Mining mediator renewed for three more years – by James Munson ( – October 22, 2012)

Marketa Evans has been reappointed as Canada’s counsellor for corporate social responsibility in the extractive sector for another three years.

Evans was the first person to take up the job after it was created in 2009 as part of Ottawa’s response to growing allegations of human rights abuses, social conflicts and environmental degradation by Canadian firms overseas.

So far, communities in central Mexico, Mauritania and Argentina have sought the counsellor’s help for everything from labour disputes to air pollution to water usage.

But companies don’t have to participate in mediation if they don’t want to, something critics say renders the office useless. So far, companies have declined to participate in two of the three cases the office has handled.

Before her first appointment in 2009, Evans was a bank executive and executive director of the Munk Centre for International Studies in Toronto, according to the Foreign Affairs website.

The counsellor’s office is part of Ottawa’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy for the extractive sector.

The strategy’s aim is to get companies to change their behaviour through voluntary and industry-led means, rather than clamp down with regulation.

And while things like corporate social responsibility reports have become the norm among big mining firms, some of the so-called leaders in corporate social responsibility, such as Barrick Gold and Talisman Energy, are often confronted by social upheaval and allegations of poor governance around their project sites.

For the rest of this article, please go to the website: