• Home
  • Management
  • a brief report for the Board of Directors on how socially responsible your organisation is and how such behaviour might sustain the organisation into the future.

A brief report for the Board of Directors on how socially responsible your organisation is and how such behaviour might sustain the organisation into the future. Essay Example

  • Category:
  • Document type:
  • Level:
  • Page:
  • Words:

Current academic thinking on the area

The social and environmental impacts of mining in Australia have been the issue of focus over the recent years. Mining is of economic importance to Australia, it accounted for about 8.4% of the country’s GDP 2010. On the other hand, Australia boast of its natural iconic beauty, features such as Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef and Kimberly are some of the notable features of Australia. The concern in this case is the co-existence of these brands in Australia without negatively impacting on one another (David 2011, p.33). Stakeholders have been trying to balance these two major economic heritages, it has however provided difficult as the two counter each others. Mining operations affects the environment before, during and after the mining process. While the effects of mining vary depending on the ore body, the employed extraction technology, the on-site minerals as well as the sensitivity of the environment, the effects on the environment are significant. The mining process affects the environment physically, increases air contamination, water and land pollution. There are a number of legislations that have been put in place in order to check on the impacts of mining. According to John (2008, p.11)The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999 (EPBC) which was effected on July 2000 aims at subjective actions that are likely to negatively impact on the environment to a thorough referral, analysis and approval process. The act targeted mining of uranium and other nuclear materials and how the mining could affect the environment like national parks (Solomon & Haruna 2012, p.23).

The recent debate on the impacts of mining in Australia concerned two main exports, Coal and LNG. These two raised serious consequences for key assets, the Great Barrier Reef and Kimberly. The minister of Environment, Tony Burke clearly has a thought decision because the conclusion of these two cases based on EPBC act would set precedence for other related cases in the future (Heather, Stewart & Sanjay 2009, p.12). According to Luthfi (2008, p. 15) notes that the BHP Billiton is one of the companies mining coal in Kalimantan, Indonesia. The concern with this case is the possible massive introduction of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere by 2020. The mining in Kalimantan is ambitious and ill advised. Pursuing massive oil, coal and gas is potentially damaging at this time when there is a rising concern of increased greenhouse gases in the environment (Luthfi 2008, p. 15). As noted by Fernanda (2012, p.34) excessive mining which results in emission of greenhouse gases is one of the leading causes of global warming. Global warning has been on the rise with developed countries such as China and the US being questioned on their position on these greenhouse emissions. Industrialization has led to increased production and hence increased consequences of civilization. Mining materials and manufacturing of new products lead to emission of harmful substances to the environment that must be considered by key stakeholders (Evonne & Megen 2012, p.16). As Vanessa & Stewart et al. (2009, p. 20) sustainable production and mining process can only be achieved by integrating conservative processes that mitigate harmful emissions.

How the business is progressing on the area

According to BHP Billiton (2009, p. 707) BHP Billiton has integrated some environmental management concerns to its operations. Environmental Management Framework which aims at protecting the environment is one of such proactive actions taken by the company to protect the environment. The BHP Billiton Group Sustainable Development Policy outlines the expectations of the company through its “Zero harm” to the local people in its operations. The BHP Billiton also adheres to the licensing conditions of South Australian Acts and Regulations; this is evident in the Olympic Dam project. In this project, various controls and mitigation measures that focus on the protection of the environment are evident (Yellishetty, M, Mudd, GM & Shukla, R 2013, p.34). BHP Billiton has been having an environment policy since 1991 and has consistently worked to improve it in every aspect. More so, the company has spent about US$200 million on health safety environment as well as community activities. Despite the fact that the company has experiences a number of environment challenges in its operations, it has always been keen to learn from it and improve its operations to be more environment friendly. Notably, the company has been criticized for spending more on Public Relations (PR) instead of striving to achieve the real desirable environmental goals.

