The effective management of social and environmental risks is an essential component of any successful mining project. In the case of the Phulbari Coal Project, the Board and management recognise that value can only be created for our shareholders if social and economic benefits are produced and the environment protected at a national, regional and local level. In partnership with government, civil society and the community, GCM will develop the Phulbari Coal Project, and any other project under its control, to the highest international social and environmental standards.
In addition to compliance with applicable national laws, GCM has committed to comply with the following external standards:
The Equator Principles are a set of benchmarks for managing environmental and social impacts. Many commercial banks require that their clients meet the Equator Principles as a precondition to development project finance. Anticipating this, the preparation of the Feasibility Study, the ESIA and its associated Management Plans were in line with the Equator Principles.
The Equator Principles cover:
These standards and best practices have continued to evolve and upon approval of the Project there will need to be some updating of the ESIA and management plans to bring them into line with current standards.
The Equator Principles are, in part, based upon the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards on Social and Environmental Sustainability. There are eight Performance Standards which relate to different issues such as Involuntary Resettlement and Land Acquisition and Indigenous Peoples. In each case, the first principle is to avoid any adverse impacts and where this is not possible, to mitigate against these. For example where resettlement cannot be avoided, the standards require project developers to improve or at least restore the livelihoods of displaced persons and to improve their living conditions through provision of adequate housing with security of tenure.
In January 2009, GCM became signatory to the UN Global Compact (UNGC) and shortly thereafter joined the UK Network and Bangladesh Local Network of the UNGC. GCM continues to embrace, support and enact, within its sphere of influence, the set of UNGC principles covering the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption, all of which are consistent with the core values of GCM.