ZABALA Innovation Consulting recently participated in the International Congress "Water and Mining. Alliance for Sustainability", organized by the Mineral Oil Chamber of the Dominican Republic. During the congress, Mikel Berraondo, director in the field of Social Innovation at ZABALA, gave a lecture on "Mining and sustainability in the face of the social challenges of international agendas."
Mikel Berraondo shared many well received ideas during his speech at the Congress:
• New winds blow for business activity. The times have changed and the companies that will survive in the market will be those that bring real social value.
• Social licenses offer new opportunities in terms of safety, profitability and image of projects.
• Due diligence mechanisms will be required for any project.
• Impact studies on rights become a key tool for project management.
• There is scope for support to companies that are committed to social innovation, as shown by the European funding available.
During his intervention Berraondo also specified some key aspects that are driving business trends in these sectors:
1. Business activity is not only economic but also social. New international and national regulatory frameworks are emerging that bring corporate responsibility and human rights enforcement closer together, and an increase in enforceability and judicial instances is evident.
2. Increasing relevance of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and meeting the Sustainable Development Objectives of Agenda 2030. In this context, the challenges are for companies to integrate mechanisms of due diligence with local communities, mechanisms of remediation (judicial and extrajudicial), national business plans and human rights.
3. New international agendas. Private sector involvement is increasingly important in agenda setting. In addition, social agendas condition the viability of business projects and socially responsible investors demand social compliance. This means that the legal security of business projects is conditioned by international human rights standards. It also manifests itself in the inclusion of social clauses in public and regulatory bids as the European Non-Financial Information Directive.
4. The challenge of due diligence. It assumes the commitment of corporate governance to human rights to analyze potential impacts (impact studies on rights, social risk analysis), and incorporate actions to remedy or mitigate negative impacts that may occur and favor social investment, and to maintain A permanent dialogue with rights holders, as well as obtaining social licenses.
5. Social innovation, which is increasingly important in the EU. It is becoming the European instrument par excellence for promoting corporate social value and its inclusion in projects of technological innovation is increasingly evident, as in the case of the European project SLIM in which ZABALA participates.
In addition, the Horizon2020 Programme provides for specific calls and will be one of the pillars of the next EU R&D framework programme. Social innovation is therefore a tool to finance the processes of business adaptation to social challenges, also for non-European countries.
Thematic calls for Horizon 2020 that offer funds for these activities are those framed in lines of exploration, exploitation and circular economy. They could offer more than 33 million euros in the calls that are available.
6. In mining projects, international cooperation is especially promoted, so these calls are an opportunity for Latin American countries.