The state of environmental sustainability considerations in mining

Michael Tost, Michael Hitch, Vighnesh Chandurkar, Peter Moser, Susanne Feiel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


In the Global Mining Initiative, the mining industry came together to understand the industry's role in
the transition to sustainable development and to ensure its long-term contribution. The industry has
since then come a long way and improved its sustainable development performance in many areas. But
how far has the industry been considering environmental (“strong”) sustainability in its approach? And
how does this compare to companies in other sectors and leading organizations such as the United
Nations, World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Global Reporting Initiative?
This paper presents results from a literature review, looking at how far the mining industry has
considered environmental sustainability in its approach. It explores, if the current efforts of the largest
mining companies are aligned with the efforts of companies from other industry sectors, as well as the
position of leading organizations.
We conclude that the mining industry is not setting on the wrong sustainability paradigm at this stage,
but is at risk of falling behind societal expectations on climate change and the leaders from other industries
on natural capital considerations. The industry can improve by considering the Paris Agreement
in its approach to climate change, considering natural capital as an industry, e.g. through working with
the Natural Capital Coalition and more broadly by pro-actively thinking about what the consequences of
“strong sustainability” would mean for their business models.
Translated title of the contributionDer Status von Nachhaltigkeit im Bergbau
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)969
Number of pages977
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Issue number182
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2018

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