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Approach to Business and Sustainability

The success of our business depends on our ability to create value in a way that meets the needs of the company, our shareholders, communities and stakeholders while accounting for the broader environmental, social and economic context in which Teck operates. This requires us to understand the evolving global environment and to take an integrated approach to identifying, prioritizing and managing sustainability risks and opportunities.

Approach to Business and Sustainability

Our corporate strategy is focused on exploring for, developing, acquiring and operating world-class, long-life assets in stable jurisdictions that operate through multiple commodity price cycles. We maximize productivity and efficiency at our existing operations, aim to maintain a strong balance sheet, and are nimble in recognizing and acting on opportunities. In everything we do, Teck is led by our values of safety, sustainability, integrity, respect, excellence and courage.

The success of our business depends on our ability to create value in a way that meets the needs of the company, our shareholders, communities and stakeholders while accounting for the broader environmental, social and economic context in which Teck operates. This requires us to understand the evolving global environment and to take an integrated approach to identifying, prioritizing and managing sustainability risks and opportunities.

As represented in Figure 1 below, each of our operations affects and is affected by communities, economies and environments. Each operation has three major phases: exploration and project development, operation (which includes mining and processing, sales and transportation), and closure and reclamation. Sustainability is foundational throughout the phases of the mining life cycle:

Figure 1: Sustainability during the Mining Life Cycle

Board and Executive Leadership in Sustainability

Our Board of Directors is responsible for the stewardship of our company and ensures that appropriate corporate governance structures and systems are in place. Our key governance practices are described in detail in our Management Proxy Circular.

The Safety and Sustainability Committee of the Board assists the Board in overseeing health, safety and sustainability policies, systems, performance and auditing, including our Health, Safety, Environment and Community (HSEC) Management Standards. The Safety and Sustainability Committee met four times in 2017. As with each Board committee, our governance procedures require that we evaluate the effectiveness of the performance of the Safety and Sustainability Committee on an annual basis. A self-assessment was completed and recommendations were implemented, such as increased direct engagement with operations and providing further detail about the status of community relations practices at our sites.

Enhancing Board Knowledge of Sustainability

The Board works to enhance its understanding of economic, environmental and social topics at regular meetings, strategy sessions and site visits. For example, we hosted external speakers on the current global economic climate for our Board and held special presentations for the Safety and Sustainability Committee, including presentations on the following topics in 2017: Teck’s sustainability strategy, Indigenous agreements, mine closure, legacy properties, permitting, tailings management, water quality, climate change, climate action strategies and carbon pricing, safety, occupational health and hygiene, political environments and updates on regulatory developments in the areas where we operate.

Board Diversity, Qualifications and Expertise

The Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee believes that a Board with directors from diverse backgrounds with different experiences benefits the company by enabling the Board to consider issues from a variety of perspectives. When assessing potential candidates for nomination to the Board, corporate governance, corporate responsibility and sustainable development experience are part of the selection criteria for Board members. The Board also considers gender, ethnicity and national origin in addition to business skills, qualifications and career history when assessing potential candidates. Please view our Management Proxy Circular, pages 27–29, for further details on the qualifications, experience and diversity practices of Teck’s Board.

Executive Sustainability Management Committees

As summarized in Figure 2, the following management committees are responsible for overseeing the management of sustainability issues:

  • The Health, Safety, Environment and Community Risk Management Committee (HSEC RMC), chaired by the CEO, is responsible for providing oversight and direction to ensure continual improvement in sustainability performance as well as the implementation of appropriate processes and policies across the company. Key topics reviewed by this committee include: health and safety, environmental management and regulations, air quality, energy and climate change, community engagement and social management, HSEC assurance, sustainability strategy and disclosure, Indigenous affairs and agreements, human rights, and water stewardship.

  • The Health and Safety Advisory Committee evaluates and informs health and safety policy change and initiative planning and provides additional oversight of performance. It is chaired by the Vice President, Health and Safety.

  • The Materials Stewardship Committee is responsible for understanding our products’ risks and impacts, making recommendations on new product applications, managing packaging requirements, monitoring product regulations and issues, monitoring our customers’ use of our products, supply chain risk management, and establishing policies and procedures related to materials stewardship. This committee is chaired by the Vice President, Risk and Security.

