Covia’s Commitment To Fostering Community Relationships
At Covia, we greatly value the relationships we’ve built with our communities. Meaningful interactions with neighbors, community members, customers, and partners have helped shape our organization, and will continue to inspire and guide WHERE WE’RE GOING.
Therefore, we remain focused on enhancing engagement with our communities. Our efforts and progress align with UN SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, and 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.
TARGET: Develop a robust Community Action Plan (CAP) at 100% of our locations to facilitate effective communication, identify areas for improvement, and best respond to community needs.
2022 Progress: During the year, we introduced our cross-functional CAP Steering Team, which established a formalized policy and process to ensure that all Covia facilities develop and submit an annual plan to engage with their local communities in meaningful ways. This policy requires each site to create a CAP Local Team with annual responsibilities, including determining who the key stakeholders are, and identifying and managing site-specific opportunities related to:
- Environmental initiatives;
- Volunteer efforts;
- Monetary support and in-kind donations;
- Education and awareness activities; and
- Governance procedures.
Once each site has developed its annual plan, it is submitted to the CAP Steering Team, the Director of ESG, and the site’s respective Vice President of Operations for review and approval. Additionally, sites are required to submit an annual year-end summary detailing the progress they made towards their CAP, any modifications made to the plan, and the rationale for each.
In 2022, this process was rolled out to all mining and processing sites in the four countries in which we operate, representing approximately 75% of all Covia sites. In 2023, we have continued to roll out this process to corporate offices and laboratories, and we look forward to sharing our progress in future reports.
Even though our CAP policy and process was formalized in 2022, Covia has a rich history of actively engaging with the communities in which we live and operate. We believe that by working together, we can create shared value among our stakeholders, and we are proud to contribute to the well-being of our neighbors. Below are two examples of the various ways in which we stayed connected to our communities during the last year, exemplifying our commitment to Act Responsibly.
Covia’s site in Gore, Virginia, demonstrated its active role in the community by addressing several specific needs and providing support wherever possible. The facility provided fill material to the county for a new government-owned site, granted an easement to the Shenandoah Valley Electric Company to improve internet capabilities for the community, and aided in building and maintaining a new road to enable easier access for an elderly community member. Furthermore, through an ongoing partnership with the Virginia State Police, Gore provides a secure location for explosives training, benefiting both bomb squad students and technicians while reducing potential hazards for nearby communities.
“We have been utilizing Covia’s Gore site for over 10 years for safe bomb squad explosive disposals, along with various bomb technician and student training requirements. Thanks to our partnership, we can recreate a real post-blast scene, enhancing our students’ investigative skills to include scene recognition, blast seat recognition, and evidence collection along with laboratory analysis and requirements. I can’t say enough about Covia's management and Team Members. They have been nothing but exceptional in assisting us in our mission and training requirements as a bomb squad, and we are grateful for their partnership.” – Kevin Newland, Virginia State Police Bomb Squad
Team Members at our Nepheline Syenite Operation (NSO) in Havelock, Ontario, also remained active participants in the community, showcasing their dedication and commitment to education. Each summer, the facility hosts two open houses, inviting local residents, First Nations groups, and local and provincial government groups. The focus of these events is to present the site’s current and future activities, and to address any questions, suggestions, or concerns from the community. Additionally, NSO supports education and awareness by engaging with several schools in the community, ranging from elementary to college and university institutions. These groups visit the site for an educational presentation and tour where they can learn about what we do, our process, and why it is important. NSO also participates in and sponsors the local Celebrate Havelock show each year, providing a networking and educational opportunity for local businesses and community members.
While the needs and interests of each of these communities vary, both sites are committed to providing community members a way to get in touch and continuously engage with Covia Team Members and site leaders. In addition to these efforts, we provide our neighbors at these sites with access to either a 24/7 hotline or the Plant Manager’s cell phone number so they can always reach out with additional questions or concerns.
For more information on our community engagement efforts, please see the Community Impact and Philanthropy section of our 2022 ESG Report.