Jinfeng Mining Company and Sustainable Community-Building

CDB's 2015 report on "Effective Communication and Cooperation between Chinese NGOs and Businesses"

中文 English

This article is part of CDB’s Special Focus on ‘Effective Communication and Cooperation between NGOs and Business’. It originally formed the 7th case study in CDB’s latest research report which we released in July 2015 (you can view the original here).  Over the next few weeks we will be publishing translations of the ten case studies contained in that report. The case studies detail partnerships between Chinese NGOs, foundations, and businesses.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) reflects the current trend of enterprises returning to their core business and seeking competitive advantages by solving social problems in addition to expanding business opportunities. There are still many social problems as well as room for development in China. This creates opportunities for non-profit organizations and businesses to collaborate and expand development prospects.

Each business has varying and diverse requirements. Non-profit organizations are partners for businesses undertaking community investments, the so-called “business and non-profit collaboration”. Community investments are very important for businesses, especially special enterprises such as mining and energy.

Chinese non-profit organizations need to understand the motives for collaboration. For example, does a business that only meets the lowest CSR standards do so to avoid legal disputes that might lead to a public relations crisis? Do they want to improve their public image or government relations? Do they want to focus on cause marketing, achieve business growth or improve workers’ level of satisfaction, loyalty, and company cohesion? Non-profit organizations must consider these questions when starting a new project. For a business, a healthy community is a competitive advantage. In many cases, business and non-profit collaboration is not just a matter of donating capital but a creative marketing or public relations strategy. This circumstance creates opportunities for non-profit and business collaboration. Of course, how to balance matters that do not overlap between business and the public good is also a topic for discussion.

If Chinese non-profit organizations fail to ascertain these varying demands, they will encounter frustrations. Whether state-owned enterprises or international corporations, these businesses all speak of “giving back to society” and fulfilling their CSR duties. However, internally, many businesses regard it as public and government relations management, an easy means of achieving more economical results, and do not necessarily pay continuous and indepth attention to social developments. Despite the fact that businesses do not focus on social responsibility but on government and public relations,  this still presents non-profit organizations with opportunities. Industry insiders noticed that non-profit organizations and businesses have excellent levels of communication and recognition, which allows for a good partnership. For example, the Youth League Committee and Women’s Federation, serving as the support branch, found specialized non-profit organizations to serve as the executive branch and brought in the enterprise’s internal volunteer association. This cooperative solution fulfills the business’ internal requirements while establishing a cross-departmental cooperative relationship with non-profit organizations. As a non-profit organization collaborates with a business, they can thoroughly consider the business’ needs when designing a project while leaving their own goals and principles unaffected.

Businesses highly value the concept of return on investments. Non-profit and business collaboration should also remind businesses of their role in society and allow them to reflect on that role. The case study below looks at a natural resources enterprise’s investment towards its community. Not only does the company’s development projects influence its natural environment, but they also create a series of positive and negative societal effects. If these negative effects cannot be solved in the long-run, they will compromise the company’s  productivity and harmonious community development. Jinfeng Mining Company collaborated with Guizhou Normal University’s Community-based Conservation and Development Research Center. For its community development projects, the company implemented baseline investigations, group interviews, key person interviews, and household surveys. From this basis, they drew up Jinfeng Mining Company’s community development plan. The center analyzed the social effects of the company’s new development projects and made suggestions based on legal and environmental considerations. It benefits from the expertise of the center to draft agreements, coordinate the interests of various government bureaus, found a community organization to balance interests at village level with the village committee and the party branch,  establish the four party communications platform  ( businesses, communities, village committees, and poverty alleviation offices), and fix a conference date. The center also spent a great effort producing a community workbook meeting the needs of the mining company’s various departments, winning both parties’ support, and promoting their collaborative relationship.

