Country Working Groups

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In 2018 Bettercoal set up country working groups to facilitate a more coordinated approach to the monitoring of continuous improvement plans for Suppliers as well as build knowledge and measure impact. The first two groups to be set up are Colombia & Russia.

Colombia Working Group

Bettercoal has been working with Colombia coal companies since the inception of the organization and we are very proud to now be working with 3 of the 4 large coal exporters in the country. One of the aims of this group is to foster better relationships with all stakeholders involved in this complex environment, from business to government, to international NGOs and local communities. The Colombia Working Group is formed of Bettercoal Members Enel, ESB, RWE, Vattenfall, chaired by Uniper.

A report on the progress made by the CWG in 2019 can be found here in English and Spanish.

The 2020 Working Plan for the group can be accessed in English and Spanish.

The Covid-19 crisis situation has forced us to adjust the planning and implementation of the Work Plan 2020, particularly with the organization of the delegation visit to Colombia. Originally planned for March 2020, the CWG intended to engage in individual meetings with Governmental organisations, mining companies, dialogue institutions, international organisations, communities and unions. During these meetings we expected to discuss in depth the prioritised issues defined, identifying opportunities for developing specific actions where Bettercoal can add value and have impact on the ground, also addressing other contextual topics relevant to the Colombian mining context. Being unable to travel to Colombia, we have engaged virtually with as many of the local stakeholders as possible to keep up our engagement and remain up to speed with current local developments until a new date for the visit can be arranged. In line with this commitment and as part of the implementation of the Work Plan 2020, we are pleased to announce that members of the CWG have agreed to support the Regional Center for Responsible Businesses and Entrepreneurship (Centro Regional de Empresas y Emprendimientos Responsables or CREER) multi-stakeholder dialogue project Building Trust in Cesar, one of the most important coal mining regions in Colombia. This support is part of Bettercoal’s commitment and activities to promote continuous improvement in the mining and sourcing of coal for the benefit of all people impacted by the industry, workers and coal mining communities.

Russia Working Group

Russia is the third largest exporter of coal in the world. Since 2016, Bettercoal’s presence in Russia has grown significantly with some of the country’s largest coal suppliers going through the Bettercoal Assessment Process. The Russian Working group is formed of Bettercoal Members Enel, ESB, Fortum, RWE, Vattenfall and Uniper.

2019 Progress

Since the end of 2018, the Russia Working Group (RWG) has made significant progress. The primary targets have been to engage new stakeholders and raise the profile of the Bettercoal organization as a whole. This has been achieved through a regular and in-depth follow up on the Continuous Improvement Plans (CIPs) with the Bettercoal Russian Suppliers; an in-country workshop in Russia; and the mapping of environmental and social (ESG) risks related to the Russian coal supply chain.

Report: “Bettercoal in Kuzbass: ESG risks in the Russian coal mining sector

Bettercoal engaged external advisory expertise from TDI Sustainability to look at the ESG risks across the Russian coal supply chain and produce the report on “Bettercoal in Kuzbass: ESG risks in the Russian coal mining sector”. Russia has long been an important coal-supplying country to Bettercoal as it represents a 39% of European coal imports. In recent years, this importance has only increased. In 2018 Bettercoal set up the Russia Working Group (RWG) to develop a coordinated approach to the monitoring of the suppliers’ improvement plans, enhance in-country context expertise, address risks arising from the country context, grow supplier participation and improve communications with key stakeholders.

Bettercoal places a fundamental importance on a risk-based approach as well as transparency and stakeholder engagement. We decided to get external advisory expertise on the risks faced by the Russian coal mining sector in order to further increase our contextual understanding of the Russian context beyond the results of the Bettercoal Assessment Reports.

TDI Sustainability produced a detailed independent report identifying the ESG risks. This Executive Summary presents some of the risks and challenges which could be resolved or improved upon through increased collaboration, dialogue and technical expertise. You can access the document in English and Russian.

2020 Engagement

The goals set for the group in its Work Plan 2020 are based on the learning of its first year of work. Although the Covid-19 pandemic context will inevitably affect some of them, the RWG is committed to continuing as much as possible its work and engagement virtually.

One of the activities planned for 2020 was the organisation of round tables with Bettercoal Russian Suppliers on relevant topics. The first one was organised on the 8th of June, hosted by Bettercoal Member RWE, to share experiences and best practice on Health and Safety (H&S) operations in the Russian context. The session covered:

  • COVID-19 and how Russian Bettercoal Suppliers are dealing with the crisis
  • Why H&S matters including the business case and best practice examples of managing risk, beyond compliance
  • A share from Bettercoal Member RWE on their ‘Mission Zero’ HSE Project
  • An update on the Russia Working Group plans for 2020


The session was well attended by a large number of engaged and committed Bettercoal Suppliers and coal producers operating in Russia, as well as Bettercoal Members who are sourcing from them. Bettercoal will be running further virtual Roundtable sessions on topics relevant to the Russian coal mining sector in the near future.