In the Global Mining Initiative, the mining industry came together to understand the industry's role in the transition to sustainable development and to ensure its long-term contribution. The industry has since then come a long way and improved its sustainable development performance in many areas. But how far has the industry been considering environmental (“strong”) sustainability in its approach? And how does this compare to companies in other sectors and leading organizations such as the United Nations, World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Global Reporting Initiative?This paper presents results from a literature review, looking at how far the mining industry has considered environmental sustainability in its approach. It explores, if the current efforts of the largest mining companies are aligned with the efforts of companies from other industry sectors, as well as the position of leading organizations.We conclude that the mining industry is not setting on the wrong sustainability paradigm at this stage, but is at risk of falling behind societal expectations on climate change and the leaders from other industries on natural capital considerations. The industry can improve by considering the Paris Agreement in its approach to climate change, considering natural capital as an industry, e.g. through working with the Natural Capital Coalition and more broadly by pro-actively thinking about what the consequences of “strong sustainability” would mean for their business models.
Journal of Cleaner Production – Elsevier
Published: May 1, 2018
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