An opportunity for sustainability leadership

Rupert Resources

Rupert Resources, a mineral exploration company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, is in the discovery stage of a site in Northern Finland: the multimillion-ounce Ikkari gold discovery. At this early point in the mine’s lifecycle, the company’s forward-thinking management team looked to ensure its sustainability program started out on the right track, and engaged the team at Grain to help. Initial questions from the company focused on formulating sustainability metrics and how to make like-for-like comparisons with other companies operating within and beyond the sector.

Our first task at Grain was to carry out a materiality assessment on Rupert’s behalf through a series of workshops and meetings with interested parties including management, investors, the local community, and government leaders. The stakeholder insights we gathered this way, combined with research on the company, the sector, and the value chain, helped us to identify six priority material topics for the company, namely:

  • Environmental – biodiversity preservation and ecological impacts
  • Environmental – water and effluent management
  • Social – community relations
  • Social – local economic development and job security
  • Social – cultural heritage and tradition
  • Governance – transparency, communication, and engagement

After completing the materiality assessment, we undertook a benchmarking exercise to understand and articulate how mining companies of different profiles approached these and related environmental, social, and governance topics.
We created a bespoke diagnostic tool to assess the company’s current state and readiness to align with frameworks including the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), the World Gold Council’s Responsible Mining Principles, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the Future Fit Benchmark, and the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
Our next phase of work for Rupert Resources was to calculate the company’s carbon footprint. Although the Ikkari discovery is still in initial stages of economic impact assessments and feasibility studies, we undertook to measure greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at the pre-operational stage so that the starting point for measurement is clear. As mining operations ramp up, this data will inevitably become more complex. Establishing data collection scope and processes now means that systems will already be in place for future metrics and reporting.
The Grain team then researched, wrote, and designed Rupert Resource’s inaugural sustainability report, an important element of stakeholder engagement and communication.
The outcome of our first phase analysis work was a proposal for a sustainability strategy aligned with the company’s overall business strategy and underpinned by actionable goals, targets, and KPIs. Rupert Resources also gained a clear view of the material issues significant to stakeholders and the business and a broader perspective on sustainability activities and expectations within the mineral exploration industry and more globally.
Our second phase produced an initial carbon footprint, key metrics of which are incorporated in the company’s first annual sustainability report. The 40-page report details commitments and activities for the full year 2021 through engaging copy and informative data visualisation. It brings together materiality analysis, benchmarking and framework alignment work completed to date with key facts and figures on environmental, social, and governance impacts of interest to a broad range of stakeholders.
As part of our work together, Rupert Resources joined the United Nations Global Compact, a strong public commitment to implement universal sustainability principles and support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
With an exploration base in Finland — a country with some of the highest ESG standards in the world — in an industry with unique sustainability challenges, and with strict compliance obligations as a publicly traded company in Canada, Rupert Resources already has a high bar to reach in terms of responsible, transparent conduct. By incorporating ESG principles from the very early stages of the Ikkari gold discovery, Rupert Resources is demonstrating the values guiding the company from day one: to develop sustainably and plan for the long term. It’s been our pleasure at Grain to help Rupert Resources on their way.

“Grain has been the driving force to move Rupert’s sustainability programme from good intentions and high-level policy to more integrated reporting systems and management tools. The work with Grain identified the key material issues faced by the business, areas where we were doing well and others where we were deficient. It was important for us to work with a group with experience outside the extractives sector to provide some external perspective on the mining industry.”

— Thomas Credland, Head of Corporate Development, Rupert Resources

Get in touch or book a call