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Assessment Program

During 2016-2017, Bettercoal is working to ensure that the Assessment Program is fully aligned with and strongly supports the Bettercoal system. To that end, Bettercoal has assembled a dedicated project team which will work with Bettercoal and the multi-stakeholder Technical & Advisory Committee (TAC) to complete this work. Updated and revised Assessment Program tools, processes and procedures will be uploaded on the Bettercoal website in due course. Meanwhile, see our Activities and Plans for more information.

The existing Bettercoal Assessment Program includes the following key components: a Self-Assessment Questionnaire, independent third-party Site-Assessments and Continuous Improvement Plans, and Re-Assessments. These components are explained in more detail below.  Coal suppliers are invited to join the Assessment Program so they can benefit from Bettercoal support in implementing the Bettercoal Code requirements and avoid the multiplication of assessments by coal buyers.

Bettercoal Code Assessment Program Cycle

Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) 

The first step for coal suppliers in the Bettercoal Assessment Program is to complete a Self-Assessment Questionnaire. The purpose of the Self-Assessment Questionnaire is to introduce the Bettercoal Code Principles and Provisions to suppliers and give them an opportunity to review their practices against the Code and identify any areas for improvement.  Following the submission of the Self-Assessment Questionnaire, an approved Assessor conducts an in-depth review for each Principle and Provision of the Self-Assessment Questionnaire and applies a performance rating.  The following performance ratings apply:

  • Excellent: The company is aligned with all of the expectations of the Bettercoal Code Provision Section.
  • Satisfactory: The company is aligned with most of the expectations of the Bettercoal Code Provision Section.
  • Needs Improvement: The company is aligned with only some of the expectations of the Bettercoal Code Provision Section.
  • Unsatisfactory: The company is aligned with none of the expectations of the Bettercoal Code Provision Section.

The supplier is then given an opportunity to review the feedback and performance ratings, and can submit additional evidence and comments to the independent Assessor.  Upon agreement on the final version of the Self-Assessment Questionnaire with the supplier, the Bettercoal Secretariat and independent Assessor, Bettercoal releases the Self-Assessment Questionnaire in the online Assessment Database.  Bettercoal Members can view the SAQ and its rating and use the information in the supply chain due diligence.

 

Site-Assessment and Continuous Improvement Plans

An important component, and next step in the Assessment Program, is an independent third-party site-assessment. On the basis of risk prioritization criteria, such as the information from the Self-Assessment Questionnaire, location of the mining site, and existing relationship with Bettercoal members, Bettercoal will select coal mining sites for independent third-party site-assessments. This procedure, the Standard Operating Procedure 1 (SOP1), is currently under review with the Technical & Advisory Committee as part of its work on the assurance framework.  

Bettercoal also approves independent third-party assessors to conduct site-assessments against the Bettercoal Code. Once a coal mine is identified, Bettercoal selects an approved Bettercoal assessor to conduct the site-assessment that is performed on the basis of the Assessment Toolkit.

Following the conclusion of the site-assessment process, a complete report of the assessment activity, observations and conclusions will be prepared by the third-party assessor comprising specific scores – ranging from excellent to unsatisfactory – on the company’s management systems and performance.  Continuous Improvement Plans (CIP) are developed collaboratively by the assessed coal supplier and the third-party assessor and monitored by the Bettercoal Secretariat.  Once the report is approved, the full assessment report will be made available to the Bettercoal Members through the Bettercoal Assessment Database. 

Bettercoal Performance Scale and Assessment Cycle

The assessment cycle will vary according to the overall performance obtained by the mine during the site-assessment. Below is a short description of the performance scales which explains the company’s management systems and performance must meet to achieve a particular score. More information can be found in the Assessment Procedures. 

Final Score: Excellent: There is strong evidence of implementation and a strong understanding of the requirements of the Bettercoal Code provisions. Only exceptional minor issues have been identified, and the company is dealing with them efficiently, tackling their root causes as needed. The company shall undergo a Re-Assessment every 5 years. In addition, the company will be expected to update its Self-Assessment Questionnaire in years 2 and 4.

Final Score: Satisfactory: The company’s practises are largely aligned with the Code. There is solid evidence of implementation and a solid understanding of the requirements of the Code provisions. Although exceptional major and minor issues may occur, the company is dealing with them efficiently. The company shall undergo a Re-Assessment within 3 years of the initial site-assessment. In addition, the company will be expected to update its Self-Assessment after 18 months.

Final Score: Needs Improvement: The assessment identified areas in which company practises are not aligned with the Code. There is limited evidence of implementation of or understanding of the requirements of the Code. Major and minor issues occur. Where no issues are identified, there is no system in place to prevent issues from arising. The company shall undergo a Re-Assessment within 24 months of the initial Site-Assessment. In addition, the company will be expected to update its Self-Assessment within 1 year.

Final Score: Unsatisfactory: The assessment identified that most areas are not aligned with the Code and require major changes in the management of ethical, social, and environmental practises. There is no evidence of implementation of or understanding of the Code’s requirements. As a result, major and minor issues occur frequently. The company shall undergo a Re-Assessment within 12 months of the initial Site-Assessment.

How is the information collected used by Bettercoal and its Members?

Assessment information and results are captured using an on-line platform: the Bettercoal Assessment Database. Through the Bettercoal Assessment Database, coal suppliers are invited to perform the Self-Assessment Questionnaire and can share the information with the Bettercoal Members upon their request. Should the request be accepted, a “relationship” is established in the database and the Bettercoal Member has access to the information related to the supplier.

This information could be used by Bettercoal to:

  • Prioritize mines for Site-Assessments (along with other criteria such as location of the mining site, and the nature of mining operation).
  • Identify the specific challenges coal suppliers face in implementing the Bettercoal Code and provide support.
  • Develop guidelines, tools, and methodologies to improve ethical, social, and environmental practices at the coal mining site level. Such guidelines, tools, and methodologies will be developed in consultation with stakeholders through the Technical & Advisory Committee.
  • Identify areas of performance that coal suppliers find particularly difficult to manage—and that may be addressed using the good practices identified in collaboration with stakeholders.

This information is also used by the Bettercoal Members to:

  • Inform their internal due diligence process.
  • Make informed coal purchasing decisions.

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Bettercoal Code

The Bettercoal Code sets out the ethical, social and environmental principles and provisions that members of Bettercoal expect organizations producing coal in their supply chain to align with.

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By joining Bettercoal, your company will take part in a global effort to make a real, on-the-ground difference for workers, communities, local companies and the environment impacted by coal mining. 

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