  • The Indigenous Affairs Steering Committee approves policy and mandates for the negotiation of agreements with Indigenous Peoples, and provides oversight and direction for the negotiation and implementation of agreements with Indigenous groups. This is a senior management committee that is chaired by the Senior Vice President, Sustainability and External Affairs.

  • The Community Investment Committee oversees our community investment program to ensure that contributions are made in a manner that benefits our communities of interest, and that contributions are aligned with our business objectives. The committee sets community investment policies and reviews major funding requests. It is chaired by the Senior Vice President, Sustainability and External Affairs.

  • The Diversity Committee oversees our diversity-related initiatives. This is a senior management committee that is chaired by the Vice President, Human Resources.

Figure 2: Sustainability Management Structure

Our Senior Vice President of Sustainability and External Affairs reports directly to our CEO and is the main senior executive responsible for sustainability, health and safety, environment, community, and Indigenous affairs, among other areas. Her direct reports include the:

  • Vice President, Community and Government Relations: leads the corporate sustainability strategy along with the VP Environment and activities related to social responsibility, community engagement, government relations and Indigenous affairs

  • Vice President, Environment: leads the corporate sustainability strategy along with the VP Community and Government Relations and oversees compliance with environmental standards for projects, operations and our legacy properties, and regularly reviews environmental performance risks and strategic issues, including tailings, biodiversity, water, air, and energy and climate change

  • Vice President, Health and Safety: provides strategic guidance in the development of a culture of safety, and assists with the development and monitoring of health and safety strategies

  • Vice President, Corporate Affairs: is responsible for managing the company’s public affairs, sustainability reporting, brand management and employee communications

Our senior management team is responsible for overseeing our sustainability strategy, including goal development and progress against our goals. We also have a dedicated corporate team of nearly 80 Teck employees whose primary job responsibilities are focused on providing senior oversight on our collective efforts on environmental, social and community issues.

General Managers are accountable for implementing HSEC Management Standards at their operation, for conformance with and certification under the International Organization for Standardization ISO 14001 standard where applicable, and for continual progress towards annual HSEC targets, including our sustainability goals. Each General Manager reports to either a Vice President or the Senior Vice President of his or her respective business unit.

Sustainability Strategy and Commitments

Sustainability is embedded in our operational practices. Although there were many examples of environmental stewardship, health and safety initiatives, and community engagement throughout our history, in 2009 we established a cross-functional group to develop a coordinated approach to sustainability, culminating in the launch of our sustainability strategy in 2011.

Our sustainability strategy sets short-term goals to 2020 and long-term goals to 2030 in six focus areas representing the most significant sustainability issues and opportunities facing our company: Community, Water, Our People, Biodiversity, Energy and Climate Change, and Air. A focus area is a topic that has a material impact on our business and communities of interest, represents an area of significant opportunity and/or risk, and requires company-wide focus and engagement.

Our strategy is integrated into decision-making by embedding it into management standards, into remuneration and into corporate, site and employee annual plans and objectives. Corporate, site and employee objective-setting and evaluation processes are updated to reflect the broader performance objectives set out in our strategy to align priorities at all levels of the company.

Throughout the year, our senior management team and the Safety and Sustainability Committee of the Board review performance against our sustainability strategy and approve future actions. As we move forward, we are focused on achieving our sustainability goals while managing emerging risks and embracing opportunities that increase our competitiveness and contribution to sustainable development.

Internal Commitments

The sustainability strategy is supported by our company-wide commitments as outlined in the following policy documents:

External Commitments

We take into consideration external standards and best practices in our governance of sustainability. Through our membership and involvement with several external organizations, we are able to contribute to and engage with others on the development of best practice in areas of sustainability performance and global sustainability trends. Three of our key memberships that help to drive our performance and management of sustainability are outlined below. A full list of Teck’s memberships and partnerships related to sustainability is available on our website.

International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM): ICMM is a global industry association that represents leading international mining and metals companies. As an ICMM member, we are required to implement the ICMM 10 Principles and position statements on sustainability practices, to produce an externally verified sustainability report using Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards and to implement the ICMM Assurance Procedure, which is a third-party verification process to verify that Teck meets the member requirements.

