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The Bettercoal Secretariat is led by its Executive Director, Anne-Claire Howard, who is in charge of the daily management of Bettercoal operations and reports to the Board of Directors.  She is supported by a dedicated team and together they focus on the implementation of the Bettercoal Code, the supplier Assessment Programme and Assurance System Review, Bettercoal Membership and Reporting Obligations, communications and engaging with stakeholders.  

From 2011 until April 2016, the Bettercoal Secretariat was supported by staff from Business for Social Responsibility (BSR).

The Bettercoal Team

The Executive Director leads the Bettercoal Secretariat, in charge of the daily management of Bettercoal operations, and reports to the Board of Directors. This includes leading the implementation of the Bettercoal Code and coal supplier Assessment Programme, the Assurance System Review, Members Implementation & Reporting Obligations, communications, and stakeholder engagement.

Anne-Claire Howard, Executive Director

Anne-Claire has over 13 years’ experience in extractive industries having held positions with Royal Dutch Shell, Eurasia Group, the International Finance Corporation. Most recently, she was a Principal Manager in the Extractive Industries Governance team at Adam Smith International, where she worked in developing countries ensuring through sustained stakeholder interaction that commercial business imperatives were not impacted by regulatory, political, environmental and social risks. Throughout her career, Anne-Claire has focused on the commercially sustainable development of oil, gas & mining projects and extractive sector governance. 

Anne-Claire has successfully delivered projects touching on political, social and environmental risk assessment, governance capacity building and non-technical risk management in developing countries. She has been involved in oil, gas and mining projects and businesses in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas.


Marieke van der Mijn, Head of Standards & Assurance

Marieke joined Bettercoal as Assessment Program Manager in April 2015.  Marieke leads and directs the design and implementation of the Bettercoal Assurance System to ensure the global credibility, relevance and quality of Bettercoal standards and programmes.  She works with a dedicated project team and the multi-stakeholder Technical & Advisory Committee to complete this work through consultative and consensus-building processes.  In her role, Marieke works closely with Bettercoal Members, coal mining companies, auditors, civil society stakeholders, governments and other industry organisations.  

Marieke has more than 6 years of experience in standards systems and certification, impact evaluation and Corporate Social Responsibility in the mining and metals supply chains. Previously she worked at the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) where she managed RJC's certification and Monitoring & Evaluation work programmes, and she was involved in the 18 month review process of the Code of Practices. Marieke holds an MA in Environment, Development and Policy from the University of Sussex and a BSc and MSc in Cultural and Social Anthropology from the University of Amsterdam.


Irena Popa-Antohi, Sustainability Manager

Irena joined Bettercoal as Program & Membership Coordinator in February 2016. Irena is responsible for managing the Members' Implementation and Reporting Obligations (MIRO) and Bettercoal’s Communications & Engagement strategy.

Her background in Environmental Sciences includes working on various sustainability topics including green building, greenhouse gas data analysis, circular economy, sustainable business models and innovation. By combining project management skills with research and communications, Irena managed and was involved in national and international sustainability projects in Romania, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Irena holds an MSc in Environmental Sciences from the Wageningen University in the Netherlands, a BSc in Communications and a BSc in Environmental Sciences, both from the University of Bucharest.


2017 Scorecard

The Bettercoal 2017 Scorecard was approved by the Board of Directors on the 30th of March 2017.

Key Drivers for 2017


Deliver the Bettercoal Assessment Programme

To deliver the Bettercoal Assessment Programme to 20 engaged coal Suppliers.

To implement the new online Bettercoal Assurance Platform.

To develop the Country Prioritisation Strategy in line with the Technical & Advisory Committee recommendations.

To continue to grow supplier assurance in 'priority countries'.

Review and Implement the Bettercoal System Elements

To drive through the Bettercoal System Review in 2017 for completion and approval in Q1 2018.

System includes:

  • Bettercoal Standards
  • Governance
  • Disclosure & Communications
  • Supplier Assurance
  • Members Assurance (MIRO)
  • Theory of Change

Progress and developments in the Review and Implementation influence and are closely linked with other Key Drivers.

Enhance Bettercoal Growth and Sustainability

The Board of Directors and the Secretariat to develop a five-year vision for Bettercoal, including:

  • Governance
  • A sustainable financial model
  • Wider coal sector engagement (steel, cement, etc.)
  • Membership structure
  • Member recruitment (long-term strategy to move beyond Europe)

Operationalise Secretariat activities.

Engage Members and Stakeholders through proactive Communications

To develop Bettercoal's communications strategy.

To continue Bettercoal Workshops for Suppliers in priority countries.

To publish Bettercoal Annual Report 2016.

To drive recognition and credibility of Bettercoal.

To publish MIRO Conformity Review Report 2017.

To organise meetings with Members and the Technical & Advisory Committee (Board of Directors, Members Working Group).

To communicate the development and implementation of Bettercoal's System Elements.

Working Groups

The Board of Directors approves Working Groups, Task Forces and Committees made up of Bettercoal Members and/or civil society stakeholders and coal suppliers to lead specific activities. These committees are led by the Secretariat and have defined Terms of Reference and work plans.

In 2017, the Bettercoal Secretariat works with the Members Working Group (MWG), Communications & Engagement Working Group (CEWG) and MIRO Task Force consisting of Regular and/or Associate Members. Bettercoal has a multi-stakeholder Technical & Advisory Committee (TAC) that reports directly to the Board of Directors.


Members Working Group (MWG)

This Working Group is open to Regular Members, and leads the implementation of Bettercoal Member commitments and any other matter related to Regular Members.

Communications & Engagement Working Group (CEWG)

This Working Group is open to Regular and Associate Members, and is responsible for drawing the Bettercoal communications strategy.

MIRO Task Force

This Task Force is open to Regular Members, and leads the development of the Members Implementation and Reporting Obligations (MIRO).


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.

Join Bettercoal

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.