We now live in an era where the resources industry is expected to go beyond just complying with the law.
So what does it mean to go beyond compliant?
Here are some ideas:
- Meeting the expectations of external community on a local, national and international level.
- Transparency in meeting objectives that address those expectations.
- Creating a culture of respect for the environment.
- Awareness of the potential impacts as a result of mining activities.
- A genuine show of environmental responsibility among the mining workforce that extends beyond the mine.
- Being proactive in going beyond those expectations.
This does not need to be an expensive exercise! Internal culture building programs can be developed by information, environment themed activities, employee involvement and decision-making that extends beyond the environment teams. The budget is minimal.
There does, however, need to be endorsement and support by senior management. This support from the leadership team tends to be the one aspect that is missing and the one aspect that is most frustrating when building a culture that extends beyond being just compliant with the law and license conditions. So, the most important step (and possibly the most difficult step) is to gain that endorsement and support.
The transient nature of the mining workforce adds to the difficulty. However if an industry wide approach was taken then the positive outcomes from such programs would be observed much sooner.
It is also worthy to note that this is a long-term initiative and in most cases will likely take at least five years to see results.
The death of such a prominent and deeply influential person, such as Nelson Mandela, results in reflection of their legacy and how that relates to you. You relate to someone or look up to them because there is often something there that you have in common: A value or a characteristic that you both share. For example, a stubbornness to not let go of your belief or vision is what I relate to when I read of Nelson Mandela’s journey in life. While I don’t expect to be the equivalent of Nelson Mandela, I am inspired by how he has used that trait to his advantage.
I am sure Nelson Mandela would never have predicted that his journey in life would take the twists and turns that it did. His focus was on his vision and his beliefs, and not on where he was at any one point in time. Even during the direst time in his life, he did not focus on the circumstance, the people around him or what they were saying or how they were treating him or where he was but continued to focus on his vision for the future. And to do that for twenty seven years of imprisonment was nothing short of amazing.
During this time of reflection, what can we learn from Nelson Mandela’s walk to freedom? For one, despite the culture of mining, despite the attitudes of the people around us which are often so negative or filled with skepticism, and despite our own circumstances, we have the ability to focus on making a difference and on moving towards our vision or ultimate goal. This can be done because our struggles and challenges in the workplace or at home are minute compared to those experienced by this great man during his lifetime.
What trait or value do you relate to when you read about and are inspired by Nelson Mandela’s achievements?
You can be motivated to achieve your vision with the same dignity and without fear, knowing that this man, this humble human being has showed you how.