The value of data for ESG success

Novecom - Large trucks transport gold ore from open cast mine. Barrick Cowal Gold Mine in New South Wales, Australia.

Quantitative assessment of environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives provides robust and defensible data to support compliance, stakeholder engagement and business sustainability goals.

Whatever your pathway to identifying, planning, and implementing your ESG initiatives, environmental monitoring data plays a key role in supporting your decision making. The saying “if you can’t manage it, you can’t measure it” has never been truer.

Novecom Pty Ltd supports businesses in measuring their environmental performance and is a leader in compliance and operational environmental management solutions. Novecom’s innovative approach to environmental monitoring facilitates business operators knowing what their environmental impacts are in near real-time.

Social licence to operate is something you earn

No longer is maintaining compliance with regulatory instruments the indicator of good environmental performance. Regulatory compliance is the minimum requirement. The expectation of people and the communities that host our mining operations means that performance needs to be also measured against what is commonly referred to as a “social licence”.

The social licence granted by our communities focuses directly on the pillars of ESG.

  • Environmental and sustainability expectations require businesses to demonstrate effective management of the physical and non-physical aspects of the environment.
  • Social expectations include employment, services, and wellbeing considerations.
  • Governance is at the heart of the social licence. Good governance provides the overarching framework to develop and maintain trust at all levels of stakeholder engagement.

The emergence of ESG as one of the primary drivers for businesses to further develop and maintain their “social licence” provides an opportunity to use environmental data for effective stakeholder engagement.

Novecom’s SentineX platform (SentineX®) is arguably one of the resource industry’s most valuable tools when it comes to continuously monitoring the environment for noise, weather, air quality or water parameters, to name some of the applications.

Transparency builds trust

“It has been our experience and one that our customers refer to, without data you cannot know what is going on, and when you cannot communicate to stakeholders with knowledge and evidence you lack integrity, and this can erode trust,” Mr Pola said,

“Robust and defensible environmental data is a key asset in managing business risk and maintaining healthy stakeholder relations. There are countless examples with our customers where the ability to detect emerging environment conditions and respond to those conditions before they impact has contributed to better relationships.

“Typically, if you meet your regulatory compliance requirements and understand and manage your social licence, issue management becomes easier. The worst feedback loop is the one where your communities are going directly to the regulator.  The regulator is ultimately accountable to the community and they must act accordingly.”

Feedback loops are commonly used in industrial process control to maintain critical parameters within acceptable limits. The application of this technique to environmental monitoring is both innovative and highly effective.

The SentineX monitoring applications are typically operated external to the mining or industrial activity at either sensitive receiver locations of strategic reference locations that have been selected to enable early detection of events.

These monitoring applications are often referred to as the remote eyes and ears, or the sentinels whose job it is to report back on what they hear and see.

Insights from data inform stakeholder engagement

The feedback mechanism is implemented through the analysis of monitoring data on the field edge device in real-time and the derivation of information to inform operators in the control room or out in the pit of what is happening outside of their field of view. Feedback is achieved through the generation of real-time alerts which are distributed by SMS or integrated into control room feeds.

Environmental monitoring data is one of the most valuable resources you have access to, and the insights developed from this data are increasingly being used to develop and manage better stakeholder engagement.

Good governance is about having robust systems, procedures and checks in place to manage the full spectrum of business risk.

Implementing a strategic continuous environmental monitoring system should be part of any miner’s risk management portfolio and should be considered both an insurance policy and functional operational management tool.

Ultimately it is the social licence to operate that will be the measure of your success in navigating the sensitive balance between each of the ESG pillars.

If we loop back to quantitative assessment of ESG initiatives and the role environmental data plays in this, again “you cannot manage it if you don’t measure it.”

Novecom is an Australian technology company operating through Australia and the Pacific, focused on partnering with the resources industry to achieve better environmental social and governance outcomes.

As part of Emergent Group, Novecom is able to provide turnkey solutions to all your environmental monitoring and technology needs.