BHP Billiton cites that sustainability is their key priority; it further reiterates that it is committed to safety, health and environment as well as the community that is directly affected with its operations. Social and environment performance is therefore imperative for BHP Billiton; its annual report on sustainability issues is a demonstration of deliberate action to curb the effects of their operations. As compared to other mining companies such as Woodside Petroleum, BHP has fared well. Woodside Petroleum has had issues with relating to environment, in 2009, the company was among other six companies were accused of using false statements in order to acquire free carbon permit. The company has also been blamed for the consequences of its operations in different regions of its operations (David, H 2011, p.33). Adani Mining Company is also another company that has faced environment related issues, the company deals with huge coal mining. Coal mining is known for its excessive production of harmful gases to the environment. The company has faced a number of criticisms despite its efforts to minimize carbon related emissions to the environment. As evident, mining companies all over the world face environment related issues. They have adapted to improve the technology of their operations in order to reduce harmful emissions. They have also invested more in Cooperate Social Responsibility with the aim of benefiting the community that is directly affected by company’s operations. BHP Billiton has struggled over the past few decades to ensure that the community that is affected by its operations both locally and internationally benefit. Its lasting environmental benefits and sharing with the community are some of the deliberate efforts that the company has made to the community in order to ensure compliance with the environmental regulations.

Policy Recommendations

The first recommendations that BHP Billiton should ensure is the need to participate more in environment conservation projects, this should be increased from the current programs which the company is part of in order to demonstrate its seriousness in environment conservation. In fact, the company should reduce its PR services and instead concentrate in adding real value to its corporate behavior and establish sustainable programs for environment conservation programs. The current research in the mining industry is promising; in fact there are new technologies which allow ‘green mining’. BHP Billiton should adapt and even take an effort of sponsoring a Research and Development (R&D) program which focuses on improving mining process with minimal or no harmful emissions to the environment. This will be a major step towards its sustainable environment benefits. Scott (2005, p.18) also points to the importance of involving the local community in important decision making related to the environment. This inclusive approach is important since all the stakeholders affected by the mining operations will be given the chance to have their voices heard. BHP Billiton should also ensure that they have a reconstruction plan for areas where the mining process is completed. This will mainly aim an ensuring that the area affected is in fact habitable again. This will be critical given the excessive damages that mining has on the environment. Lastly, all the efforts should be monitored more frequently and even quarterly reports concerning the environment issues issued quarterly in order to demonstrate seriousness to all the stakeholders.


David, H 2011, Mountaintop Removal Mining: Digging into Community Health Concerns, Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 119, No. 11, pp.33-42.

Evonne, M & Megen, V 2012, Diversification for Sustainable Development in Rural and Regional Australia: How Local Community Leaders Conceptualise the Impacts and Opportunities from Agriculture, Tourism and Mining , Rural Society, Vol. 22, No. 1. Pp.16-17.

Fernanda, D 2012, Impression Management Performances in a Brazilian Mining Company: The Researcher as Audience, Journal of Management and Organization, Vol. 17, No. 2,pp.34-45.

Heather, N, Stewart, L & Sanjay, S 2009,
Intimate Partner Abuse of Women in a Central Queensland Mining Region, Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, No. 378.pp,11-15.

John, W 2008, «International Best Practice» in Mining Who Decides and How — and How Does It Impact Law Development?Georgetown Journal of International Law, Vol. 39, No. 4, pp.10-19.

Luthfi, F 2008, The Impacts of Coal Mining on the Economy and Environment of South Kalimantan Province, Indonesia, ASEAN Economic Bulletin, Vol. 25, No. 1, pp.12-19.

Scott, Y 2005, Leading Environmental Change: The Case of the Global Mining Industry, Review of Business, Vol. 26, No. 1,pp.18-23.

Solomon, NJ & Haruna, M 2012, Impacts of Derived Tin Mining Activities on Landuse/landcover in Bukuru, Plateau State, Nigeria, Journal of Sustainable Development, Vol. 5, No. 5, pp.23-34.

Vanessa, P & Stewart, L et al.2009, Mining Developments and Social Impacts on Communities: Bowen Basin Case Studies, Rural Society, Vol. 19, No. 3, pp.13-25.

Yellishetty, M, Mudd, GM & Shukla, R 2013, Prediction of soil erosion from waste dumps of opencast mines and evaluation of their impacts on the environment, International Journal of Mining, Reclamation and Environment, Vol. 27, no. 2, pp.23-34.

BHP Billiton 2009, Environmental Management Framework, Olympic Dam Expansion Draft Environmental Impact Statement p.707-718. Accessed from http://www.bhpbilliton.com/home/aboutus/regulatory/Documents/odxEisChapter24EnvironmentalManagementFramework.pdf