Stone Three feature in the Africa Outlook MagazineSeptember 21, 2023
SDGs as a Roadmap to Unlocking The Future of Health & Safety in African Mining.
Mining has become an essential part of Africa’s economic transformation. The relationships between mining companies, the government and the community have a chequered history with multiple examples of conflict and animosity. The 2023 Investing in African Mining Indaba has created the ideal space to emphasise the opportunity around collaboration towards a set of common goals for the future of African mining.
For that reason, the Sustainable Development Goals are an essential engagement framework for communities and mining companies on the road towards mutual success.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, has at its heart the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call to action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. They recognise that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
The advantage of aligning initiatives to the SDGs are:
- A clear set of forward-looking goals that have been extensively debated and reviewed by global experts.
- The goals have an expansive scope, and when taken as a whole, create a positive vision for the future.
- Each goal has a set of clear measures that progress can be tracked against.
- At their core they incentivise collaboration between developed and developing countries.
- They incentivise outcomes-based investing with a focus on the community
Health & Safety leaders are familiar with the daunting task of balancing various challenges, hazards and demands on limited budgets. The SDGs will help them deliver their mandate, from a regulatory, productivity and community development (or contribution) standpoint.
There are numerous benefits to a structured programme of collaboration between Occupational Health, Safety and Sustainable Development, but the main benefit is a unified scorecard for all three pillars and therefore an umbrella set of targets that each function can align with.
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
8.8 Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment:
8.8.1 Fatal and non-fatal occupational injuries per 100,000 workers, by sex and migrant status
This goal, target and indicator aligns perfectly with existing Safety initiatives like Zero Harm and Zero Fatalities, but includes an emphasis on migration, creating alignment with community initiatives for migrant workers.
SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being
3.9 By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination:
3.9.1 Mortality rate attributed to household and ambient air pollution
3.9.3 Mortality rate attributed to unintentional poisoning
This target, as part of Goal 3, supports the activity of Occupational Hygiene specialists in reducing the exposure of workers to hazardous materials and it encourages engagement beyond the fence line, with a focus on communities.
At Stone Three we are passionate about the contribution of science, technology and engineering to this roadmap. Our approach to the SDGs is driven from our experience on multiple complex projects and can be summarised in the following way:
Create a central focus:
- Create a central team focused on tracking, monitoring and delivering these goals.
- Empower this team with the ability to rapidly deliver projects, and collaborate with various other centres of excellence to deliver effective results.
- Allow the team to operate remotely and on-site.
To measure is to know:
- Implement the tools and technologies to collect the right data e.g. sensors for pollution and harmful event detection.
- Enhance the data with insights from experts inside and outside the company.
Counter negative indicators and correct events quickly:
- By utilising the data and insights, effective and preventative measures can be implemented.
- The consolidated data can provide valuable insights for combined planning with the community and governmental programs.
- Structured, early interventions reduce negative impacts and improve long term outcomes.
Develop intelligent interventions:
- Utilising digital technology services that require less human intervention.
- Technology allows sharing of data between stakeholders and the automation of certain tasks allowing the teams to focus on high value interventions.
Following this structured approach will allow mining companies to build a layered, and nuanced, approach towards delivering the SDGs in a consistent fashion.
If you’d like to know more about how Stone Three can help you achieve your SDG targets, visit our Heath and Safety webpage, or contact one of our experts directly.
Dirk Wagener, General Manager Health & Safety firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr William Kleynhans, Senior Medical Advisor email@example.com