Mining Association of Canada (MAC) – Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM): MAC promotes the growth and development of Canada’s mining and mineral processing industry for the benefit of all Canadians. Through MAC, we are required to implement the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) program, which aids in improving industry performance through the alignment of actions with the priorities and values of Canadians. As a MAC member, we conduct self-assessments at our operations and are subject to third-party verification of our self-assessments in accordance with TSM standards for social and environmental responsibility.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO): The ISO 14001 environmental management standards exist to help organizations manage environmental impacts. Currently, 10 of our 12 operations are certified under ISO 14001.

Key activities in 2017 related to our memberships and partnerships included:

  • Engaging with ICMM on a variety of topics, including their new water and tailings management position statements, health and safety, GHG emissions reductions, and providing feedback on new sustainability standards to the Global Reporting Initiative and the CDP.

  • Engaging with MAC with a focus on chairing the Tailings Working Group, contributing to revisions of the TSM Tailings Protocol, working with the MAC Aboriginal Affairs Committee on the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), participating in the development of the TSM Preventing Child and Forced Labour Protocol and Water Protocol, engaging with the Canadian government on carbon pricing policies, and contributing to the Science and Environment Committee’s input to Canadian legislative reviews, including reviews of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Fisheries Act.

  • Advancing our Zinc & Health program, we were proud to join our partners in the Zinc Alliance for Child Health (ZACH) — the Government of Canada and Nutrition International — to announce a $4 million commitment to extend ZACH through 2020.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Teck is working to support progress on the SDGs. We recognize that the mining industry has an opportunity to positively contribute to all 17 of the SDGs. Teck focuses on four goals in particular:

  • Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

  • Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

  • Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

  • Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

An overview of the work Teck is doing to help address each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is available here. Throughout this report, we describe how our activities are related to the SDGs in the SDG Spotlight found in several material topic sections.

Implementation of Sustainability Governance

Our approach to implementing sustainability across our business starts with embedding it in our business planning and our objective-setting processes, which are conducted on an annual basis. For example, risks and opportunities related to health and safety, environmental management, and relationships with Indigenous Peoples and local communities are reflected in the long-term plans for each business unit and operation.

Our compensation program for employees is linked to health and safety and sustainability performance through individual, department and company-wide objectives. Hundreds of employees across our operations are engaged in implementing specific projects and practices related to our goals, and sustainability performance is integrated into their compensation program. All employees are engaged in our sustainability strategy through internal communications and day-to-day activities, to help us achieve our goals.

Incentive compensation of the CEO and senior officers is performance-based and includes several sustainability performance indicators. For all executives, the bonus weighting for sustainability ranges from 15% to 20% of their overall bonus. In addition, the personal component of executive bonus ratings often includes specific objectives related to sustainability matters.

Integrated Risk Management

Our management objective for sustainability is to work within the social, economic and environmental contexts in a way that ensures positive outcomes for our business and our stakeholders in the short and long term. Our process for integrating risk management throughout the business starts with identifying, evaluating and addressing economic, social and environmental risks and opportunities on a regular basis. The risks and impacts associated with our business are multi-faceted and require effective collaboration among departments, business units and external stakeholders. See Table 1 for descriptions of our major risks in the phases of the mining life cycle.

Table 1: Mining Life Cycle Risks

Phases of Mining Life Cycle

Major Risks

Exploration, Project Development and Mining

Land and water access, uneconomic mineral deposits, permits and regulations, support from communities and Indigenous Peoples, labour relations, cost fluctuations, health and safety incidents, natural disasters, environmental incidents, and climate change

Sales and Transportation

Trade regulations, customer environmental management, supply and demand fluctuations, product substitution, and transportation infrastructure and services

Closure and Reclamation

Environmental legacies and liabilities, and support from communities and Indigenous Peoples

We mitigate these risks in several ways, including:

  • Health and safety risk assessments and associated plans are completed throughout the business

  • Economic Feasibility Studies and Social and Environmental Impact Assessments to determine if developing an orebody is feasible

  • Social, Environmental and Regulatory Approval committees, established for new projects, made up of internal experts to ensure the social and environmental risks associated with our current and future activities are identified, assessed and properly managed

