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MEI Online: Environmental Issues: Latest News: June 3rd 2003

:: BHP Billiton Wins Green Award  

BHP Billiton has won the inaugural Banksia Award for Sustainable Development Leadership in the Minerals Industry, sponsored by the Minerals Council of Australia. Presenting the Award in Queensland, Chief Executive, Mitchell H Hooke, said the minerals industry was delighted to be part of the Banksia family.

The Banksia Environmental Foundation's Awards, which cover a range of industries and activities, are valued as public recognition and a celebration of excellence in environmental management and conservation.

The minerals industry's direct involvement with Banksia is a "good fit" because the minerals industry's future is inseparable from the global pursuit of sustainable development. And the minerals industry has a "good story" to tell,Hooke said.

The minerals industry is transcending the narrower economic dimensions of wealth creation, which has underpinned Australia's economic growth and prosperity for generations, to the broader and critical components of environmental and social stewardship, he said.

A key point in Hooke's address was that as a society we have long taken for granted our unique environment, our social harmony and our quality of life. He said it was only recently that the community had come to fear their loss and focus on their preservation, and accordingly expect industry and business to similarly have high regard for the principles and practices of sustainable development.

"We care, not just because the business case for sustainable development is solid, but also because the minerals industry is a big part of the community, particularly regional Australia, and has a major contribution to make to the global pursuit of sustainable development. There is greater focus on doing what the industry does well - converting natural capital into social capital, in a way that embraces our commitment to engaging with stakeholders, including host and Indigenous communities and our commitment to continuous improvement in environmental management.

"The minerals industry is recognised as a leader among Australian industries and globally. Indeed, the Australian Minerals Industry Code for Environmental Management is internationally regarded and forms the basis of a global sustainable development framework. The MCA is expanding the Code to incorporate business practices and systems of governance, human rights, risk management, safety and health performance, environmental performance, conservation of biodiversity, community development and reporting arrangements.

The Banksia Awards are recognition of the industry's commitment to sustainable development and a celebration of the outstanding performances of individual companies incorporating sustainable development considerations into their business strategies and every day decision-making,Hooke said.



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