Reader Rebuttal (October 01, 2001)
Here, here for sustainability
It is with great interest that I read your online editorial on Sustainability [“Is sustainability just a passing fancy?”, p. 5, CMJ June 2001]. I would say “Here Here”, or should it be “Hear Hear”? I would then answer your question by stating that sustainability should not be a passing fancy, and that one hopes that sustainability will become part of corporate philosophy everywhere.
My career has been focused on environmental issues in both Canada and the U.S., offering environmental solutions to various types of industry including mining. To this end, my masters degree was in mining engineering with an emphasis in environmental management.
I firmly believe that a mining company or any industrial company for that matter, can act in an environmentally responsible way and still make good profits. Companies like Barrick, WMC, Placer Dome, Noranda, General Motors, General Electric come to mind where they are making significant efforts to be good corporate citizens with respect to environmental responsibilities, and in many cases making amends for previous errors in the way operations were carried out.
As a consulting company, we always try to relate the point to our clients, that they (the company) need to be proactive and not reactive with regards to environmental operations. To be proactive may be more labour intensive initially, but will result in long-term savings. Companies that have a high regard for the environment also tend to have good health and safety programs, which tend to make more productive operations, because employees realize that they are a valuable commodity within the corporation. In other words, it is not an isolated concept. It should be the basis on which corporations build their philosophy.
Karl Reimer, MSc., PEng., project engineer
Blasland, Bouck & Lee, Inc.