Newly-listed graphite producer Evolution Energy Minerals (ASX: EV1) has joined the growing list of resource industry companies adopting a voluntary ESG framework, as large institutional investors, financiers and downstream clients continue to push for environmental and social accountability.
The move will see Evolution establish an independent ESG committee which will be responsible for implementation of the framework, oversight of ESG performance and providing advice to the board on key ESG considerations.
The company notes that the framework will cover its entire portfolio of operations, and in particular its Chilalo Graphite Project in Tanzania. It will also hold directors to account, with a material breach in ESG standards potentially triggering a re-election vote.
As part of the initiative, ESG disclosure platform Digbee ESGTM has been engaged to provide third-party assessment, and an independent consultant will provide guidance on carbon neutral mining.
“We are committed to having the ESG Framework embedded across all aspects of our operations in the coming six months and consider the independent and transparent assessment of our ESG performance to be a key element of the ESG Framework”
Addressing the news, EV1 Executive Chairman Trevor Benson said: “As we focus our efforts on progressing Chilalo to a final investment decision in H2 2022, it is imperative that we are integrating an ESG Framework into our way of thinking and how we do business. We are committed to having the ESG Framework embedded across all aspects of our operations in the coming six months and consider the independent and transparent assessment of our ESG performance to be a key element of the ESG Framework, as we strive to become a net zero carbon mine producing sustainable graphite for the green economy.”
Key ESG credentials are brought to the table by Evolution’s cornerstone investor ARCH Sustainable Resources Fund, whose Head of ESG, Melanie Mann, brings over 18 years of experience in advising financial institutions on navigating key ESG issues.
ARCH SRF Managing Director Amanda van Dyke noted: “ARCH believes that a mining company’s ability to produce sustainable metals, while having demonstrable ESG credentials, together gives it the best chance of success. The link between strong ESG practices and creating value has never been stronger. We looked at the entire graphite universe and came to the conclusion that Evolution has the ability to be a truly sustainable company that will positively contribute to the global transition to net zero. We are very excited about participating in Evolution’s development journey and it transitioning to a premier producer of sustainable graphite.”
With graphite forming a key component in the battery metals revolution, Evolution has highlighted the importance of meeting key ESG criteria in order to secure access to ‘green capital’, with significant pools of funding unable to be accessed until companies demonstrate solid ESG credentials.
Regulatory changes are also placing scrutiny on buyers, with a focus on raw material sourcing increasing in importance. Specifically, the EU Taxonomy Regulation will require Evolution to meet it’s customer’s ESG goals and expectations.
The company believes that this provides a significant opportunity to position itself as a supplier of choice in key European markets.