Bettercoal and the
Sustainable Development Goals

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Mapping the Bettercoal Code to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

The World Summit on Sustainable Development (Earth Summit) held in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2002 was a turning point in recognising the importance of responsible management of the minerals sector to advancing sustainable development objectives. The Summit’s ‘Plan of Implementation’ outlined the importance of both small-scale and large-scale mining to sustainable development, which led to development of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Metals, Minerals and Sustainable Development, and promoted action on all levels, including corporate action.

Bettercoal recognises the significant impact the mining sector can have on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Combined with Bettercoal’s purpose to promote the continuous improvement of sustainability performance in the coal supply chain, we undertook a full review of the Bettercoal Code and included a thorough and independent analysis benchmarking the newly revised Code against the SDGs.

For this, we partnered with an expert third party, the Sustainable Development Strategies Group (SDSG), who analysed the Bettercoal Code 2.0 provisions to identify areas of alignment and gaps, in relation to the SDGs. The gaps shone light on where Bettercoal could contribute more positively to the SDGs, with the final benchmark output and final report identifying 70 improvement opportunities where Bettercoal could do more.

As part of the Bettercoal Code review process, we reviewed these opportunities and integrated changes where relevant, to bring more alignment to the SDGs, both in language and in driving more implementation around responsible practices in the coal mine supply chain.

This benchmarking process and final report have reaffirmed that the Bettercoal Code and our Assessment Process is on the right track, taking steps to proactively align ourselves more with the SDGs, and seek out opportunities to contribute more positively to the people and environment affected directly or indirectly by the coal industry . But beyond updates to the Bettercoal Code and Assessment process itself, we also  identified opportunities to deepen and extend our work through our Country Working Groups.

Bettercoal will be publishing a more detailed summary of the Bettercoal SDG Report findings together with the launch of the Bettercoal Code 2.0 in 2021.