Gold Mining, Sustainability and Profitability: Literature Review Literature Review

Pages: 6 (2057 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 20  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Business

Gold Mining, Sustainability and Profitability: Literature Review


Environmental Management:

The notion of environmental management has become essential both to business and civic leaders. Though it had previously been viewed as a socio-cultural movement, environmental management is increasingly shown to be important to the future orientation of many businesses that have previously been an environmental scourge. Accordingly, we find that the current thrust toward more conscientious environmental management to our research, "is more fundamental than a culture shift because it is based on serious global threats to life on this planet. Ideologies may surge and flow across the face of these realities, but environmental issues cannot be argued or deconstructed away." (Peritore, 30). This is quite a pertinent point to the discussion, lending us the basic understanding that the permeation of environmental management pressures into developing nations, though inclined by the processes of globalization, is not simply a vestige of foreign imposition. The establishment of more firm protections for land, air, water and, by extension, food sources, communities and homes, in the developing world is tantamount to the emergence of this sphere form untenable conditions of poverty, illness and blight.

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TOPIC: Literature Review on Gold Mining, Sustainability and Profitability: Literature Review Assignment

This condition is imposing a significant challenge for corporate leaders, who must find ways to remain economically relevant while simultaneously approaching these environmental challenges sensibly. This means that even commodities firms will have to reflect a stronger sense of corporate responsibility in relation to the communities and nations which they impact through development activities. This underscores the central imperative to "develop and maintain institutional practices that promote responsible urban environmentalism, including programs to increase efficiency and use of renewable resources and lower production of waste and hazardous materials." (Concordia University Texas, 1) This is to note that in the face of current development challenges, an organization has the capacity to either be deeply destructive or progressively beneficial to society according to the way that it approaches the intercession of sustainability demands and growth opportunities.

That said, research does suggest that such Sustainable Development must begin at the local and regional level. This is a considerable challenge in the context of globalization as the subsequent discussion on gold mining will demonstrate. Still, sustainability and development must not be viewed as mutually exclusive. Indeed, McKibben (2007) points out that "shifting our focus to local economies will not mean abandoning Adam Smith or doing away with markets. Markets, obviously, work. Building a local economy will mean, however, ceasing to worship markets as infallible and consciously setting limits on their scope. We will need to downplay efficiency and pay attention to other goals. We will have to make the biggest changes to our daily habits in generations." (McKibben, 2)

Sustainability and Business:

With respect to such changes, this is a strategy which proceeds from an ethic supporting the connection between environmental sustainability and sound business orientation. Accordingly, our research denotes that "as the business world wakes up to environmental issues, organizations are realizing that green initiatives can both do good and also boost company profits." (Winston & Wirtenberg, 1) Particularly, the reduction in wastefulness that relates to making minor adjustments in individual behaviors and company procedures can ultimately and significantly reduce unnecessary business spending. We are supported in this claim by the efforts conducted by the financial giant, Morgan Stanley, whose approach to sustainability demonstrates the relative accessibility of such practices. To this end, we find that "much against the popular perception, going green is no rocket science. It comprises small steps that change the way we think and do everyday things. Morgan Stanley's Little Green Book with tips on 50 things you can do to green your life personifies the simplicity of this movement." (Nayar, 1)

Corporate Social Responsibility:

The section above implicates the relationship between sustainable practice and business success. Certainly, this is the philosophical core of the premise of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). So denotes the source provided by the University of Miami (2008), which reports that "the notion of companies looking beyond profits to their role in society is generally termed corporate social responsibility (CSR)….It refers to a company linking itself with ethical values, transparency, employee relations, compliance with legal requirements and overall respect for the communities in which they operate. It goes beyond the occasional community service action, however, as CSR is a corporate philosophy that drives strategic decision-making, partner selection, hiring practices and, ultimately, brand development." (p. 2)

Accordingly, those companies which establish themselves as leaders in adapting global practices to meet greater ethical standards can help to restore the philosophical ambitions of globalization while simultaneously strengthening their own market position. On this point, according to Lockwood (2004), "with company reputation, viability and sometimes survival at stake, one of the critical of roles of HR leadership today is to spearhead the development and strategic implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) throughout the organization and promote sound corporate citizenship." (p. 4) This is to make the argument that it should be seen as a practical reality of this new business atmosphere that responsibility to the social realities and standards of an operational setting will be directly predictive of long-term survival, stability, functionality and survival.


Survival in global business will also depend on a healthy mix of intuitive decision-making, intelligent planning and good fortune. These are the same features which drive the relevance and efficiency of Porter's Five Forces, a framework for planning and situational business analysis authored by business scholar Michael Porter.

A consideration of Porter's Five Forces should perhaps be seen as an initial step in crafting a business plan for a new organization or in constructing a path toward major organizational change. In either event, the Five Forces are useful for providing broad categories under which to classify the internal, external, contextualizing and innovative aspects of an organization or a projected organization. Somewhat more nuanced than the traditional SWOT analysis, Porter's Forces help to deconstruct the same basic characteristics but with a more direct consideration of such inherent features as competition and market segmentation. As Porter offers, "the nature and degree of competition in an industry hinge on five forces: the threat of new entrants, the bargaining power of customers, the bargaining power of suppliers, the threat of substitute products or services (where applicable), and the jockeying among current contestants." (Smit, 2000) it is Porter's overarching position that an organization will only succeed where it is capable of managing these distinct categories.

Gold Industry:

Environmental Management:

The challenges of environmental management are especially pressing for the gold mining industry, which today still remains quite a long distance away from achieving any uniform sort of regulatory control. The result is an industry which is particularly noted for its somewhat reckless management of the environment. So shows the discussion by Babut et al. (2003), which uses the case of a village in Ghana in order to demonstrate the consequences of this management shortfall. Here, Babut et al. report that "mercury losses mainly occur during amalgamation, and have resulted in widespread pollution of soils and sediments throughout the village. Transparent retorts have been introduced and environmental training is ongoing but these efforts have only partially addressed the mercury problem in Dumasi." (p. 215)

Sustainable Development:

Such instances have highlighted the demand which is increasingly being placed at the feet of the world mining industry to reign in the excess of its environmental abuses. Its alignment with the goals of sustainability is a crucial element of this demand and suggests that the industry as a whole is looking for ways to move forward. According to Mudd (2007), "for gold mining, there are a number of fundamental issues with regard to assessing sustainability. Commonly perceived as a finite and non-renewable resource, long-term gold production trends include declining ore grades and increasing solid wastes (tailings, waste rock) and open cut mining. Conversely, core sustainability issues include water, energy and chemical consumption and pollutant emissions -- also known as 'resource intensity'." (p. 42)

Sustainability and Business:

These findings align with the conceptual discussion here above, which states that changes in procedural norms can have a meaningful impact on the reduction of wastefulness and the improvement of resource optimization. This may be predicted to impact both the orientation of the industry toward the environment and its own profitable growth. So states the article by Bebbington & Bury (2009), which makes as its primary argument the case that "in lesser developed economies, this growth offers the potential to generate new resources for development, but also creates challenges to sustainability in the regions in which extraction occurs. This context leads to debate on the institutional arrangements most likely to build synergies between mining, livelihoods, and development, and on the socio-political conditions under which such institutions can emerge." (p. 17296) This indicates that today, the biggest challenge facing the global gold-mining industry is finding ways to improve sustainability without sacrificing economic opportunity.

Corporate Social Responsibility:

Corporate Social Responsibility has been largely lacking in the area of commercial gold-mining. This is because such operations, as noted… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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