Case study: Jinfeng Mining Company’s Grassroots Cooperation to Create a Sustainable Community

Guizhou’s Jinfeng Mining Company is a Sino-foreign joint venture. Its flagship Jinfeng Gold Mine is located within Guizhou Province’s Qianxinanzhou. The gold mine’s neighboring villages are some of the poorest communities in Guizhou. While the community is mired in poverty, the company’s establishment also impacts the community farmers’ production and life style, changing the traditional way that locals were entirely dependent upon agricultural income and reorienting the local economy and community from a traditional agricultural system into a synthesis of agricultural and modern industrial system. While this change led to economic developments, it also brought along a certain amount of social risk. Not only must Jinfeng’s community development resolve the poverty issue but also coordinate the company’s community relationship.

In 2002, Jinfeng Gold Mine investigated its neighboring community’s poverty issue, discovering its frail infrastructure, deficient communication and electricity, insufficient water resources, poor roads and transportation, backward education, low health and sanitary conditions, and burdensome survival pressures. Following earlier community development projects, Jinfeng Company realized that scientific and practical community development policies require theoretical guidance and professional personnel to promote the cause. Hence, choosing an external partner became a priority. Through the US Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) company’s  investigation and screening, Guizhou Normal University’s Community-based Conservation and Development Research Center (the Center) became the company’s technical support organization responsible for developing and planning projects, setting up community organizations, supervising and assessing projects, as well as establishing government partnership. At the Center’s recommendations, Guizhou’s Poverty Alleviation Office and Zhenfeng county Poverty Alleviation Office energetically supported and participated in Jinfeng Company’s community development work.

The Center, established in 2000, is an open research institute, focusing on sustainable development and environmental protection with the community as the basic unit. From May to August, 2008, Jinfeng Company worked with the Center and Guizhou’s Poverty Alleviation Office’s community development experts, through participating in a paticipatory village-level environmental and poverty alleviation plan, to initiate research on the mining area’s neighboring community. On this basis, they drew up Jinfeng Company’s neighboring community development plan. The village residents raised existing problems for investigation, all of which are issues requiring urgent resolution. A detailed list of community development projects also received villagers’ approval. Moreover, the proposal also passed the county’s technical and capital exam and gained support. This plan involved Jinfeng Company’s neighboring Jinshan Village, Niluo Village, and Lanni Village for short-term, three-years, and long-term development plans under the Center’s direction.

Since the community’s poverty alleviation and community development plans are a long-term process and an enterprise or organization cannot replace the government throughout this process. Moreover, since community development involves many factors, a single community project funded with Jinfeng Company’s capital cannot solve all of the community’s development problems. Thus, increasing cooperation with the government, integrating various resources, utilizing the government’s channels of labor, and sharing labor methods all enhance working efficiency and quality. It also enhances the community’s development results. At the same time, private, public, grassroots, and community organizations can contribute various skills and resources. Their cooperation can lead to greater benefits than independent actions. Formal partnerships can lower costs, avoid creating redundant projects, and decrease the community’s reliance on the mining industry. A partnership can also spread to a wider domain, attaining the local community’s long-term approval.

On November 13, 2008, the Eldorado Company, Jinfeng Company’s foreign investor, and Guizhou’s Zhenfeng county government signed a “Memorandum Regarding Community Development Project Collaboration”. This is the first time that a Chinese mining company has signed a social responsibility agreement with its local government. According to the agreement Jinfeng Company and relevant offices – mainly Zhenfeng county’s poverty alleviation office – will work together for the next ten years, from 2008 to 2017, dividing the capital into three time periods to be invested in the neighboring community. To carry out this paticipatory community development plan, the county’s poverty alleviation office will take main responsibility for implementing the community development plan in the agreement.

At the same time, the Eldorado Company also signed a “Memorandum Regarding Collaboration to Develop ‘Guizhou’s Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development Management Training Project’” with Guizhou’s Environmental Protection Agency. This project is a five-year collaboration between Eldorado Gold, Guizhou’s Environmental Protection Agency and Sydney University’s Asia-Pacific Research Institute, in which government officials undergo annual training in both Australia and China through researching and analyzing case studies, investigating on the ground, attending seminars and exchanging information with the Australian government, all giving students the opportunity to receive hands-on experience and understand major international practices.

Establishing a community development department is a symbolic step for Jinfeng Company’s community relations. Before this, there were no Chinese businesses with a public welfare department nor did any business allocate its professional staff to carry out community development work. Nor were there businesses partnering with governmental poverty alleviation departments to directly implement community poverty alleviation projects.

