Barrick Gold Employee Environmental Awareness Campaign

THE SITUATION:

As a responsible mining company, Barrick Gold (ABX-TSX) understands the value of environmental leadership. As a result, the company is eager to develop and implement an internal communications plan that focuses on its environmental plans, targets, and obligations.

THE ASK:

Barrick Gold partnered with PR Associates to plan and execute an employee communications program that focuses on its environmental leadership and the various environmental projects it is developing throughout its enterprise. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness, drive employee engagement and for employees to understand their role in helping Barrick Gold deliver on its commitment to long-term environmental sustainability for its operations.

THE PLAN:

Barrick Gold needs to communicate to its network of employees about the environmental initiatives and obligations it has throughout the company. A survey informed the Barrick Gold team that a study of 16,823 people across 15 countries produced critical insights. The results showed that more than 80% of respondents indicated they would prefer to work for a company that has a good reputation for managing its environmental responsibilities. As a result, the internal campaign needs to become an “environmental brand” that describes Barrick’s sustainability efforts and clean energy initiatives. The plan must also highlight its goals and long-term commitment to policies that are both environmentally safe and fiscally responsible.

THE OUTCOME:

Barrick Gold launches its Environmental Management System as the name of its employee environmental awareness program.  In addition, “We Care” was chosen as the theme for the campaign. After the program was first introduced, it quickly evolved to becoming the company’s internal environmental brand. As a result, employees were reassured that the initiative was a long-term environmental brand that would ensure employees perceived the initiative as a long-term program. Achieving this goal was made possible by creating branded elements that identified the campaign and would build recall and familiarity with the employees.

Barrick Gold’s Environmental Management System was set up as part of an employee environmental awareness campaign.

Left: In this poster, the Pascua-Lama project is featured and the extensive water management infrastructure that was built into the mine design to mitigate the effects of surface and sub-surface water migration across the operation.

Below: Barrick Gold is committed to reducing its emissions and its overall carbon footprint by using renewable win energy to power its operations.

THE FULL STORY

THE SITUATION

Barrick Gold needs to communicate to its network of employees about the environmental initiatives and obligations it has throughout the company. The reasons for the initiative start with Barrick employees may not have enough information about the company’s ongoing environmental projects and sustainability efforts. The plan is to communicate the company’s environmental leadership and to demonstrate the company is serious about its responsibility to sustainable development in all of its operations.

The rewards, for advocating and leading in environmental responsibility, are to:

a)    Mitigate and eliminate impacts to the environment

b)   Increase cost efficiencies

c)    Improve employee understanding of company environmental initiatives, policies and obligations.

THE SOLUTION

PR Associates was assigned to develop a campaign and an “environmental brand” that would communicate how Barrick Gold is:

  1. Committed to responsible mining and limiting its carbon footprint wherever possible.
  2. Responsible for its mining operations that equate to doing the “right thing” and always striving to operate at the highest standards everywhere the company does business, which includes social, environmental and safety goals.
  3. On the right path and will continue to make sure its employees are safe on the job and the environment is protected for future generations.

PR Associates recognized the need to overcome possible internal obstacles, including:

Information Overload: Barrick Gold is a large and geographically diverse company with numerous programs and initiatives. As a result, employees often feel overloaded with information and may not pay attention to new materials. Consequently, the employee environmental awareness campaign must seek new ways to attract and hold the attention of busy employees.

Diverse Operating Environment: Given Barrick’s global presence, there were challenges for creating messaging and visual materials that would communicate the same theme/message for different cultures and languages. Further to this, the company’s projects span across different physical environments where it may not be immediately apparent how and where the company’s environmental standards apply.

Cost Cutting Initiatives: There was a risk that employees may question the need for an environmental awareness campaign during periods where cost-saving measures were being implemented. Accordingly, the campaign will be positioned as being consistent with the CEOs strategy that demonstrates how environmental sustainability is critical to safe operations and a healthy eco-system. In addition, management will communicate the long-term risks and will identify the various cost-savings associated with reductions in energy and clean energy alternatives as well as reductions in water consumption.

With this information in hand, PR Associates began the process by assessing the objectives and environmental benefits, potential obstacles and desired outcomes for the projects and policies. After PR Associates had completed the research phase, the team developed a comprehensive plan to help introduce and launch the Barrick Gold employee awareness campaign. The goal of the campaign was not to be short-lived internal promotion. Instead, the campaign marked the beginning of an environmental brand and an ongoing learning process that would seek to embed environmental protection and sustainability values into the company culture.

The plan involved:

  1. Understanding the importance of need for change
  2. The significance of employee roles in creating and/or contributing to ongoing sustainability efforts
  3. Understanding the benefits of having achieved these goals
Tactics:

The tactical elements included posters, intranet blogs, newsletters, stickers, and fact sheets that were placed in lunchrooms, site lobbies and other company areas. In addition, there were t-shirts given out to employee “champions” who were most active in realizing the environmental goals.

THE RESULTS

After the plan was launched, the response was positive throughout the operations. There were more questions were being asked by employees and there were several inquires from employees who wants to do more to contribute to the sustainability efforts. In addition, there was a sense of pride that developed over time where the employees knew that they were helping the mining community become more responsible in all of its operations.

The employees began to understand that when Barrick Gold is on the right path and doing the “right thing”, the company strengthens its license to operate as well as building upon its social license in the community.

Barrick Gold understands that building global awareness about its operations is an integral part of its leadership model. The company fosters employees who are aware of the concerns that communities and governments around the world are raising about the environmental impacts of mining activities, and as such, is committed to alleviating these concerns by continually improving its sustainability initiatives.

On its website Barrick Gold states the following:

“At Barrick, our goal is to minimize our environmental footprint and safeguard the environment, now and for future generations. Responsible environmental management is central to our success as a leading gold mining company and we seek to continually improve our performance.”

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