Investors and mining companies are both concerned about environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks, but they differ on where they believe the biggest risks lie, according to a new survey from Fitch Ratings.
The rating agency reported that a survey of more than 100 corporate issuers and investors active in the mining sector revealed “stark differences” between companies and investors on their views of the most significant ESG risks for the next several years.
“Corporates view carbon emissions, hazardous waste management and air and water pollutants as key emerging risks, but investors are increasingly concerned about water scarcity, labour relations and health risks,” the survey found.
Fitch said that companies’ concerns about environmental risks tend to be more regional, whereas investors’ top concerns “tend to be global long-term systemic risks across the industry as a whole.”
There are also significant regional and sectoral differences in risk trends, Fitch said.
For instance, coal miners in Canada and the U.S. face rising regulatory pressure to address greenhouse gas emissions and air quality, whereas some steel producers have elevated risks connected with labour relations and labour practices.
Meanwhile, for emerging market companies, particularly Latin American mining companies, hazardous waste management is a prominent issue, Fitch said.
Labour relations and social issues are also more important in Latin America, partly due to “previous operational disruptions and labour disputes,” Fitch noted.
“Social impacts may be more acute in these regions because of their relatively high income inequality, disputes over rising utility costs and competition for privatized water resources,” the rating agency said.