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Defining Reads: Driving Organizational Sustainability Through ESG

By September 3, 2020May 31st, 2022No Comments


A recent article published by the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association in its monthly magazine focuses on an important corporate framework that Major Drilling is employing—Environmental, Social & Governance. Its theme of providing a way forward, with a roadmap to establish an effective ESG framework, is information meaningful to any organization striving to increase relevance and to demonstrate a value system that supports long-term sustainability. The article is written by Major Drilling’s VP Legal Affairs and General Counsel, Andrew McLaughlin.

Major Drilling strives to enact policies that support its Environmental, Social & Governance Framework that are as relevant in the field as they are in the boardroom.

McLaughlin writes that a company’s ESG performance is an increasingly central consideration for investors, mutual funds and brokerage firms. These groups are often concerned with a company’s long-term sustainability and profitability as it serves as steward of the environment, as valued contributor in the communities where it does work, and as a responsible corporate citizen.

The importance of a company stating a distinct outline about ESG is clear. “We are intimately involved in development of corporate policies and standards, as well as in compliance, governance, human rights, anti-corruption, diversity and inclusion, and enterprise risk management (including risk mitigation) matters—all of which are at the heart of the framework,” the article states.

Roadmap for an Effective ESG Framework

McLaughlin identifies a roadmap for an effective ESG framework which is to:

• Establish and adopt an ESG policy
• Launch an ESG committee
• Develop an ESG repository
• Develop an external-facing communications plan
• Draft public disclosures
• Provide ongoing board oversight

With this roadmap, companies in the mining industry and beyond can determine areas of focus in an ESG policy. Benefits become clear when key priorities are aligned with company and stakeholder values. For example, Major Drilling champions the values of quality, safety, and results. ESG policies fit neatly alongside and strengthen each of these three corporate core value focus areas.

What is ESG?

ESG criteria are a set of factors for a company’s operations intended to measure its sustainability performance in each of the three key areas:

1. Environmental (e.g., water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions)

2. Social (e.g., business relationships with employees, suppliers, customers and communities)

3. Governance (e.g., corporate leadership, internal controls and shareholder rights)

Major Drilling crews at a project site in the Philippines revitalize the environment through tree planting initiatives.

Potential Risks and a Constructive Way Forward

In undertaking the development of an ESG framework, McLaughlin explains how one potential risk relates to reputation. Another potential risk is the company not living up to its policy statements. A third consideration is the risk of posting initiatives on social media before actually producing much in the way of results.

At Major Drilling, deliberate steps are being taken to ensure earnest attention is given to the ESG Framework and associated policies. A policy statement from Board Chair, David B. Tennant, also signed by President and CEO, Denis Larocque, signals the importance of ESG for every stakeholder, employee, and contractor associated with the business. In the field, branch managers are quantifying and performing the qualitative efforts needed to implement the vision set out in the ESG Policy. These efforts include areas of ESG commitment such as climate change, water use, social responsibility, workforce diversity, and systemic risk management plans.

“We are working to do more than simply have corporate values, we also want to live them,” Denis Larocque, Major Drilling President and CEO, said. “With ESG policies that support diversity and reducing water consumption, for example, we know we are taking the right steps as a responsible corporate citizen.”

McLaughlin’s advice in the article is originally directed to his fellow in-house general counsel peers, yet his guidance is relevant for a wide variety of audiences working to intentionally and sincerely enhance ESG efforts. He notes this work is “contributing to the long-term viability and sustainability of our companies.”

See the full article, “An ESG Roadmap for In-House Counsel” on the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association website, which we recommend to you as one of our Major Drilling Defining Reads.

Andrew McLaughlin, VP Legal Affairs and General Counsel,
Major Drilling Group International

About Andrew McLaughlin, VP Legal Affairs and General Counsel

McLaughlin is part of Major Drilling’s Executive Management Team. He joined Major Drilling in 2015 after nine years with Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs. He served as a diplomat in the Canadian Embassies in Mexico and Cuba, and as a lawyer in the International Law Branch. Prior to joining the foreign service, Mr. McLaughlin worked as a lawyer in private practice. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Mount Allison University, a Bachelor of Laws from the University of New Brunswick and a Masters in International Business Law from the University of London (UCL/QMUL).

In 2020, Major Drilling Group International Inc. reflects on four decades of expansion and drilling specialization during its 40th anniversary. Follow Major Drilling on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to receive the latest company news and updates.

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