A discourse analysis on how the sustainability agenda is defined within the mining industry

Han Onn, Adam & Woodley, Alan (2014) A discourse analysis on how the sustainability agenda is defined within the mining industry. Journal of Cleaner Production, 84, pp. 116-127.

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The mining industry has positioned itself within the sustainability agenda, particularly since the establishment of the International Council of Mining and Minerals (ICMM). However, some critics have questioned this position, since mining requires the extraction of non-renewable finite resources and commercial mining companies have the specific responsibility to produce profit. Complicating matters is that terms that represent the sustainability such as ‘sustainability’ and ‘sustainable development’ have multiple definitions with varying degrees of sophistication. This work identifies eleven sustainability agenda definitions that are applicable to the mining industry and organises them into three tiers: first, Perpetual Sustainability, that focuses on mining continuing indefinitely with its benefits limited to immediate shareholders; second, Transferable Sustainability, that focuses on how mining can benefit society and the environment and third, Transitional Sustainability, that focuses on the intergenerational benefits to society and the environment even after mining ceases. Using these definitions, a discourse analysis was performed on sustainability reports from member companies of the ICMM and the academic journal Resources Policy. The discourse analysis showed that in both media the definition of the sustainability agenda was focussed on Transferable Sustainability, with the sustainability reports focused on how it can be applied within a business context while the academic journal took a broader view of mining’s social and environmental impacts.

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ID Code: 75924
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Sustainability, Sustainable development, Mining, Minerals, Discourse analysis
DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.03.086
ISSN: 0959-6526
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Environmental Management (050205)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > RESOURCES ENGINEERING AND EXTRACTIVE METALLURGY (091400) > Mining Engineering (091405)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > LINGUISTICS (200400) > Discourse and Pragmatics (200403)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Cleaner Production. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Cleaner Production, [VOL 84, (2014)] DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.03.086
Deposited On: 04 Sep 2014 23:44
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2017 13:04

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