Our latest ‘Critical Conversation’ podcast features an exclusive discussion with the new CEO of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), Rohitesh Dhawan, on the importance of collaboration, the limitations of ‘ESG’ frameworks, and mining’s sometimes-unrealised transformative potential.
Rohitesh Dhawan was appointed CEO of ICMM in April 2021. Previously he served as Managing Director for Energy, Climate & Resources at Eurasia Group and Global Head of Sustainability for the Mining Sector at KPMG. He is a Fellow and faculty member of the African Leadership Initiative, a Raisina fellow at the Asian Forum on Global Governance and a member of the Advisory Board of Concordia.
This 30-minute conversation was recorded on 7 July 2021, and was moderated by Daniel Litvin, Founder and Managing Partner of Critical Resource.
Among the key points raised by Rohitesh:
- I have seen the transformative potential of mining, but it has not always been realised – I hope ICMM is the catalyst to ensure the social and environmental performance of the industry lives up to its potential.
- Viewing sustainability through the lens of ESG alone has serious limitations. ESG is fundamentally a tool to measure risk. As a result, it can miss the potential broader societal contributions of different industries. Approaching sustainability through the lens of the Sustainable Development Goals allows us to consider these broader issues, and bring the risks and benefits together in one conversation.
- Automation will fundamentally change the socioeconomic contribution of mining through potential impacts on patterns of job creation. Managing this transition will be a key determinant of whether we can improve the relationship between mining and society.
- The future of mining is one in which we have zero or net-zero emissions from the production of metals and minerals. Without this, any narrative about the contribution of metals to decarbonisation will be incomplete.
- We need to develop a shared vision of sustainability. The industry can’t solve sustainable development challenges alone. Collaboration is critical to solving the challenges of the mining industry and gaining the trust and support of society.
- It is inevitable that over time metals and minerals which are mined and produced sustainably will command a premium, so commodities will be increasingly differentiated on the basis of ESG performance. The industry as a whole needs to apply a set of minimum standards, but there is scope for differentiation based on sustainability performance beyond that.