  • Environmental and social baselines to analyze and quantify the relevant parameters for an area containing the footprint of a future mine before any project activities have taken place

  • Environmental management (water, air, biodiversity, waste, energy and climate change) during and after operations to ensure we meet regulatory requirements and commitments to communities

  • Customer assessments to ensure our products are processed responsibly

  • Closure planning to create post-mining economic vitality in communities

  • Reclamation activities to facilitate new, productive uses of areas disturbed by mining

  • Stakeholder consultation and engagement to provide communities with information about our activities and to understand local concerns and priorities

While certain sustainability issues remain constant from year to year, we regularly evaluate changes in the regulatory, economic, societal and environmental landscape to inform the continual improvement of our management approach. Information on emerging risks can be found in the material topics pages, and further information on current risks can be found in our Annual Information Form.

Health, Safety, Environment and Community Management Standards

Teck’s Health, Safety, Environment and Community (HSEC) Management Standards outline a high-level framework for the identification and effective management of HSEC issues and risks to support continual improvement in related programs and performance. They also provide context for overarching corporate policies and guidelines, and site-level policies and procedures. The HSEC Management Standards apply to current and closed properties, and to activities including waste management, engineering/maintenance, selection of suppliers and contractors, development of new products and services, product distribution, new projects, exploration, and due diligence of mergers and acquisitions.

Figure 3: Health, Safety, Environment and Community Management Structure

Incident Management

An incident is an unintended event that, in the vast majority of cases, is immediately managed and has no significant implications. We actively monitor and manage all incidents related to our activities, including those related to health and safety, communities and the environment.

All our operations have preventive control measures in place to minimize the likelihood of incidents and to mitigate potential effects on employees, communities or the environment in case an incident does occur. We apply a hierarchy of controls to strengthen our ability to prevent and mitigate risk. Control measures include facility design considerations, spill containment measures, monitoring systems and alarms, standard operating procedures, training, regular inspections, and the identification of potential issues through internal risk assessments and audits.

Significant incidents are investigated to identify key contributing factors, and we implement corrective actions to help prevent incidents from reoccurring. We also share learnings across Teck, and in selected instances across the mining industry, from any significant incidents.

Emergency Preparedness

We identify a comprehensive range of potential emergencies and ensure we are prepared to respond to, and recover from, these situations as quickly and effectively as possible. Potential risks are mitigated through robust risk management measures. A range of emergency scenarios are tested each year via emergency drills to evaluate the adequacy and effectiveness of our emergency preparedness — including human and physical resources. Emergency preparedness and planning is conducted at a corporate and site level as well as within the communities near our operations, as outlined in Table 2.

Table 2: Emergency Preparedness at Corporate, Sites and Communities

Corporate Risk Group – Crisis Management Team

  • Develops and designs Teck’s overall approach to risk management, including the risk management practices related to the development and oversight of sites’ emergency preparedness plans, which includes annual review and design and development of crisis simulations and training at sites

  • Provides risk identification and analysis support for individual sites

  • Coordinates additional training, capacity building and simulations as necessary

Individual Sites

  • Develop emergency preparedness plans tailored to site-specific risks

  • Work closely with the Corporate Risk Group to ensure alignment with Teck’s overall risk approach

  • Conduct training and simulations to ensure readiness and capabilities of workers and managers

  • Coordinate with local stakeholders as described below

Local Communities

  • Develop their own emergency preparedness and response plans

  • May collaborate and conduct joint simulations with adjacent Teck sites

  • May exchange information and best practices with adjacent and non-adjacent Teck sites

Our framework within Teck’s Global Risk Management Program guides the process of:

  • Identifying hazards

  • Assessing the risks associated with those hazards

  • Applying relevant controls to minimize the potential risks

  • Regularly checking effectiveness of controls

  • Ensuring appropriate plans and resources are put in place to respond to emergencies that may occur

Standards for emergency preparedness are updated on a regular basis as required. With the support and guidance of our Risk Group, each operation develops site-specific emergency preparedness and response plans based upon those requirements. As such, emergency response plans and preparations are appropriate for site-specific conditions and are based on a range of credible — although extremely unlikely — incident scenarios.


