The mining industry has endorsed the concept of sustainable development in principle. We now need to ensure that it is “lived” throughout the workplace. Frequently, sustainable development is viewed as just a policy and, more often than not, it is regarded as something that is applicable only to the areas of health and safety, environment, or community philanthropy. However, sustainability requires the collective action of an entire organization on a regular basis, a corporate culture where values are transformed into action.
This paper reviews two of the many functional areas through which sustainable development can be pursued. Law and internal auditing are powerful means of instilling values, driving behavioral change, and improving performance. The development and role of each tool vis-a-vis sustainability is reviewed. Suggestions are offered regarding option and joint venture agreements, contract management programs, and various auditing programs based upon international standards and processes, market indices, and codes of conduct.
The goal of this paper is to provide a general overview of these functional areas and to encourage further dialogue between employees and management in the workplace. It is hoped that others in the industry will examine the values of their companies, and review the ways in which individuals in all functional areas work, or want to work, on a daily basis. If we can harness collective commitment, creative thinking, and action in sustainable development, then the desired acceptance by stakeholders and improved financial performance will follow.