Roy remembers his fondest badge in the mining industry working as a jack leg driller in underground mining in the Sudbury region. He has worked for both of the top two underground mobile equipment manufacturers in marketing management positions. Along the way he worked for a space robotics company transferring IP from space to terrestrial applications including mining, nuclear, high voltage power, marine and autonomous mobile applications. He has started seven SME’s along the way with organizations in all corners of the world, innovating technologies and managing them through life cycle including novel green initiatives that can make a difference in sustainability. Roy’s passion is new technologies and he spends his time looking for the next disruptive change for the mining industry.
What is your area of value in the field of mining sustainability?
I have been entrusted by our team of visionary global sustainability enthusiasts to manage the structural development of this novel concept we have coined Global Mining Sustainability™ (GMSu). We are a Canadian nonprofit and non-competitive communications platform developed to bring together all stakeholders under the sustainability theme. Our vision is to take down walls and build inclusivity to drive cultural change in the mining industry.
Our business model is distributed regional thought leadership and program management to develop the best solutions where they need addressing. We develop solutions through innovation processes in the areas of technology, social practice and governance.
How is your practice of sustainability value perceived today?
Sustainability has been in social evolution for decades with deep and passionate roots in European culture. It has become a broader and more immediate global concern driven predominantly by climate change.
The awareness of sustainability practice during this period has broadened to include all elements of society’s culture to be inclusive, sharing and concerned about our global village, “as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.” UN Global Compact.
In January 2016 the United Nations enacted 17 Sustainable development Goals (SDG’s) to frame the challenge and also motivate society to measure progress. It’s a fundamental shift and milestone to tackling society’s challenges. The mining industry has important global leadership potential to be a major part of many solutions including managing industrial footprint, implementing workforce inclusivity, and growing community development.
Our initial challenge as a non-profit communications platform is to develop a substantial asset base of global and regional thought leaders both inside and outside the mining industry who can offer innovative ideas and programs towards measurable change to the way that mining thinks and operates.
What are your greatest challenges to practice mining sustainability?
We have two main driving themes, corporate risk and community trust. Risk covers a very broad range of issues and lives in the corporate board room where decisions are made to attract investment. We are working with thought leaders who deal with risk from geopolitics to environmental failure, and also community engagement.
There is lack of trust then lives at the community level and develops at the earliest stage of the industry’s engagement process. We have several regional environmental and social practitioners that use measureable innovation tools to drive new programs that can challenge the lack of trust in communities that will identify these risks to the board room.
Women in Mining (WIM) is a main them of our platform, as it address many of the risk issues mining is experiencing head on. Supply chain management and building sustainable disruptive level community value is a key to building trust and mitigating risk.
The corporate board room is being challenged to prove their interest in creating trust and mitigating risk to secure investment. The millennial investor is being pulled into many new opportunities that have less risk, more societal values and better media communication protocols to explain themselves. Their investing opportunities including industry electrification, blockchain, cannabis, and a long list of emerging novel society developments have the potential to displace traditional investing practice.
If mining doesn’t address sustainability, the industry could be blindsided by market disinterest. The exploration industry is already feeling the effects of slowing investment after a short recovery from the past long recessionary period. Although the mining industry may not agree, it may already be under a greater siege for survival than it realizes.
What are your greatest successes in promoting mining sustainability?
We have assembled a powerful team of Advisory Directors as our platform’s initial and most critical asset base. This remarkable group are experts in all fields of global sustainability practice and we continue to grow its presence. It has been an amazingly positive experience to get them on board; there’s a real enthusiasm to work together on the many critical themes we are discussing.
We intend to operate on a structure of distributed leadership and programs, as each region has its own perspective. We will draw these perspectives together into a global awareness of critical issues by listening to all stakeholders, not just invested mining people.
We are going to be showcasing diversity and disparate opinions as values as well as we can. With new age media tools we intend to get transparent messages out to raise awareness towards these critical challenges and offer real solutions that can drive disruptive change.
What is your vision of how mining can change?
Sometimes new solutions are difficult to see, however also sometimes the solutions are the most obvious and just need some acknowledgement of what the problem is. It takes leadership to address real problems and take a stand to make change. We intend to offer this leadership through our asset base of thought leaders and also with mining corporation leaders who will take on the challenge of real change.
The industry is coalescing around three sustainability themes; environment, social practice and governance. We’re going to utilize measureable innovation technics developed by best in class industry leaders to set up the structures and programs we will pursue in all of these areas. We’re noticing that quite a lot of the innovation development is going into technology and yet the most difficult solutions are not technology driven specifically.
We have several social practitioners asking why more innovation doesn’t occur in this area, where there are major problems with behaviour and culture. We’re hoping that the diversity of the innovation themes we develop will capture society’s attention to allow us to pursue solutions to the most important challenges to why society has trouble with accepting mining.
How do you use innovation to apply your value and how can it be improved?
Innovation is the key enabler to change and is being promoted by United Nations’ Global Compact Ten Principles, ‘to first do business responsibly and then pursue opportunities to solve societal challenges through business and collaboration.’
The mining industry has typically focused on product solutions to drive change, including; AI, digitization, IoT, VR/MR, communications, blockchain and many others. These will be important to keep the industry viable however all industries are doing the same thing, picking a focus on a few developments and trying to measure how they make improvement. The mining industry has the most difficult time implementing any of these changes due to the nature of their transient business and process. That’s why productivity continues to erode even though many efforts have been made to improve its linear transient process.
Critical breakthroughs can come from social innovation to address many of the more difficult to visualize and manage problems including behaviour, communications, and culture both internally and at the community level. Gender equality is a main vehicle to offer a shift in thinking at the board room and C Suite levels. Baby boomers still reject this notion of change and have to either acknowledge the need for gender balance. Today mining boards have less than 20% women and lag most other industries. Board rooms that take the challenge will be rewarded with novel thinking, new solutions, societal acceptance and improved social licence to operate.
Generational change will play the critical part in culture change as millennials will inherit the senior management level within five years. A greater percentage believes in sustainability practice and should be promoted on that awareness.
We have Generation Z now on the street at age 21, thirsting for challenge and passionately driven by values quite foreign to present management styles and programs. They bring a whole new perspective on trust, transparency and culture and will have to be convinced that mining is an industry worthy of their values and passion. They will have to be integrated into the mining industry with novel mentoring ideas and opportunities if the industry is to change and survive.