The Philippines is ranked as the fifth most mineral-rich country in the world, with approximately 30 million hectares of land in the country endowed in metallic minerals, including but not limited to, gold, nickel, copper and iron ore (Lindon et al., 2013). San Roque Metals Inc. (SRMI) is a large-scale nickel mining company located within the Eastern Mindanao Biodiversity Corridor, one of the country’s Key Biodiversity Areas in Mindanao, Philippines (Ibanez, 2015). Canada also possesses an impressive international mineral record, ranking fifth for nickel production globally (NRC, 2018). Moreover, Vale is one of the world’s largest mining companies and producers of nickel, with extractions of approximately 65,000 metric tons of this mineral within nickel mine and operations in Ontario, Canada (Vale, 2017). Over the years, both SRMI and Vale have received a number of presidential and commerce awards in recognition of their exceptional corporate citizenry and corporate social responsibility (CSR) (Omaga-Diaz, 2017; Vale 2017). Despite the companies’ national and international CSR recognition, SRMI and Vale have been increasingly scrutinized by the public for the environmental and social externalities of their operations. As mining companies’ efforts to market good corporate citizenry rise alongside the industry’s questionable legitimacy, the highly acclaimed multinational corporations of SRMI and Vale pose as significant case studies to explore. These case studies will examine CSR practice across nations possessing differing levels of development as well as analyze corporate discourse and the authenticity of their actions within local communities. Using a case study of two multinational mining companies operating in Mindanao, Philippines and Ontario, Canada, my research will delve into a comparative analysis of how environmental CSR initiatives differ between developed and developing states, whilst examining the impacts of environmental CSR practices at the local level.
This research initiative will address the following research question: To what extent do corporate narratives of environmental CSR impacts align with the narratives of the local communities affected? As a part of the Global Minerals and Local Communities in Canada and the Philippines project, this research aims to examine differences in environmental CSR practices between developed and underdeveloped states at the institutional level and analyze the impacts and accuracy of company accountability to environmental commitments at the local level. This study will allow for a deeper understanding within company-community relations between nations whilst providing a platform that strengthens the ability for under-represented stakeholders to voice their environmental concerns and sensitize policies at the institutional level.
Angela Asuncion is student in the Master of Science in Rural Planning and Development program. Angela will be conducting her thesis field research in the Philippines in summer 2020. This research is part of the larger Global Minerals, Local Communities research initiative.