Business Conduct in the Mining Industry

Topics: Ethics, Natural environment, Sustainability Pages: 5 (1300 words) Published: September 6, 2014

Assessment question
Evaluate business conduct in the mining industry using three ethical principles of the Global Business Standards Codex.

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Business ethics are defined as the collective values of a business organisation that can be used to evaluate whether the behaviour of the collective members of the organisation are considered acceptable and appropriate (ed. Campbell 2014). Many companies in the mining industry lack incentive to promote business conduct in line with ethical standards in regards to the fundamental principles encompassed in the Global Business Standard Codex (GBSC) (Paine et al. 2005). Such principles that should be encouraged include the principle of dignity in regards to contributing to the development of local communities and also the principles of transparency and citizenship in relation to environmental concerns.

Companies in the mining sector may be motivated to contribute and improve the economic and social development of locals, respecting the dignity of Indigenous communities (Paine et al. 2005). A publication by the Australian Human Rights Commission, suggests that corporate responsibility requires the incorporation of human rights principles pertinent to a sustainable relationship between Indigenous people and mining companies, including the protection and maintenance of traditional culture. There are many corporations that strive to respect the dignity of Indigenous people through acknowledging the customary rights of and engaging with local communities to ensure that their activities positively enhance the lives of those affected by their operations (Everinghim et al. 2013). BHP Billiton is one company committed to working with local Indigenous communities by engaging frequently and openly with communities affected by their activities, and by taking the views and apprehensions of these communities into account in decision-making. The company acts diligently to avoid infringing on the rights and traditions of local communities, and has also established numerous education initiatives, such as the Warrae Wanni Pathways to School Program in Musswellbrook, NSW, Australia to help Indigenous children and children from disadvantaged backgrounds gain access to better education (BHP Billiton 2013).By engaging with local communities consistently with human rights principles, mining companies are able to deliver enduring benefits to these communities with prospects of jobs and business from the mine, supporting a sustainable relationship with Indigenous communities and helping maintain their cultures (Cragg & Greenbaum 2012). Mining companies should create employment opportunities, promote education programs and engage in consultation processes with local communities in order to support the sustainable development of these communities (Paine et al. 2005). By cooperating with and respecting local communities and their cultures, mining companies are able to promote the sustainable development of these communities in line with the dignity principle of the GBSC.

Another issue within the mining industry is that companies may not be compelled to report on their consumption of environmental resources used in their operations when mining for raw materials (Paine et al. 2005). There are many businesses around the globe that do not have appropriate provisions in place in regards to disclosing information about their consumption of natural resources and enhancing biodiversity. In a report by Cambodians for Resource Revenue Transparency (2013), many of the locals interviewed were concerned that mineral exploration by Australian mining companies would intrude on their land, devastating spiritual forests and demolish culturally significant sites because the companies had little engagement with local communities and the disclosure of information was limited. Numerous mines established in developing countries are usually more concerned with acquiring land to excavate in order...
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