Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mining Problems

April of 2010 will always be remembered as a sad time for the mining industry. Only five days into this month, the news media was scoured with articles about the terrible explosion that claimed the lives of 29 people. Follow up reports continue to pour in, each revealing egregious oversights on the part of Massey Energy. It is horrible to think that such a tragedy could --- and should--- have been prevented.

Should investors in Massey Energy have known better than to keep their money tied up in such a problematic investment? In fact, investors are often shielded from the information they need to make responsible decisions. Over the course of one week this month, I published a series of articles that hopefully provided some perspective on standards for this industry. In fact, multi-stakeholder groups have provided significant input to guide and shape the industry. Hopefully this guidance is starting to be heeded.

Unfortunately, not every company feels that it needs to be a leader in corporate responsibility, which is the real problem. You will notice that Massey Energy is not included on any of the lists of mining companies affiliated with initiatives for reforming the mining industry (see “Responsible Mining Industry Initiatives”, published on the Justmeans CSR editorial page on April 21st). No big surprise, but a good reminder that corporate commitments to ethical standards are far from pervasive at this point in time.

Photo credit: infomindeva

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