NICKEL Asia Corp. announced on Tuesday that it formed a sustainability committee for its mining operations, the first mining company in the country to do so.

“This month, Nickel Asia became the first mining operation in the country to create a board-level sustainability committee and designate a Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) as it hammers down on its environment, social, and corporate governance (ESG) goals,” the firm said in a media release.

The sustainability committee is in charge of overseeing, identifying, and assessing the economic, environmental, ethical, and social impact of Nickel Asia’s operations.

“It has the immense responsibility of steering the company into becoming a better business operator and contributor to national development,” it added.

The firm said that this effort is in line with its vision to “become the premier ESG investment in the country and to be counted among the top 25 Philippine Stock Exchange-listed companies in terms of market capitalization by 2025.”

“More than just a simple revision of the old statement, this one heralds the changes that our company is today undergoing as we formalize our ESG process, changes that we believe will enable us to be at the forefront of truly sustainable development of our country’s natural resources result in an even more stable and successful company,” Nickel Asia President and Chief Executive Martin Antonio G. Zamora said.

“Ultimately, our aim is to help bring products that would move the world towards a progressive and sustainable future, always conscious of being stewards of the environment where we operate,” he added.

In 2014, Nickel Asia said it began incorporating ESG in its operations.

“Over the years, Nickel Asia has been recognized both locally and internationally for its exemplary efforts in promoting environmentally and socially responsible mining operations in the country,” the firm said.

Nickel Asia said that all of its operating mining subsidiaries in Palawan, Surigao, and the Dinagat Islands have been conferred the Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award.

“ESG is now a fundamental element of business, a higher-level evolution of the ‘triple bottom line’ that was all the rage in the 1990s. No company worth its salt, especially those who claim to or aspire for leadership in its industry, can avoid embracing ESG as part of the way it does business,” CSO Jose Bayani D. Baylon said.

He added that implementing ESG is “a lot of work” because industries like mining are by their nature already challenged.

“They start off on their ESG journey with a handicap, so to speak. But the global universe of companies in the metals and mining industry includes very good examples worth emulating,” he added.

“Moving forward, we at Nickel Asia will put a premium on the development of a sustainability culture within our company and across our subsidiaries, and ensure that we continue to operate with the utmost respect for the people and the environment,” Mr. Zamora said.

In the first half of the year, the company reported that its first-half attributable net income rose by 40.3% to P3.83 billion from P2.73 billion.

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