In today’s distinctly knowledgeable world, it is essential, as stated by Paine, Deshpande, Margolis & Bettcher (2005), for corporate companies to maintain certain codes of conduct. Paine et al (2005), continues to mention that organizations such as the European Commission have endeavored to endorse codes of conduct as the main drivers for corporate social responsibility. The principle aim of having codes is to assist companies effectively operate in diverse and varying cultural and geographic locations. This is especially important for exploration companies such as those involved in the mining industry. Although the Global Business Standard codex, as highlighted by Pain et al (2005), discusses eight underlying ethical principles, in this paper, our focus will be on only three of these which are listed as follows; reliability, dignity, and fairness principles. By analyzing each of these three principles, this paper will effectively evaluate business conduct in the mining industry.
The Dignity Principle
This principle is based on the philosophy that each person should respect and protect the dignity of every human being. This usually involves the protection of inherent rights such as health, safety, privacy, etc. (Paine et al, 2005). Therefore, this principle inevitable encourages the development of good human relations. Another aspect of the dignity principle as it pertains to companies is the fact that affirmative action is often required when addressing the personal issues of employees. The protection of employee privacy is also listed under this principle. Companies are not required to discharge confidential information between them and their employees. It is also important to note that the employment of child labor is strictly prohibited under this theory. Given this elucidation of this important principle, how do mining companies articulate this principle?
Mining as an industry is as stated by UNEP (2002), “invasive to the environment, and a form of social intrusion.” According to the Fraser Institute (2012), mining companies require a form of social license to operate, which is earned by appreciating the fact that at the heart of every mining operation, is located a societal fabric consisting of communities. It is this social license which companies must respond to in the name of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). But as elucidated by Campbell (2011), it is evident that a majority of mining companies have put forward projects that masquerade as CSR, but fail to capture the origins and essence of this ethical principle. The example offered by Siegel (2013) of the state of gold miners in Burkina Faso best explains the plight of the employees as they live in deplorable conditions. The conditions these local employees work with are without a doubt very risky. As research affords, the application of the dignity principle extends from human beings to the environment upon which the mining processes are affected.