Eurasian Resources Group (“ERG” or “the Group”), a leading diversified natural resources group, has released its 2016 Sustainable Development Review (“Review”). 2016 was a year of milestone achievements for the Group as it made major progress in its business transformation.
ERG invested $56 million in infrastructure, education, health and cultural initiatives to support local communities and accelerated internal efficiency programmes to save $440 million.
The Group developed key sustainability projects for the benefit of the wider society. It prepared for the launch of the Global Battery Alliance, a World Economic Forum initiative aiming to create a responsible value chain for electric vehicles, gadgets and alternative energy. ERG also worked to encourage a greater international presence at the ‘Future Energy’ themed EXPO 2017 in Astana. It negotiated with the organising committee and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to become the Diamond Partner of the National Pavilion of Luxembourg.
The Group further worked with its Chinese partners to develop major mining and infrastructure projects as part of the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’. Other achievements included organising ERG’s first Innovators’ Forum and its inaugural corporate Spartakiad (Olympiad).
Commenting on the Review, Benedikt Sobotka, Group CEO, said: “Sustainability is at the heart of our vision for the Group and we are making considerable progress in embedding it throughout our operations. Over the past three years, we have embarked on a large-scale business transformation and established strong foundations for further improvement. In 2016, we set up a Sustainable Development Council to measure and support our efforts to promote long term, responsible growth in the business.”
“Our approach to sustainable development is shaped by our awareness of the Group’s responsibility as a multi-generational employer. We are honoured to see so many examples of how several generations from individual families have chosen to work for us. Our “legacy families” provide us with a unique appreciation of the long-term impact of our commitments,” he added.
To learn more about ERG’s sustainable development actions in 2016, please find a summary of the Group’s key achievements below.
Summary of ERG’s Sustainability Initiatives
The Review highlights sustainability initiatives that the Group undertook in 2016, all of which furthered the Group’s five priorities:
- Building resilience through business transformation
- Held its first Innovators’ Forum in Kazakhstan. The Forum provided ERG’s most talented employees with a platform to generate ideas to transform the Group
- Streamlined procurement processes and accelerated efficiency programmes to help the Group save $320 million in Kazakhstan over 2015-2016 and $120 million in Africa
- Partnered with the China Nonferrous Metal Industry's Foreign Engineering and Construction Co (NFC) under the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ to construct the Metalkol Project RTR in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (“DRC”). At full capacity, RTR is positioned to produce enough cobalt to source up to 2.6 million high-end electric vehicles
- Investing in our people and their safety
- Invested in initiatives to support graduates and apprentices, organising internships in Kazakhstan, Africa, Brazil and other locations
- Rolled out Kazchrome best practice employee warning notices at other entities
- Offered employees vaccination against H1N1 and ran an informative and preventive campaign against the Zika virus in Brazil
- Carried out cardio-screenings for over 13,000 employees across the Group
- Strengthening our communities
- Invested $56 million to support local communities, including $49 million in Kazakhstan, $6 million in Africa, and $0.4 million in Brazil
- In Kazakhstan, the Group built three houses for more than 200 employees as part of ERG’s Affordable Housing programme; set up a microcredit scheme to develop local small and medium businesses; supported over 1,400 families as their children started the new school year; continued to work with more than 60 education institutions; provided professional development training for 30,000 workers; and partnered with education institutions and Tel Aviv University to prepare the launch of the ‘Ecosystem of Student Entrepreneurship’ initiative
- In Africa, ERG staffed 17 schools and a medical facility in the DRC; sponsored 180 teachers and continued to provide education to pupils and students (over 10,000 in total); supported two farmer co-operatives; and provided seeds and fertiliser to several hundred families
- In Brazil, in accordance with local labour laws, the Group employed young people aged between 14 and 24, known as Young Apprentices
- Helped secure international support for the ‘Future Energy’-themed EXPO 2017, arranging presentations for the governments and businesses in Europe and America to promote the potential of the EXPO
- Provided information support to Kazakhstan’s national team at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and organised ERG’s first corporate Spartakiad (Olympiad) in Kazakhstan
- Providing environmental stewardship
- Reduced energy consumption by 1,216 TJ, saving over $3 million in Kazakhstan
- Protected pink flamingos, an endangered species, and their habitat in the Korgalzhyn State Nature Reserve in Kazakhstan
- Supported the monitoring of the water fauna near Porto Sul in Brazil and planted seeds of native trees and bushes as part of ERG’s reforestation programme
- Sold over 58,000 tonnes of industrial waste to third parties in Kazakhstan under the “Turning Waste Into Profit” initiative
- Sponsored biodiversity assessments at Comide and Boss Mining in the DRC. All surveys were conducted by Golder Associates, independent biodiversity experts
- Improving governance and ethics
- Worked with the World Economic Forum to develop a Global Battery Alliance to ensure that future energy supplies are responsibly sourced and to create a sustainable battery value chain for electric vehicles, gadgets and alternative energy
- Strengthened the Group’s focus on sustainable development by expanding the responsibilities of the Board of Managers’ Mergers & Acquisitions Committee to Sustainable Development and Strategy, and by establishing the Sustainable Development Council
- Adopted Human Rights and Data Protection Policies
- Enhanced ERG’s compliance team in key management positions and regional roles