I received two bits of good news. First, from Canada, my older brother GJ got a relatively clean bill of health from his doctors after undergoing surgery to remove some growth somewhere inside his body. I can’t be more detailed, not because of patient-doctor reasons, but because I was the only one in the family not to choose the medical profession as my calling, so I wouldn’t even know the medical terms for our body parts anyway.

The bottom line is, the errant growth was removed and no traces of it had been found anywhere else in his system.

The second was that the Board of Directors of Nickel Asia Corporation decided, out of the depths of their experience, wisdom and good sense, to create a position of Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) who will be tasked with, among others, spearheading the development, establishment and regular review of the ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) Roadmap and the NAC Group’s sustainability framework.

The CSO will work with the members of the company’s Sustainability Committee (created at the level of the NAC Board and led by our President and CEO) to ensure that the company’s ESG roadmap has the support at the highest levels of corporate governance.

The 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.

And for a natural resources development company like NAC to incorporate in its corporate vision the adoption of an ESG roadmap – which it did in November of last year – was, for me, something I have always been proud of.

But embracing ESG also means a lot of work, principally because some industries like metals and mining are by their nature already challenged in some areas of ESG, particularly in the environment pillar.

They start off on their ESG journey with a handicap, so to speak. But the global universes of companies in the metals and mining industry includes very good examples worth emulating – and again I take pride in knowing that the company I work for aspires to be measured against the best of the best.

But sustainability? In mining? How does that work? I’m often peppered with questions like these.

Which I welcome because it provides an opening to explain: under ESG, it is the sustainability of the mining communities (and the greater society) that is the focal point of a mining company’s ESG efforts, not the sustainability of the business itself.

You see, ESG is an affirmation by a corporate citizen that it only remains worthy of its social license to operate for as long as it is a contributor to a better planet in the course and conduct of its business.

And NAC, over the 14 years of its registered existence as a holding company and over the 50-plus years since its first nickel mine located in Rio Tuba, Bataraza, Palawan began operations, continuously strives to be that. And more.

Before I forget, the burdensome task of being CSO was given to me. But after some thought, I think this is the most exciting corporate assignment I’ve had ever since I was tasked to lead a beverage company’s involvement in the 1998 Philippine Centennial Celebrations!

Let’s do this!

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