UK mining firms ought to create permanent board positions for ESG experts

HEADHUNTING firm Swann Global has recommended that UK-registered mining companies improve board representation of experts in the fields of environment, sustainability and governance (ESG), said the Financial Times.

A report by Swann Global, cited by the newspaper, found that of 686 board members it surveyed, 42% had a financial services background. This group included professionals who have worked for banks, management consultancies and even mining companies, the newspaper said.

A further 33% had expertise in mining exploration and construction or other parts of the industry.

Only 10% of board members were women. Of this category, half served on the boards of major mining firms. Finally, 13% of directors in general management had experience from outside the mining industry, said the Financial Times.

The Financial Times commented that the greatest surprise in the Swann Global report was that only 35 of the directors on London Stock Exchange and Alternative Investment Market listed companies had been in health, safety, environment and community engagement.

“Mining companies almost always have an internal department to deal with ESG issues. However, it does not generally show as a subject of priority on their boards,” the report said. Swann Global added that mining firms should allow for permanent board seats for people with expertise in ESG.

“They must set the atmosphere for more progressive collaborations, positive impacts and innovative thinking,” the report concluded.

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