The community development department, based on the participatory development plan, refers to each village’s development project list to establish the Jinfeng Company’s yearly community development plan. Under the community development department’s impetus, the development project was effectively implemented and gradually gained the villagers’ approval, affirming  the villagers as the main agents in directly implementing and managing these projects and establishing implementation and supervision groups. This not only shows its participatory nature but also increases the villagers’ responsibility and work efficiency and lowers management costs.

The project implementation includes strengthening the management of county and district coordination, providing technical support services, establishing a management body, and formulating management plans.

In light of the community’s features, and to promote the community’s economically and culturally sustainable development while constructing a “harmonious mine”, the Company undertook various types of  work and achieved very positive results. The local community’s social and economic appearance is currently undergoing noticeably positive changes. At present, the community’s infrastructure construction has already been launched according to plan in three villages. Lannigou Village’s residential road is essentially complete. The village appears to look entirely new. Investments in water and electricity infrastructures created greater convenience for local manufacturers. The construction of a model methane-generating pit relieved labor pressures and improved the village’s sanitary conditions. Educational facilities and living quarters conditions have improved, resolving teachers’ personal concerns.Thus, they are better able to focus on their jobs. Jinfeng Company’s role in promoting community development work created positive efforts and considerable contributions as well as spurring the villagers’ consciousness for self-development.

The Company’s HR policies also reflects active consideration of its community involvement. The policies prioritized employing local workers and made great efforts to encourage local participation in establishing projects. The Company also heavily stress providing workers with vocational training. After participating in this training, those who meet the company’s employment qualifications are given positions in various company departments. At the same time, in regards to different departmental and job  requirements, the Company will provide these employees with specialized skills training to raise their individual quality and work abilities. For villagers not chosen as employees, the Company will do its utmost to provide them with small-scale work, which will bring them income and also help them learn professional skills.

To promote local economic development, the Company shared some of its internal community development projects with local investors to promote county-level economic development. Villagers’ concept of life also underwent significant changes. Their conception of business operation gradually adjusted to market-oriented processes and their appreciation of the values of strong education have been internalized.

企业的需求与动机——锦丰矿业携手民间力量建立可持续社区

       以上简要分析了不同类型的企业的在公益慈善领域的思考和行为特点。CSR正在体现回归企业核心业务和竞争优势的趋势, 探索解决社会问题之道, 并为企业开拓商业机会。中国还存在着许多社会问题和发展空间尚待解决和关注,这也为公益组织和企业的合作带来了大量的机遇和广阔的发展前景 。

       企业的需求也是分层次和多样化的。CSR专家何智权曾用一张表分析企业与公益组织合作动机(详见下表),把企业的资源和社区的实际需要做配对和运用,从而对企业和社区两方都产生正面的价值和影响,公益组织正是企业进行社区投资的伙伴,亦是所谓的“企业公益合作”。社区投资是企业很重要的工作,尤其是特定的企业,比如采矿、能源等行业。

       公益组织需要了解合作动机,如企业做CSR最低标准动机是出于免除法律纠纷,进行危机公关吗?需要在合作中提高企业在公众中的形象,还是侧重搞好政府关系,公益营销或者够获得新的业务增长点?抑或提升员工的满意度、忠诚度,提高公司凝聚力?这些需要公益组织在设计项目的时候能够考虑进去。对于企业来说,健康的社区是企业经营的竞争优势之一。在许多案例中,企业与公益组织的合作并非都是单纯的捐赠,而是更富创意的市场策略或公关策略,这些情况为公益组织与企业的合作创造了机会 ,当然,在商业和公益之间如何平衡又不越界,也是一个需要讨论的问题。

