What's up... Tove Hägglund, project manager for Svemin's biodiversity project Mining with Nature
Halfway through the project time, how are you doing?
– I’m all right, thank you! We have incredible commitment and strong progress according to plan. There has also been a lot of curiosity from other industry organizations on this project, several are interested in doing something similar for their respective industries.
The project will make work with increased biodiversity profitable for the mining companies. How will that happen?
– Firstly, proactive work on biodiversity will save time in the permit processes by increasing the industry’s own competence. Second, banks and financial institutions have started to take an interest in biodiversity and are increasingly demanding sustainability. If the mining industry can therefore demonstrate a proactively sustainable operation from the biological diversity aspect, it will become easier to obtain capital. And thirdly, an increased traceability of the origin of metals will enable customers to eventually make a conscious choice, which opens up a diversified price picture. It will benefit the Swedish producers.
When it comes to such a new project on biodiversity and mining, what are the biggest challenges?
– I think we have the biggest challenges ahead of us, how to take it further and to anchor the concept and implement new ways of working. Another challenge is to find measurable targets for biodiversity. You can compare it with how, in working with climate, it has been agreed to calculate carbon dioxide equivalents. There is no equivalent yet for biodiversity.
This spring has been a bit different, what happens to the United Nations super year for nature and biodiversity?
– Corona has indeed become a major setback for the entire society, but the United Nations super-environment year has actually become a digital investment instead. It is impressive to see that, after all, it has been possible. The Convention on Biological Diversity, which would have been held in China in October, has been postponed. But all preparatory work is in progress, which is very positive. The pandemic has also made us aware of how we treat nature and natural resources and our land. Right now, many connections are being made to the fact that this pandemic has arisen because the pressure on biodiversity is too great, the animals’ living spaces are too small and that they are therefore seeking refuge in our societies. This increases the risk of viruses of this type jumping from one species to another as has been the case with the corona virus.
What conclusions do you draw from that?
– That it is extremely difficult to predict the risks of depleting nature. But all the more important to work with the construction of nature.
About Mining with Nature
The project Mining with Nature has been initiated by Svemin. The project is carried out within the framework of the Strategic Innovation Program, Swedish Mining Innovation, a joint venture by Vinnova, Formas and the Swedish Energy Agency. The project is led by Ecogain.
Several strategic partners in the mining industry are involved in the project, including Boliden, LKAB, Cementa and Nordkalk. The project will result in a roadmap that is scheduled to be presented by the end of 2020.
Mining with Nature is part of Svemin’s strategic sustainability initiative, the Mineral Contribution – the industry’s contribution to the long-term sustainable society.