Friday, February 24, 2012

Corporate Social Responsibility and the Mining Industry

I was exploring the Natural Resources Canada website when i came upon a page that talks about the mining industry and its effect on society and the environment as well as what companies are doing to make up for it. The mining industry is obviously harming our environment by extracting the various natural metals and substances that are contained under our planets surface. The first system condition of the natural step says that our planet is not subject to systematically increasing substances that are extracted from the earth’s crust, and since the mining industry is drastically harming the earth’s crust they need to implement CSR processes to give back to the environment and society.

This article tells us that there are many mining organizations out there that have not responded to the call to action and are not implementing and CSR practices. These mining companies typically do not receive support for their operations from their active communities, and the reason that they can continue operations is because mines are often located in very remote areas and are the only economic activity around.

For mining companies to operate in specified locations they must obtain a social license. This social license is administered based on the companies reputation and their actions in other current operations because CSR cannot be an activity that occurs at only one location, it must be implemented company wide. This is understandable because if they only implement CSR processes at one location and try to claim that they are socially responsible, the processes that they implement do not nearly make up for the damages that they are causing at their other mining locations.

Over the recent years, more and more mining companies have been creating codes of conduct to follow and have been releasing sustainable development reports yearly. These reports are an excellent idea to release because it shows the public, and potential shareholders what the company is doing economically, socially and environmentally. I think that since mining is one of the most destructive industries to our planet that it should be made mandatory that these companies take action to minimize their destruction and increase what they give back to the community. There are many companies out there that are trying to pave the way so that others will follow, but there is an enormous amount of companies in other countries that do nothing for society or our planet, mainly because they are not as informed and concerned as the organizations here in Canada. I just feel that if you are doing so much damage then you should be taking measures to give back to the earth and the community and this article lists many but here are a few that I feel would be the most effective.

- Training and Education
- Capacity Development - increasing local business, and economy to reduce dependence on the mine
- Assist in the creation of local jobs
- Partner with local businesses
- Scholarships
- Studies to determine community needs

By Jason Mulligan


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