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Finding the Way Forward: How Could Voluntary Action Move Mining Towards Sustainable Development?
by Jim Walker and Steve Howard

Year of publication: 2003
72 pages
ISBN: 1843692554
Stock number: 9203IIED
Price: USD 15.00

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Finding the Way Forward looks at the role in the mining industry of voluntary initiatives: coordinated activities undertaken by groups of companies to go beyond the environmental and social performance requirements set by legislation.

Recent research into the role of voluntary activities in the sector conducted as part of the Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development Project (MMSD) formed the basis of this report, and the relevant MMSD papers are included in full on the enclosed CD-ROM.

MMSD's two-year research programme culminated in May 2002 with the publication of its final report, Breaking New Ground, which drew a number of conclusions about the current state of the sector and made recommendations for change. One conclusion of Breaking New Ground was that the mining and minerals sector should explore the development of a global voluntary initiative (or initiatives). Finding the Way Forward assesses a wide range of existing voluntary initatives and explores the idea of a global voluntary initiative by asking:

  • What are the key drivers for sustainable development in the miningindustry?
  • What could voluntary initiatives achieve in the sector?
  • What voluntary initiatives currently exist?
  • What form of voluntary initiative is best?

The mining industry cannot address the challenge of sustainable development on its own; its operations are too closely interlinked with government, communities, the financial sector, and wider societal expectations. If carefully managed, there will be 'first-mover' advantages for the stakeholders involved in shaping voluntary initiatives, yet there is no doubt that this is a significant undertaking, requiring a substantial investment. Whatever course of action the industry takes, the chances of success will be greatest if it adopts an open attitude, fosters good communication with stakeholders, and takes leadership on certain issues.

Finding the Way Forward: How Could Voluntary Action Move Mining Towards Sustainable Development? is the first of several MMSD Working Papers based on the project's research findings. Further papers to be published in 2003 will cover small-scale mining, indigenous people, and biodiversity.




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