       看不清这些不同层次的需求,公益组织会有挫败感。无论是中国的企业,还是在华跨国公司对外都讲要回馈社会、履行CSR,但很多企业对内将CSR视为公关和政府关系,视其为挣钱的多快好省的一个渠道,未必要深入、可持续地来关注社会发展。尽管意不在社会责任而在政府公关,但这里依然有公益组织的机会。业内人士已经观察到,公益组织与企业良好的沟通和认同,可以创造不错的组合拳法。比如团委、妇联作为支持机构去站台,同时找专业公益组织作为执行机构,再引入企业的志愿者协会,变成了一个组合拳的解决方式,这样满足了企业内部多方的需求,也建立了与公益组织的合作关系,形成跨部门合作。作为公益组织一方,如果将合作伙伴设定为企业,不妨在设计项目阶段充分考虑企业的需求,又不影响自己的工作目标和原则。

       企业非常重视投资回报概念。公益组织和企业合作,还应把企业带回社会中,让他们考虑企业在社会中角色 。案例7是一个资源型企业社区投资的案例。因为资源型企业发展项目的开展不但对自然环境造成影响,而且还会产生一系列的正面和负面社会影响,如果这些负面影响长期得不到解决,会影响企业的正常生产和社区和谐发展。锦丰矿业与贵州师范大学自然保护与社区发展中心合作,对企业在社区做的发展项目,在矿区周边社区实施了基线调查、群体访谈、关键人物访谈、入户问卷调查,并在此基础上制定了锦丰公司周边社区发展规划。中心对企业在开展发展项目中引进社会影响分析,并且从法律、国家环保部门等层面提出了建议。所有这些得益于中心的专业性,从协议的起草到政府多部门利益的协调,依靠村委和党支部,成立了协调村级利益的社区组织,建立企业、社区、村委会、扶贫办的四方沟通平台,并定期开会。中心还花很大精力针对矿各个部门需求做了一份社区工作手册,赢得双方支持并促使其建立合作信任关系。

       案例     锦丰矿业携手民间力量建立可持续社区

       贵州锦丰矿业有限公司是一家中外合资企业,旗下的锦丰金矿位于贵州省黔西南州境内,金矿周边的村寨是贵州省最为贫困的社区之一,社区不仅面临本身的贫困现状,还面对公司进驻后对当地农民的生产生活方式造成的影响。虽然锦丰公司的建设改变了当地社区完全依靠传统农业收入的生产与生活方式,使当地经济与社会从传统型农业形态开始快速进入农业与现代工商业混合形态。这一改变在推动经济发展的同时,也带来了一定的社会风险,锦丰矿区的社区发展不仅是单纯地解决经济贫困问题,还要协调好公司与社区的关系。

       2002年锦丰金矿对周边社区的贫困问题进行调查,发现社区贫困的现状表现在:基础设施薄弱、通讯电力不足,水资源缺乏、道路交通差、教育落后、医疗卫生条件差和生存压力大等问题。 通过前期的社区发展活动锦丰公司认识到,科学的、符合实际的社区发展策略需要理论的指导和专业人员来推动,选择外部合作伙伴便成为首选。通过美国企业社会责任公司(BSR)的前期调查和筛选,贵州师范大学自然保护与社区发展中心(以下简称“中心”)成了公司的技术支持机构,负责社区发展的项目规划、社区组织的建立、项目的监测与评估,以及政府伙伴关系的建立。在该中心的推荐下,贵州省扶贫办和贞丰县扶贫办积极的支持和参与了锦丰公司的社区发展工作。

       中心成立于2000年,是一个开放式研究机构,主要开展以社区为基础的可持续发展与环境保护工作。2008年5月至8月,锦丰公司联合中心和贵州省扶贫办社区发展专家,通过参与式村级环境与扶贫规划,在矿区周边社区进行调研并在此基础上制定了锦丰公司周边社区发展规划。调查得出的社区存在的问题是村民提出的,都是亟待解决的问题,列出的社区发展项目清单也得到了村民的认可,并且经过县级的技术与资金论证,也获得了他们的支持。在中心的指导下,该规划涉及锦丰公司周边金山村、尼罗村及烂泥村三个村的短期发展规划、三年发展规划和长期发展规划等内容。

