Country Working Groups
In 2018 Bettercoal set up the Russia and Colombia 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.
Colombia Working Group
Bettercoal has been working with Colombian coal companies since the foundation of the organisation, including 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 currently formed of Bettercoal Members EnBW, Enel, ESB, Fortum, RWE, Vattenfall, and chaired by Uniper.
In its first year of work, the CWG successfully engaged with all three Bettercoal Colombian Suppliers on CIP progress and other topics relevant to the Colombian coal supply chain. The CWG also engaged with other local relevant stakeholders to gather information and discuss contextual issues, promoting an open channel for dialogue and feedback and exploring potential avenues of collaboration. This input helped the Group identify complex and systemic challenges related to mining in Colombia that require more long-term and pointed action and in which Bettercoal could promote a positive impact. A full report on the progress made by the CWG in 2019 can be found here in English and Spanish.
In 2020, the Covid-19 crisis forced us to adjust the planning and implementation of the original Work Plan, particularly with regards to in person engagements with stakeholders. Despite being unable to travel to Colombia, we engaged virtually with as many of them as possible, to keep up our engagement and remain well informed of current local developments. The input received throughout all these meetings has helped the CWG refine its original 2020 Work Plan and identify specific actions where Bettercoal can add value. The updated version of the Work Plan 2020 can be found here.
Throughout the year we engaged with Bettercoal’s Colombian Suppliers – Cerrejón, Drummond Ltd and Prodeco, to follow up on their Continuous Improvement Plans as well as discuss other relevant contextual topics e.g. increasing threats against social leaders, challenging negotiations with trade unions and, of course, the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Suppliers´ operations. The CWG has also held online conversations with other relevant stakeholders including PAX, the National Federation of Christian Trade Unions in the Netherlands (CNV), the Human Rights and Business Resource Centre, the Development and Peace Programmes (PDP in Spanish), Regional Centre of Responsible Business and Entrepreneurship (CREER in Spanish), National Union of Ill, Disabled, Mining Workers (SINTRADEM in Spanish), Sintracerrejón and IndustriAll.
In line with this commitment and as part of the implementation of the Work Plan 2020, members of the CWG agreed to support the Regional Centre for Responsible Businesses and Entrepreneurship (Centro Regional de Empresas y Emprendimientos Responsables or CREER) multi-stakeholder dialogue project Building Trust in Cesar. 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.
Despite the challenges faced during 2020, we were able to make progress against our work plan and information can be accessed here.
For 2021, the CWG continues its commitment to follow up on the progress made by Bettercoal Colombian Suppliers on their CIP, focus on actions on the prioritised issues and engage with Colombian stakeholders: a. Fostering increased dialogue in the peace building process, b. Access to clean water, and c. Mine closure.
Given the travel restrictions still in place related to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the CWG will organise a virtual engagement with Colombian stakeholders throughout April and May 2021. The group is planning to engage in individual calls not only with Bettercoal Colombian Suppliers but also with Governmental organisations, dialogue institutions, international organisations and labour organisations. During these meetings, the group will cover specific agenda topics tailored to each stakeholder around the prioritised issues defined, identifying opportunities for developing specific actions where Bettercoal could add value and have an impact on the ground. We also expect to be addressing other contextual topics relevant to the Colombian mining context.
More details can be found in the CWG Work Plan 2021 here.
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 (RWG) is formed of Bettercoal Members Enel, ESB, Fortum, RWE, Vattenfall and Uniper.
The RWG made significant progress since it was formed in 2018, following its Work Plan 2019. The primary targets were to engage new stakeholders and raise the profile of the Bettercoal organisation as a whole in order to continue our core objective of continuous improvement in mining in a key coal producing country. 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 production of a report with the mapping of environmental and social (ESG) risks related to the Russian coal supply chain.
The goals set for the group in its Work Plan 2020 were based on the learning of its first year of work. Although the Covid-19 pandemic inevitably affected some of them, the RWG committed to continuing its work and engagement virtually.
One of the main activities planned for 2020 was the organisation of roundtables with Bettercoal Russian Suppliers on relevant topics. The first was organised in June, hosted by Bettercoal Member RWE, to share experiences and best practice on Health and Safety (H&S) operations in the Russian context. The key issues covered during this session were the COVID-19 pandemic and how Bettercoal Suppliers in Russia were dealing with the crisis; sharing best practice on Health and Safety and how to manage risk, beyond compliance; and RWE’s sharing an update on their ‘Mission Zero’ HSE Project.
The next webinar took place in November, hosted by Bettercoal Lead Assessor Paul Mitchell on Environmental Monitoring and Methane Utilisation and Abatement.
Both sessions were well attended by a large number of engaged and committed Bettercoal Suppliers and coal producers operating in Russia and Kazakhstan, as well as Bettercoal Members who are sourcing from them.
You can access a comprehensive summary report with the progress made by the RWG in 2020 here.
In 2021, the RWG is committed to building on the work from previous years, consolidating the engagement with different stakeholders and promoting positive impacts on the coal supply chain through tailored webinars on relevant issues and follow-up on Bettercoal Russian Suppliers CIPs.
More detailed information can be found in the RWG Work Plan 2021.