By Lauren Hermanus, writing for Business Day Earth
By Jonathon Hanks, writing for Anglo American’s A Magazine
For many people the concept of mining companies being committed to sustainable development is a classic oxymoron. Not only is their business model entirely dependent on the extraction of a finite non-renewable resource – and thus by definition not sustainable over the long term – but the extractive sector also has a reputation (deserved or otherwise) for despoiling the environment, disregarding worker safety, and being complicit in human rights abuses in areas of weak governance.
By Jonathon Hanks, writing for Business Day Earth
From April 2011, all companies listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange will be required to publish an ‘integrated sustainability report’. While the publication of sustainability reports is not new in South Africa (indeed, a few companies have been producing such reports for almost 15 years), this requirement by King III reflects an understanding and desired approach to sustainable development that contrasts strongly with what has characterised much of the South African corporate response thus far.
By Nicola Robins (13 Oct 2010)
While I am certainly grateful for the invitation, this is not a conference I could have imagined myself talking at one day. Branding is not my thing; being good… well frankly, I am a deep sceptic. When I was a small girl, my father told me a nursery rhyme that went:
There was a little girl who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good she was very, very good.
And when she was bad… she was phenomenal.
By Jonathon Hanks
“Owing to past neglect, in the face of the plainest warnings, we have entered upon a period of danger. The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedience of delays, is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences; we cannot avoid this period, we are in it now.”
These words could easily have been echoing through the plenary of the Bella Centre in Copenhagen in December 2009, at one of the largest-ever gatherings of global leaders who came together with the hope of addressing one of society’s most pressing challenges: global climate change. Despite the distraction of a few dissenting voices, there is now sufficient evidence that human-induced global warming presents a fundamental threat to human security and prosperity. Global policy-makers and scientists are largely at one – the science has given us the plainest warnings, we have entered a period of danger, and the era of procrastination should be coming to its close.
Dismissed as the rallying cry of earnest environmentalists, and as the subject of various well-meaning (but rather pointless) UN summits, sustainability is typically seen as quite distinct from the supposed ‘business of business’: maximising shareholder value.
By Georgina Combes (13 Sept 2010)
Few humans are capable of making serious sacrifices for the unborn grandchildren of total strangers which is the basic selling point of voluntary action on climate change.
On this basis, the outlook is depressing. As Mr Harford positions it, the likelihood that anyone will voluntarily be nice and embrace sustainable behaviours is slim.