Setting standards for progress

Integrity, innovation and ethics can ensure your license to operate

 

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Companies give more to society than just products and services. To maximise positive impact, it is crucial that these benefits are communicated effectively to employees and the wider community.

The natural resources industry is one of the key contributors to modern society as, without raw materials, the lifestyle that so many of us enjoy today would not be possible. The resources we bring to the market have a myriad uses, creating the basic building blocks of society: iron ore is used in transport networks and building infrastructure; copper is used to connect people through telecommunications and in lifesaving medical devices, and aluminium is used across diverse products, including food packaging and as a lightweight material for automobiles, reducing fuel emissions. Furthermore, we generate electricity that lights the lives of millions of people and our crude oil is an essential component of thousands of secondary products.

Through the contributions we make to the exchequer, our presence facilitates the role of governments to deliver appropriate infrastructure and valuable services to societies. The scale of our operations also makes us a major economic contributor through the flow-on effect of our activities. By sourcing products and services locally, we generate significant economic activity and promote the development of local skills and job creation. This is particularly relevant as the majority of our operations are in the developing world and we are committed to enabling the sustainable development of these societies.

The natural resources sector is inherently sensitive with a large number of affected groups, ranging from employees and shareholders to local communities and environmental groups. Resources companies therefore carry with them a significant range of constantly evolving risks. To mitigate these they must develop robust processes and systems while simultaneously balancing the relative risk/reward equations expected by their stakeholders. As economic headwinds persist, the spotlight will remain on the industry, which will be expected to proactively engage its stakeholders while making improvements to existing financial structures.

Roma Balwani

Roma Balwani is president, group sustainability, corporate social responsibility and communications at Vedanta Resources. She is responsible for driving sustainability, corporate social responsibility and communications as a strategic function at Vedanta. Prior to joining Vedanta in 2014, she headed communications at leading Indian companies such as Mahindra & Mahindra Limited, and global firms such as UK-based travel portal ebookers.com. In a career spanning more than 30 years, she has received several prestigious communications awards and was the first Indian to receive the Holmes Report’s SABRE Award for outstanding individual achievement. This year, she also has the distinction of being included in the 50 Most Talented Sustainability Leaders list by World CSR Congress.