Recommendations for Report Structure and Strategy
Clearly articulate sustainability strategy
The Panel was glad to see a message from the CEO at the front of the report and suggested that this would be the right place to introduce how Teck views its contribution to sustainability. As mining makes use of non-renewable resources, the Panel wanted to see how Teck positions itself for sustainability. A compelling sustainability strategy would address all three “pillars” – environmental, social and economic – and show the linkages among them. The Panel recommended that in the early pages of the report, Teck draw a clear line from that strategic vision to its material issues/areas, its goals for those areas, and the operational sustainability strategies to achieve the goals.
Our response: We agree that the sustainability vision could be stated more clearly, and that linkages between the vision, strategy and our material issues could be strengthened. We undertake to review and assess our vision, strategy and materiality at the start of the annual sustainability reporting process to ensure its ongoing relevance. The outcomes of this process will be more clearly communicated in future sustainability reports.
Structure Report to align with Teck’s sustainability framework
The Panel suggested organizing the Report to reflect Teck’s strategic framework for sustainability. The framework could be based on the traditional three pillars of sustainability or something more specific to Teck that incorporates its material issues. The Panel suggested that this would make it easier for readers to understand how Teck’s performance is bringing it closer to its vision of sustainability.
Our response: Our 2008 report will be re-structured to reflect our sustainability vision and align with our strategy (as indicated above). This, in turn, will help shape the report into a more reader-friendly document.
Simplify structure of report
While visually stimulating, the multiple design treatments of the early sections contributed to a scattered feel for the Report. The Panel recommended condensing some of the early sections of the 2007 Report (e.g. “Blueprint”, “Our Approach to Reporting”, “Materiality”) into one Introduction section. They also recommended placing highlights of performance near the front, drawing on environmental, social and economic indicators.
Our response: Our intent was for the report to be more accessible and appealing to our readers (i.e., have a “magazine-like” feel to it). We will continue to present information in this spirit. Our approach to the design elements of the report will be revisited to align with a renewed structure. Major highlights (e.g., vision statement, materiality issues, and key performance indicators) will be summarized and consolidated into the introductory section of the report, as recommended.
Use website where appropriate and make it easier to navigate
The Panel was supportive of Teck’s efforts to keep the printed report a reasonable length while providing additional information on the sustainability section of Teck’s website. The Panel recommended that detailed material that does not change much from year to year, such as some of the approach to reporting; materiality analysis; and governance/management (“Blueprint”) could also move to the website. Panellists suggested improvements to navigation such as moving the GRI index and site reports links to the main sustainability reporting page.
Our response: The use of our website will continue to be streamlined to optimize the communication of information to our audiences, and in some cases, will allow us to release parts of the report in a phased approach. In addition, a more user-friendly navigation aid for the website portion of the report is being planned for the 2008 report.
Set targets for material issues and show progress from year to year
The Panel found the summary of “Our Goals and Progress” useful and encouraged Teck to extend the time frame of its goals beyond one year and to link them to Teck’s vision of sustainability. Panellists suggested that Teck demonstrate accountability and provide a clear picture of progress by setting longer term goals with clear and measurable annual targets for all material issues.
Our response: Our reporting would benefit from tracking sustainability trends over longer periods of time (e.g., reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, increased community engagement, etc.). We will incorporate this type of progress reporting in our future reports.
Demonstrate follow-through on goals
The Panel noted that some of the reported goals for 2008 did not follow from the progress (or lack of) reported on 2006 and 2007 goals. This was the case for the goals of setting energy efficiency targets, and assessing best practice for engagement with indigenous peoples. The Panel recognized that company plans sometimes change in new situations and wanted explanations when previously set goals were changed or abandoned.
Our response: We recognize the importance of addressing previously-set goals, regardless of the establishment of new ones and will report on completion status (and on reasons for any changes) in future reports.
Continue to provide frank disclosure of challenges Teck faces
Panellists pointed to the “In Focus” and “Your concerns; our response” sections of the 2007 Report as examples of informative, transparent disclosure. They recommended that future reports discuss the industry challenge of cumulative impacts – both social and environmental – in this way. The Fort Hills project was flagged as a candidate for discussion in the 2008 Report.
Our response: We appreciate the Panel’s acknowledgement of the spirit of transparency in this report, and we will continue our reporting in this way. We plan to include information on our oils sands developments in the 2008 report, and will discuss the environmental and social issues that these developments present.
Ensure consistency and balance in site reports
Panellists commended Teck for the practice of site level reporting and recognized that these reports could provide a foundation for engagement at the community level. While local conditions vary, Panellists questioned why some topics were covered in some site reports and not in others. For example, aboriginal employment was featured in the Red Dog and Lennard Shelf reports, but not in the Highland Valley Copper or Elk Valley Coal reports, even though it could be relevant. Panel members also noted that waste reduction efforts varied among sites. The Panel recommended that Teck adopt a template or checklist for site reports that would ensure consistent, balanced reporting.
Our response: While operations’ sustainability summary (or site-level) reports will continue to reflect our material issues to ensure currency and consistency, there will be differences that reflect the diversity of our sites, and the communities and cultures in which they are located. To ensure a greater degree of consistency, we will continue to apply templates and checklists in order to structure the site-level reports. Moreover, we will track and report on aboriginal employment for all relevant sites.
Continue to use external standards and independent assurance that is credible to the audience
The Panel commended Teck on its use of the Global Reporting Initiative G3 Guidelines for Sustainability Reporting. Panel members were supportive of the use of independent assurance and encouraged Teck to extend its scope and depth, while ensuring that the type of assurance met the needs of the various audiences for the report. The Panel also recommended involving community members in site-level reporting as another way to enhance its credibility.
Our response: We will continue reporting to the G3 Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standard of reporting. While we agree with the spirit of the Panel’s recommendation regarding independent assurance, we have chosen not to conduct this for the 2008 report, due primarily to cost considerations. Nevertheless, we will conduct a similar internal review, and will be following through on the recommendations of the previous year’s external review. We anticipate reinstituting independent assurance when economic conditions allow.