Business Academic Skills
Mining industry has attracted much criticism based on the impact of the related activities on both the environment and the members of the community around the places where such activities are performed. Due to the unethical nature of various mining practices, there have been coal fires, release of toxic chemicals and green house gases from the released smoke and fly ash. Several miners have suffered black lung disease from inhaling coal dust, which has also affected people living around mining sites. Moreover, thousands of people have also died from mine accidents, with latest and one of the worst that is the recent Turkey incident. Mining also leads to displacement of communities and contamination of the environment, affecting water and land. With such dangers, business conducted in the mining industry can be said not to be ethical.
The unethical nature of mining companies can be demonstrated through evaluating their conducts using a number of Codex principles. For instance, according to the dignity principle, mining companies are expected to show a high level of respect for all individuals. It holds that for one to protect people’s dignity in any given society, he must ensure that the members of that society are given a chance to enjoy their rights with regards to health, privacy and safety (Gartner & Bellamy 2008). Thus, the principle emphasizes the need for mining companies to participate in enhancing the development of human beings within their companies and in the larger society. The principle also requires any mining company not to promote the vulnerability of the members of the community, in which it operates. Instead, it should participate in helping individuals who are considered vulnerable to oppose to unethical actions (Wellington, Greenbaum & Cragg 1997).
Contrary to the requirements of the dignity principle, mining companies have been criticized of taking advantage of people to expose them to vary dangerous and risky working environments. It has led to numerous accidents in the mining cites, with the latest example being the Turkey mine collapse incidence, and illegal mining activities like that of uranium. Instead of protecting people from facing unnecessary risks, companies involved in the mining of coal are known to expose workers to black lung disease due to breathing in of carbon and coal durst. Studies indicate that at least 1200 people die in the US annually from the black lung disease. Siegel’s (2013) study is a clear indication that the issue of cancer in the United States cannot be overlooked. It reported a projection of 580,350 deaths from cancer and 1,660,290 new cancer cases to be witnessed in 2013. Equally, communities that live around coal mines have high rates of such diseases as cardiopulmonary disease, hypertension, kidney disease and lung disease. Moreover, the toxic levels of selenium, mercury, arsenic and fluorine that is emitted by coal fires get into the food chain and air of the nearby dwellers. Finally, miners are exposed to unstable and extremely deep underground mines. It has led to increase in the number of people dying in accidents and collapsing mines around the world. A good example is the 2006 accident in a coal mine in China, which led to the death of 4,700 people (Occupational Knowledge International 2014).
It is contrary to what Cragg & Greenbaum (2002), through their stakeholder theory, expect of the responsibilities of mining companies managers. According to them, mining companies should be involved in maximizing the value of the shareholders and considering the well-being of all other parties, which get affected by the corporate decisions. On the contrary, they observed that mining industries are marred with disagreements with regards to sharing benefits and costs among the stakeholders. Managers of mining companies have ceased to embrace corporate responsibilities. They even ignore certain claims by some stakeholders such as the host communities.
Responsiveness principle holds employees responsible for giving any information with regards to the operations carried out by various stakeholders. Thus, the principles require that mining companies must also incorporate the various ideas generated by the stakeholders towards the improvement of their exploration (Hamington & Staudt 2011). It means that any responsive mining firm must ensure that it conducts all its activities in a manner that meets the expectation both the host community and government. The company must also respond in a timely manner to any complaint raised by other concern parties. The same level of responsiveness has to be maintained whenever a mining firm is interacting with its employees.
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Contrary to the requirement of this principle, almost every mining company is associated with unrestrained exploitation of natural resources. Irrespective of the enactment of both the national and international policies aimed at promoting environmental sustainability, mine companies have continued to promote the use of non-renewable sources of energy like gas, coal and oil. Though the use of these energy sources has never been problematic, their usage causes much dilemma to the entire world. Whenever they are burned, they release CO2, which is the largest contributor of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Therefore, their combustion is the greatest contributor of global warming, which is evidenced by the increase in world’s average temperature. An example of the impacts of such increase in global temperature is the melting of ice in the Antarctica and Arctic. Fossil fuels also cause air pollution resulting in smogs (Occupational Knowledge International 2014).
Worrell & Appleby’s (2000) study showed that mining companies are failing in their stewardship role. They define it as the use of resources responsibly while taking into considering the societal interest. The principle requires these companies to avoid actions, which work against natural resources’ conservation efforts. Equally, Campbell (2012) noted a problem with the role played by Corporate Social Responsibility departments of these companies. He proposed the adoption of historical and holistic perspectives. He saw the need for these companies to come up with a framework to guide mining activities in a way that can take into account the roles of all actors. His study stresses the need for accountability, legitimacy and responsibility in the mining industries.