The new guide from the CCLI is targeted at junior mining companies listed on the TSX Venture Exchange. Courtesy of nodomain.cc, Creative Commons
A new guide by the Canada Climate Law Initiative (CCLI) advises executives of publicly traded junior mining companies to report to their investors the steps they are taking to reduce climate change-related risks, and warned that not doing so may result in reduced access to capital and legal action.
Junior miners, which represent almost 60 per cent of companies listed on the TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV), tend to have small or insignificant carbon footprints, the report said. But there is a growing demand from investors and regulators for all companies to disclose their emissions and plans to decarbonize.
“As demand for critical metals and minerals increases, pressure is on the mining sector to discover new deposits, develop existing projects quickly, engage with First Nations and local communities so they understand the projects, and work with governments to streamline the permitting process for more timely approvals to meet this growing demand,” said author Mona Forster, who has worked in the mining and mineral exploration sector for over 30 years, in a press release.
“Amongst all these priorities, junior resource executives often overlook or aren’t sure how to respond to new reporting requirements about how their company is undertaking climate-related risk management practices.”
Changes to securities law and accounting standards will require more thorough climate risk reporting. The Canadian Securities Administrators, the umbrella organization for provincial and territorial securities regulators, called climate change a “mainstream business issue” and requires all public companies to disclose their material climate risks and how they’re managing them. In addition, the proposed National Instrument 51-107, expected to come into force this year, will require more transparency around, and measurability of, companies’ net-zero targets.
Related: An update to the Mining Association of Canada’s standard changes how companies should tackle risks and opportunities from climate change
The International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation’s new International Sustainability Standards Board has also released two accounting standards for disclosing material climate-related matters that will come into force as of Jan. 1, 2024.
The report also pointed to the federal government’s green transition finance taxonomy, released in March. The taxonomy lays out requirements for companies that want financing for projects that advance Canada’s net-zero goals. To qualify, companies will have to set net-zero targets and transition plans, as well as provide effective climate risk disclosure. “The taxonomy should open up new financing for venture issuers that can demonstrate effective climate governance,” the report said.
The CCLI’s guide offers resources to assist companies traded on the TSXV to meet its regulatory and marketing requirements and meet its fiduciary duties to its investors and other stakeholders.
It said juniors must disclose any physical, transition and technological risks to their business, such as extreme weather events, shifting policy and legal landscapes, reputation risks and employing new technologies.
“In meeting their duty to act in best interests of the company, directors and officers must be diligent in identifying and managing climate-related risks and opportunities that could affect the short-, medium-, and long-term viability of their companies,” said Janis Sarra, professor of law at University of British Columbia and principal co-investigator at CCLI, in the press release.
The report noted that some disclosure guidance and protocols, such as the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the federal Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, can be too onerous for TSXV-listed companies. But it recommended using the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s GHG calculator for exploration stage companies and its framework for responsible exploration. The TSXV also has a primer for environmental and social disclosures that companies can refer to.
It said juniors should be part of the conversation on securities laws and accounting standards given their business model is different than major companies.