Sustainability – July 2022
by Miles Watkins
Wherever you are reading this, it is likely that you have been a little on the warm side recently. The socials have been festooned with red graphics depicting high average global temperatures or showing things 50 years ago and today noting the likely man-made changes – and not for the better. So, what’s a few warm days between friends? Well, it’s not just the warm days, it’s the wet and windy ones as well and when taken together the costs to society can be high. Damaged property all the way through to excess deaths. If only we put as much effort in to preventing climate change related deaths as we did workplace safety related ones – perhaps we’d be in a different place.
And you think we have it bad. Imagine living in a place that is already on the edge of habitability. The long-term effects of climate change on global migration will make the current refugee crises look trivial and the reduction of grain supply from Ukraine a minor blip. Yes, it is all a bit depressing and sadly relevant to the lifetime of our children but it does hammer home the need to get our act together and do the best we can every day to rescue the world from the jaws of defeat.
As I mentioned last month, the minerals sector is doing some really positive things to address its impact and these actions are accelerating all the time. There are already some and will increasingly be more massive investments being made into alternative fuels, carbon capture and, best of all, emission avoidance. Some of this is well documented but some is not. I know for a fact that plenty of BAA members are hammering down the low carbon path using some pretty precise science, trying new technology and developing significant renewable energy assets. Equally, the UK businesses of the majors are delivering similar if not more.
What is missing is a comprehensive communication of these efforts. At the BAA conference I mentioned Longcliffe and Singleton Birch as serial under-reporters of progress in this respect. A trick missed. Similarly, the reports from some of the majors seem to have been throttled by the corporate bodies where previously reported, locally significant details and data are no longer available. The sector gets a pretty hard time from a range of stakeholders quite routinely. We owe it to ourselves to ensure the investments in sustainable business practices are discoverable. Look at your website. What does it say about your efforts? Remember, if it’s not Google-able it doesn’t exist.