CSR, MINING, AND SUSTAINABILITY IN THE CIRCUMPOLAR NORTH: THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
As part of the broader Arctic Urban Sustainability project which is examining sustainable development in the Circumpolar North, this thesis was intended to explore the role of corporate social responsibility in mining as a contributing factor to sustainable development. This was done through the examination of two northern case studies: Cameco Corporation’s uranium mining operations located in the Northern Administration District of the central Canadian province of Saskatchewan, and Northern Iron’s iron mining operation located near the town of Kirkenes along the northeastern border of Norrbotten in Norway. The methodology utilized in this case study was Leslie Pal’s public policy framework which asserts that public policy statements consist of four components: the definition of the policy problem, formulation of policy goals, and the use of specific policy instruments, followed by policy evaluation. This methodology was used to frame the corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies of Cameco and Northern Iron. Data was gathered from a variety of sources including interviews, policy documents, and academic research. Within the literature CSR is primarily understood as a voluntary action undertaken by companies for a variety of reasons ranging widely from effective corporate leadership within the company to greenwashing of the company’s image. The results of this research suggest that the role of the state in the initiation and implementation of CSR is of much greater importance than is predominantly recognized within the literature. This thesis argues that legal requirements instituted by government have the potential to lead to the initiation and implementation of CSR practices by mining companies. In the case of Cameco the Mine Surface Lease Agreements agreed to by the company and the provincial government provided motivation for the company to develop and implement their world-renowned CSR practises, which in turn led to a number of benefits for the company and surrounding communities. In the case of Northern Iron’s operations in Kirkenes, working hour requirements instituted by the Norwegian Government contributed to significantly higher levels of local employment in the region. These findings are important because they demonstrate that government may have a greater role to play in encouraging companies to initiate and implement CSR policies which contribute to improved socioeconomic outcomes for northern communities.
corporate social responsibility, CSR, mining, north, sustainable development, role of government
Master of Arts (M.A.)