       由于社区扶贫及社区发展是一个长期的过程,而任何一个企业或组织都不可能取代政府在这个过程中的作用,加之社区发展涉及到很多方面,单一的社区项目和锦丰公司的资金远远不能够解决社区发展的全部问题。因此,加强与政府的合作,整合各方面的资源,利用政府的工作渠道,互相借鉴工作方式,有利于提高工作效率与质量,也有利于加大社区发展的效果。同时,私营的、政府的、民间的和社区的组织能带来不同的技术和资源,合作能比单干取得更多收益;正式的伙伴关系能降低成本、避免同一区域出现类似的项目,减少社区对采矿业的依赖程度;合作关系还可以扩大到更广泛的领域,争取当地社区的长期认可。

       2008年11月13日,公司的外资方埃尔拉多公司与贵州省贞丰县人民政府签署了《关于社区发展项目合作的谅解备忘录》,这是中国第一个矿山企业与当地政府签订的企业社会责任合作协议,锦丰公司与以贞丰县扶贫办为主的相关单位计划共同合作,在未来十年内, 即2008~2017年,分三期在锦丰公司附近社区投入用于发展项目的必要资金,执行参与式社区发展项目,县扶贫办将牵头负责协议中的社区发展项目的具体实施。

       同时,埃尔拉多公司还与贵州省环境保护局签署了《关于开展“贵州环境保护及可持续发展管理培训项目”合作的谅解备忘录》。该项目由埃尔拉多黄金、贵州省环保局和悉尼大学亚太研究学院合作开发,为期5年,每年在澳大利亚和中国两地为贵州政府官员提供培训。通过案例研究分析、实地考察、研讨会以及与澳大利亚政府机构的互动交流,帮助学员有机会获取实用经验并了解国际性的主要实践。

       成立社区发展部是锦丰公司关注与社区和谐发展的标志性一步。此前,在中国还没有任何一家企业成立公益性的部门,配备专业员工开展社区发展工作,也没有任何一个企业建立与政府扶贫部门的合作伙伴关系,直接进行社区的扶贫开发项目的实施。

       社区发展部在参与式社区发展规划的基础上,参照各村的发展项目清单制定出锦丰公司周边社区年度发展规划。在社区发展部的推动下,发展项目得到了有效的实施并逐步获得了村民的认可,确认村民是直接实施和管理项目的主体,建立村级实施和监督小组机制,不仅充分体现了参与性,增强了村民的责任感,提高了工作效率,还降低了管理成本。

       在项目实施过程中,强化县乡协调管理功能、落实技术配套服务方案、成立实施管理机构和制定管理办法也有明确的规定。

       针对矿区的特点,在社区关系方面,为推动社区经济文化的可持续发展、构建和谐矿山,公司通过各种形式做了大量的工作,并取得了很好的效果,当地社区的社会经济面貌正在发生明显而积极的变化。目前,社区的基础设施建设已经在三个村按规划展开,烂泥沟村入户道路基本建成,村寨面貌焕然一新;水电设施的投入也为当地生产生活带了便利;沼气池的示范建设,缓解了劳动力紧张,改善了村寨环境卫生状况;学校教学设备的购置和住宿条件的改善,为老师解决了后顾之忧,使他们更加专心于教育事业。锦丰公司在推动社区发展工作中做出了积极的努力和很大的贡献,也带动了村民的自我发展意识。

       公司在用人制度上也积极考虑社区的参与,优先聘用当地员工,努力为当地群众参与项目建设创造条件。公司也非常注重对员工进行职业技能培训。参加培训后,符合公司录用条件的人员被安排到公司不同的岗位工作。同时针对不同部门和不同的岗位要求,公司为他们提供了相应的岗位技能培训,提升他们的个人素质和工作能力。对于更多不能成为锦丰公司员工的社区村民,公司尽可能将小工程承包给他们,为群众带来收益,也使他们学到一技之长。

       公司为了推动地方经济,把企业内部一些能够带动社区发展的项目主动提供给地方投资者,推动县域经济发展。村民的生活观念也发生了极大的变化。经营理念也逐渐顺应了市场机制。重视教育的观念已深入人心。

       (资料来源:贵州师范大学自然保护与社区发展中心)

Translated by Herman

Edited by Yuanhui Li

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