This paper presents a report on sustainable development in three companies namely, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, and Antam. The paper provides a review of each of the company’s sustainability disclosures, assessing these disclosures from a systems-oriented perspective. This perspective incorporates three aspects of sustainable development including economic, environmental, and social theories (Harris, 2000). From the economic perspective, each company will be judged on its ability to develop an economically sustainable system that can be effectively used to support the government and company stakeholders. Environmentally, each company will be analyzed on their institution of an environmentally sustainable system to avoid over-exploitation of the environment. Conclusively, the social perspective looks at a company’s socially sustainable system for the benefit of the community.
Key Words: Sustainability Development, System-Oriented Theory, Economic,
BHP Billiton: Sustainability Development Disclosure
Based on the information provided concerning BHP Billiton’s sustainability development, it is evident that the company observes the principles of sustainability development using the system-oriented approach. Notably, the company’s operations pose a threat to the environment in which they choose to operate and having recognized this, they have established three robust environmental management principles and standards (bhpbilliton.com, 2011). Since the company conducts its business operations in different countries, those in administration ensure that their respective companies abide by these rules. The company’s three main environmental sustainability initiatives include protecting biodiversity, minimizing waste, and the development of effective strategies aimed at addressing climate change.
These three initiatives define the environmental sustainability policies and standards that the company has established and instituted. With relation to social sustainability development, the company acknowledges the importance of the overall community to society. According to the company’s sustainability development disclosure, BHP seeks to make a positive contribution to the community and society, while providing the necessary support for these communities (bhpbilliton.com, 2011). Additionally, the company recognizes the employees as being part of the community, and for that reason, the company emphasizes the need to support its employees. Economically, BHP has contributed to the economic growth and development of the nations in which each of its subsidiary companies is located (bhpbilliton.com, 2011). Accordingly, the company underlines sustainability reporting, as part of economic sustainability development to create awareness of the company’s economic activities.
Rio Tinto: Sustainability Development Disclosure
Just like the preceding company, Rio Tinto’s sustainability development disclosure reveals the application of the systems approach in the development of the company’s sustainability programs. Economically, the company aims at continuing financial success in the diverse nations where the company has opened branches through the acquisition and exploitation of various resources (riotinto.com, 2011). Remarkably, the company has managed to incorporate the environmental and social perspective in their economic sustainability, for the benefit of community and other institutions that it has entered into business with. In addition to this, the company has developed a strategy whereby they can exploit their product lifecycle to increase economic value and decrease negative economic impacts. Environmentally, the company defines their respect for the environment as the key determinant of their environmental sustainability programs.
The company acknowledges the problems associated with its activities on the environment, and for that reason, has developed programs aimed at proper environmental management including ecosystem services, climate change, air quality, and biodiversity among other things (riotinto.com, 2011). The company also emphasizes the need for constant evaluation of these programs for the improvement of the environmental management systems. Rio Tinto’s commitment to social well being of the community, especially company employees is plausible, as it discourages discrimination and is committed to the assurance of health and safety in the workplace. In addition to this, the company also emphasizes the need for constructing good relations and associations with the larger community (riotinto.com, 2011). They acknowledge the importance of social sustainability development for the acquisition of the necessary resources for the growth and progression of the company’s sustainability development activities.
Antam: Sustainability Development Disclosure
Unlike the other two companies, Antam’s sustainability development disclosure provides more detailed information concerning the company’s sustainability development system. Notably, the company’s economic responsibility system has been divided into three sections including economic performance, market presence, and indirect economic impacts (antam.com, 2011). Economic performance describes the company’s economic contributions to the society for the increment of economic independence social welfare. By establishing a market presence, the company further secures their place in the market, which further supports the company’s economic contribution to society. Lastly, the company highlights some of the indirect economic impacts of its operations and is committed to ensuring proper economic practices in its operations (antam.com, 2011). Antam’s Environmental responsibility system covers waste management, energy production, as well as, compliance with environmental laws to reduce the risks associated with environmental damage and degradation.
In their sustainability development disclosure, the company lists nine environmental policies that are aimed at fostering environmental sustainability. Conclusively, the company’s sustainability development disclosure highlights four approaches towards social sustainability including the recognition of human rights, labor, product responsibility, and contribution to the community. In relation to human rights, the company acknowledges the respect of human right for the promotion of social sustainability (antam.com, 2011). Product responsibility refers to the processes involved in the production of their products and ensuring that the products that the company produces do not harm consumers.
Faucheux, S. et al., (1997). Sustainable Development: Concepts, Rationalities, and Strategies.New York: Springer. Harris, J. M. (2000). Basic Principles of Sustainable Development. Retrieved from http://ase.tufts.edu/gdae/publications/working_papers/Sustainable%20Development.PDF
“Our Approach” (2011). riotinto.com. Retrieved from: http://www.riotinto.com/index_ourapproach.asp
“Resourcing the Future: Sustainability” (2011). bhpbilliton.com. Retrieved from: http://www.bhpbilliton.com/home/aboutus/sustainability/Pages/default.aspx
“Sustainable Development” (2011). antam.com. Retrieved from: http://www.antam.com/content/view/384/6/lang,en/
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