SQM expands its commitment to ESG with an IRMA audit
As part of its Sustainability Plan, the Chilean lithium company is strengthening its commitment to the transparency of the information it reports to its stakeholders and the measurements based on the highest levels of social and environmental protection required by the global mining industry.
SQM, a global leader in world-class lithium production based in Salar de Atacama, Chile, announces that it will soon begin a third-party audit that will follow the most rigorous best practices in social and environmental responsibility for industrial-scale mines: the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA).
By undertaking this public independent third-party audit, the Company will become a member of the IRMA program. It is the second lithium mining firm and first mining company in Chile to undertake this type of independent audit and become a full member of the initiative.
According to the 2020 United Nations Environmental Programme report, IRMA is “the only mine-site focused multi-stakeholder standard for industrial scale mining that offers independent external verification and certification, that requires corrective actions and continuous improvement.”
IRMA is also the only mine-site standard with the most robust criteria in regard to labor, fair labor terms, safety, occupational health and the community that requires community engagement in all steps of the process. This is a key aspect for SQM because it aligns with its robust Sustainability Plan, launched one year ago, which guides the Company’s efforts to take concrete steps towards meeting goals in various areas and securing international certification with high transparency and reportability standards.
Stakeholders can contact ERM-CVS auditors, a certification entity approved by IRMA, directly. An audit report will be shared publicly at the end of the process to allow the reviewers to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the operation and guide improvements. It will allow SQM to encourage various stakeholders to participate in the audit and review the resulting report while the Company works to continuously improve its practices in the coming months and years.
This membership is part of the processes that SQM has established to work towards a higher standard of transparency and public accountability in its corporate objectives related to environmental issues, sustainable operations and corporate social responsibility. It is also linked to the Company’s role in the value chain of strategic companies that support human development, including the electric vehicle and sustainable mobility revolution.
In late 2021, SQM also announced that it would participate in the UN Race to Zero program and test Chile’s first high tonnage electric truck, which is used in low emission mining operations, further evidence of the Company’s ESG commitments.
SQM CEO Ricardo Ramos offered these comments on the news: “This is a fantastic step forward for SQM’s ongoing efforts to lead the industry in terms of commitment to sustainability and public disclosure of our ESG targets. SQM’s IRMA membership represents the most recent in a series of ecological initiatives that the Company has undertaken, but we will not stop here. Our goal is to achieve the IRMA Transparency Level in 2022 and IRMA 50 by 2025. We are strongly optimistic that we will be able to make the changes necessary to achieve these goals, which we are carefully considering. This is an exciting time for SQM because we continue to explore innovative ways to make our lithium production increasingly environmentally friendly while listening to and supporting our local communities.”
For more information, contact Yellow Jersey PR:
Alexandra Santos, Associate Partner
Emma Becirovic, Senior Account Manager
Based in northern Chile, SQM has offered solutions for human progress through its five business lines for the past 53 years. Its products are essential for the healthcare, nutrition, and technology industries and for the generation of the clean energies that move the world.
SQM was built and is managed on the basis of a culture of excellence, safety, sustainability and integrity. It seeks to position itself as a leader in sustainability to create a “green” brand through its ongoing efforts to responsibly manage natural resources, care for the environment, build trust-based relationships with communities, and create shared social value.
The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is the answer to a global demand for more socially and environmentally responsible mining. IRMA offers true independent third-party verification and certification against the most rigorous and comprehensive mining standard. It is the only global mining standard that is governed equitably by civil society in partnership with the private sector. IRMA can be used for all mined materials and offers “one-stop coverage” of the full range of issues related to the impacts of industrial-scale mines.
In order to promote value so that mining companies improve and meet the highest responsible mining practice standards and to support buyers’ commitment to due diligence by reducing the damage caused by supply chains, IRMA offers third-party verification of performance based on the most rigorous and comprehensive social and environmental accountability standards.
The IRMA standard was developed in 2006 following consultation with 100 stakeholders, and can be applied to industrial mines of all sizes anywhere in the world. For more information on governance, IRMA standards requests and the auditing process, see www.responsiblemining.net.