IUCN and Rio Tinto working together towards transformative change in the mining sector

03 August 2011 | News story

In 2010, IUCN and Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest mining and mineral exploration companies, signed a three year collaborative agreement which aims to support Rio Tinto in making transformative progress towards sustainable development and environmental management.  The primary work stream is focused on collaborative agreement of standards and metrics for the independent and scientifically-credible assessment of Rio Tinto’s self-imposed target of having a Net Positive Impact (NPI) on biodiversity.

This cutting-edge process will not only support implementation of Rio Tinto’s sector-leading biodiversity strategy but also provide a yardstick against which other extractive industries and sectors can be measured.  This is truly the sort of transformational change that IUCN has envisioned through its work with the private sector.

In order to implement the development, testing and implementation of independent verification of Rio Tinto’s commitment to its NPI objective, IUCN has convened a Net Positive Impact Protocol & Review Panel Team (NPIP&RPT) consisting of 12 technical experts who have been tasked with the following:

  • develop a protocol to be used by independent regional NPI Review Panels for measuring Rio Tinto’s progress towards their NPI objectives, and
  • convene and help operationalize the regional NPI Review Panels.

The NPI Review panels will deliver initial evaluations over a three-year timeframe. It is envisaged that the panels will eventually transform into long-term bodies with mandates that coincide with the duration of Rio Tinto operations in a given region – often over a timeframe of many decades. 

In addition to this process for evaluation of progress towards NPI, the Rio Tinto – IUCN Technical Advisory Committee is currently exploring ways by which community rights and use of candidate sites for protection can be recognized, protected, and enhanced using existing social science tools. Active involvement of CEESP will be essential to ensure that emerging recommendations draw from best practice and align with existing mechanisms and policies.

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