Increasing Consideration Of Sustainability And The Implications For The Resource Sector

David Humphreys

The issue of sustainability and sustainable development is now one of the most hotly debated issues that faces the Resources Sector. It has the potential to affect every aspect of the industry, and its operations and rights to carry out exploitation of natural resources. This paper looks at the growing need for the West Australian Resources Sector to address sustainability and sustainable development requirements in light of increasing scrutiny and consideration by the community as well as regulatory authorities. In the last few decades there has been considerable improvement in environmental performance by the Resources Sector, which has included community involvement. However, scepticism remains as to whether the Resources Sector has truly embraced the concept of sustainability and sustainable development and their willingness to deliver on their words and commitments.

This paper endeavours to provide a brief background on sustainability, the concept and what direction industry, community, government and individual professions may pursue in dealing with this issue. It draws upon recent resource projects and various initiatives that have identified the need for change and the likely direction. In conclusion, it explores the need for individual professions and disciplines as well as industry to take a proactive approach in fostering the sustainability concept.