenues, have a major contribution to make towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Many of the world’s poorest countries have significant known oil, gas and mineral reserves. Between 2003 and 2010, extractive industries attracted more than 50% of all foreign direct investment (FDI) into Africa. Extractive industries have the potential to make major contributions to SDG1 (eliminating poverty) provided they are well managed, in the interest of all citizens. There is also strong potential for significant impacts on SDG7 (energy), SDG8 (growth & employment) and SDG13 (climate change).
China, and Chinese companies, are key players globally in the development of the extractives sector. There is now clear acknowledgement by the Chinese Government and Chinese companies that standards in overseas investment need to be improved in order to manage commercial and reputational risks, as well as delivering strong local development benefits. Improved regulations and guidelines for outbound investors can help ensure the rights and interests of local people are respected, improve protection for the environment, and help to build company reputations.
The Guidelines for Social Responsibility in Outbound Mining Investments published in October 2014 by the China Chamber of Commerce of Minerals, Metals and Chemicals Importers and Exporters (CCCMC) are the first, and so far only, Chinese CSR guidelines specifically designed for the mining sector. In the light of the Guidelines for Social Responsibility in Outbound Mining Investment, the Plan collects opinions and suggestions through a variety of ways, such as field research and investigation, interviews and panel discussions, and is compiled after an extensive reference to other organizations’ path and experience in terms of social responsibility promotion.
There are twenty-five actions under eight working modules in the sustainable mining action plan, including network building, recognition enhancement, auxiliary Information, capacity building, instrument development, assessment of responsibility fulfilment, best practices and image dissemination. During the next three years of implementation, we expect to achieve that 100 overseas mining investment projects recognize the usefulness of the Guidelines and at least 20 of them achieve substantial and measurable performance improvement in corporate social responsibility. These improvements will lead to positive development impacts in host countries, in terms of more jobs, better working conditions, reduced environmental impacts and increased government revenues.
To ensure the effective implementation of the project, the project has set up a strategic steering committee co-chaired by the Ministry of Commerce, DFID, CCCMC and GIZ to provide strategic guidance to the project. At the same time, an expert advisory committee consisting of experts from leading international organisations will be set up to provide professional advice and ensure that the Plan is informed by international experience.