Major Drilling's progress on the ESG path

For Major Drilling the path toward a sustainable future is extremely important and even during the COVID-19 global pandemic it has been making ESG (environmental, social and governance practices) plans and practices a top priority.

 Major Drilling made its first move toward being sustainability with the introduction on an ESG policy in 2020

Major Drilling made its first move toward being sustainability with the introduction on an ESG policy in 2020

However, for the North American centred drilling contractor the first step began on June 4, 2020, when it established an official ESG policy. Since then, the company has continued to follow a roadmap to sustainability.

While ESG may be a relatively new term, it involves many of the sustainable business practices Major Drilling has been operating with each day for years. Coined by investors who started looking beyond financials to evaluate what drives long-term success, the rise of ESG reflects a growing awareness that these factors are becoming increasingly important to a company's overall profitability, performance and success.

Andrew McLaughlin, Major Drilling's VP of Legal Affairs and General Counsel, guides the company's ESG journey and initiated a roadmap for an effective ESG framework. "Embarking on this journey in the midst of a global pandemic means we've had to quickly shift to the fast lane with employee wellbeing and safety taking center stage," he said. "ESG is becoming ever more central to our core operation."

So far, Major Drilling's ESG framework includes:

  • Establishing and adopting an ESG policy
  • Launching an ESG committee (meeting quarterly since summer 2020)
  • Developing an ESG repository (ongoing)
  • Developing an external-facing communications plan
  • Drafting public disclosures (quarterly and annually)
  • Ongoing board oversight (Directors reviewing policies such as auditing, whistleblowing, general corporate stewardship, etc.)
  • Submitting annual GHG reports and performing climate risk management through the CDP, a non-profit organisation that helps manage organizations' environmental impacts

Major Drilling is fortunate to draw on the governance strengths of members of its Board of Directors who have a wealth of ESG experience and insight. Director Janice Rennie shared her perspective about a proactive and ethical workplace regarding the Global Whistleblower Programme in an ESG Story Q&A. Likewise, Director Sybil Veenman weighed in on the importance of connecting ESG policy with corporate stewardship.

Veenman feels that Major Drilling's strong culture and standards, and its commitment to embedding ESG practices across its operations, will underpin continued growth and value creation. She said: "At Major Drilling, ESG is not a marketing exercise. It is about articulating, formalising and expanding upon the values that already define the company's approach to its business and have been fundamental to its success."

As the company continues its ESG journey, progress is underway at headquarters in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. A dedicated ESG reporting analyst aids and improves ESG practices, analyses important ESG related data, and produces an annual ESG report. Also in Moncton is a full-time logistics analyst who focuses on the environment component of ESG. She tracks greenhouse gas emissions, and since 2018, Major Drilling submits an annual global greenhouse gas emissions report to the CDP.

ESG progress at the operations level is also on the rise. One example of the social aspect of ESG from Arizona, USA, shows how operating safely and with integrity is vital to Major Drilling. In Umnugovi aimag (province), Mongolia, drilling teams encourage more women to join the workforce. More workforce diversity through advancing more women in mining is underway at projects around the world.

Because ESG is a journey, advancing key initiatives is crucial to ongoing success. In May 2021, Major Drilling submitted its third greenhouse gas emissions report to the CDP. In June 2021, the Board of Directors adopted a free-standing human rights policy. The company is also actively implementing the Onyen software system used to report sustainability practices. It is anticipated that Major Drilling will produce its first sustainability report later in 2022.

McLaughlin is pleased with how ESG efforts are advancing at Major Drilling since June 2020. "We know embedding ESG and sustainability practices into our work is a must-have as we look to thrive in the modern economy."

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