Cybersecurity is a risk that Teck mitigates through stringent management and governance of digital technology. Effective management and governance of cyberrisk in a world of increasing cyberthreats is fundamental to the long-term sustainability of our company.

The Vice President, Teck Digital Systems and Chief Information Officer is accountable for the effectiveness of information technology at Teck and the cybersecurity of our systems. The Director, Information Security is responsible for developing and enacting the strategy as well as for the operation of the cybersecurity program at Teck.

The nature of the cyberthreats facing Teck and the industry have evolved, particularly over the past three years, and are now primarily motivated by profit. As Teck moves to utilizing more digital technologies, our tactics for managing risks will evolve alongside the changing environment. Fundamentally, Teck believes that cybersecurity is an industry-wide concern and has partnered with other companies in the mining and metals sector to form the global Mining and Metals Information Sharing and Analysis Center to share threat information and best practices as an industry.

Regulation, Permitting and Approvals

Our licence to operate depends on our ability to meet legal compliance requirements and demonstrate value to both shareholders and communities. We continually monitor and manage the social and environmental aspects of our activities in order to meet or exceed regulations and to ensure regulatory compliance. This helps us obtain and maintain approvals to operate and grow our business.

We engage directly and indirectly (through industry groups) with governments and regulators to support permitting processes that are practical and effective in protecting the local environment and communities. Once permits are granted, our environmental assurance program verifies that we continue to meet all relevant requirements.

We track our permit and other requirements, and the management of those requirements, such as discharge monitoring, in our compliance and task management systems.

Evaluation of Sustainability

On an ongoing basis, our management team provides guidance on changing context and expectations, and we periodically update our policies, management standards and management systems. On an annual basis, individual and company objectives for sustainability are evaluated, and we update our business plans to reflect any changes in the past year. Our sustainability strategy is updated approximately every five years and is reflected in new short-term goals and in revisions as required to our long-term goals.

Internal and External Audits

Our environmental assurance program is designed to verify that requirements are met, as defined by the applicable permits, legislation and regulations in each jurisdiction. We conduct compliance audits on a three-year rotational basis for all operations, and plans are developed to address the findings based on risk priority criteria.

Corrective actions for findings from corporate-led audits are developed and completed in accordance with established timelines based on risk. Our HSEC Management Standards set the expectation that all corrective action plans will be completed within two years, or less, from the date of the audit. After two years, corrective action effectiveness is confirmed by a follow-up audit focused on action plan completion. We monitor and report to our HSEC Risk Management Committee on the progress of our assurance program on a quarterly basis. We also conduct external verification for the purpose of regulatory or external commitments. Table 3 provides an overview of the types of audits and evaluations that are conducted across our operations. We conduct third-party audits to assess regulatory compliance on a regular basis.

Table 3: Internal and External Audits of HSEC Management


What is audited?

For whom?

Evaluation criteria


Risk-based Health, Safety and Environment audits at each site

Adherence to regulatory and permit requirements, effectiveness of controls based on risk profile, corporate health and safety requirements

HSEC Risk Management Committee


Legal obligations, internal standards

Follow-up effectiveness check

Validate effectiveness of closure of findings two years after initial audit

Action plans from past audit findings

Risk reviews

Control of significant risks

Internal standards

ISO 14001 internal audits

Components of the environmental management system at each site

Site Management

ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Standard


Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) audit

External verification of site data reported to TSM

Mining Association of Canada

TSM Protocols

Sustainability Report assurance

External assurance of report, data and practices

International Council on Mining and Metals

ICMM Assurance Procedure

GHG Regulation Assurance

Validation of GHG data reported and quantification of methodologies

Alberta and B.C. Governments

Quantification methodologies defined by regulation

ISO 14001 external audits

Components of the environmental management system at each site

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Standard

Engaging with Stakeholders and Indigenous Peoples

Engagement with our stakeholders — from local communities and Indigenous Peoples to investors and customers — helps to enhance our mutual understanding of interests, concerns and aspirations, and helps to strengthen relationships throughout the mining life cycle.

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Teck is a diversified resource company committed to responsible mining and mineral development with business units focused on copper, zinc, steelmaking coal and energy.