Tainted by decades of environmental disasters, shattered communities and ravenous water consumption, mining companies — including those that dig up battery metals — are not traditional darlings of the environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) crowd.
Veteran mining executive Sir Mick Davis — who led the resources company Xstrata PLC until its merger with Glencore PLC in 2013 — knows this all too well. Now running Vision Blue Resources Ltd., a fund focused on clean-energy-related mineral and metal companies, he’s looking to ride a new wave in the sector as it seeks to up its game on sustainability while meeting huge demand for battery metals.
For decades, Davis said miners had sought a “social licence to operate” by cultivating relationships with communities and governments. Now, he said, they need to address customer and investor concerns about responsible practices in order to obtain a “social licence to market.”
Davis’s words reflect a wider shift in the resources sector, as investors seek to profit from demand for commodities used in the clean-tech sector, while minimizing exposure to environmental or human rights problems.
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