Materiality Interview Series – Cilene Paula, Social & Environmental Coordinator at SAMA
After the financial, food and energy industries, I’m glad to present you today the fourth interview of our Materiality Series: Colene Paula, Social & Environmental Coordinator at SAMA, representing the mining industry. These interviews aim to understand how companies from different industries are assessing their material aspects, and identify potential differences or similarities among them. They are a good complement to our free 50 Materiality Matrices from 5 Key Industry Sectors e-book.
SAMA is a mining company based in Brazil which has been publishing a Sustainability report since…well, I’ll let you discover it through Cilene’s interview! Happy reading!
Q: Hello Cilene. Let start with few words about yourself. What exactly do you do at SAMA? What are your missions?
A: I am the Coordinator of social and environmental projects such as:
• Environmental education, conservation and wildlife management;
• Farmers Awareness in degraded river revitalization ;
• Environmental and social agencies relationships.
My mission is to contribute to the sustainable development, have it applied and practiced in all stages of the mining process and extended to all stakeholders with focus on business continuity, workers’ quality of life, engagement of partners, suppliers & customers; and development of the local community where it operates.
How long has SAMA been publishing Sustainability reports, and conducting a materiality analysis?
We have been publishing sustainability reports since 2007- in other words for the last 6 years – and our first materiality matrix was realized through electronic consultation in 2011.
Your last report (published in 2014) is one of the few GRI-G4 reports in your industry. How did you get your hands on this new framework?
Our report is one of the few, because when G4 was launched it was something new and I was encouraged to use it since we were near to start the construction of the report. I helped defending the new guidelines to our board directors and relied on an outside expert to absorb the new process. I believe that most companies in Brazil will be lining their reports to G4 this next cycle.
What tools were you using in the process of creating your Sustainability Report?
To collect the internal data we used a G4 indicator spreadsheet, consolidated by our consulting company. Supporting this process of data collection, we interviewed the company leaders. We used the Eight Millennium Development Goals as drivers of good practices and reassured the commitment to the Global Compact principles in alignment with the company’s activities.
Was your company used to conduct stakeholder engagement and materiality analysis processes before?
The materiality process was built from a test with an electronic questionnaire answered by stakeholders and mapped with internal areas of the Company. Basically the steps of the process were: identification of the public, survey of topics for assessment, electronic consultation, data analysis and matrix construction. The matrix was defined out of the consolidation of the answers combined with our CEO’s vision.
What were your main materiality sources?
For two non-consecutive cycles, we launched an electronic consultation to internal & external stakeholders and to the Board. We also used themes and indicators from the GRI and took the industry demands into account. Between these two cycles, we did a panel together with stakeholders to define our materiality with more precision.
What are your key material aspects? How different are they from your industry peers and competitors?
Our material aspects are: economic performance, control of effluents and waste, work health and safety, child labor, health and safety practices and customer safety.
What type of design did you choose to illustrate your materiality matrix? Why?
We used the standard model proposed by GRI and another national one.
What was your biggest challenge when working on SAMA’s Sustainability report? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge was to convince 25 areas of the company to report the indicators. At the beginning, there was resistance by the lack of knowledge and mistrust but we overcame it thanks to our expert’s advices. Today everyone feels part of the process and when the report is finalized we all have a lot of satisfaction in knowing that the “DNA” of the company will be the world’s knowledge, not just locally.
To conclude, what makes a good process for Sustainability Reporting and Stakeholder Engagement in your opinion?
Timeliness in the delivery of accounting, frequent engagement with the public, answering the demands and the establishment of goals and controls.
We greatly thank Cilene for this awesome testimonial! Interested in learning more about Materiality? Download our free benchmarking e-book here!