Legitimizing Business?: Environmental Awareness in the Norwegian Mining Industry
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This chapter discusses proactive environmental management practices in the mining industry in Norway. Compared to its neighboring countries, Norway’s mining industry is relatively underdeveloped and faces increasing societal demands for social responsibility and sustainability. Environmental management systems and voluntary environmental reporting are common ways for the industry to meet these demands and to increase its legitimacy. Society’s demands are assumed to be related to processes of environmental reform as outlined by the Theory of Ecological Modernization, but we also present theories criticizing this perspective. Some argue, for instance, that a focus on environmental reform draws attention away from the ‘sacrifice zones’ that are created in areas of heightened environmental pollution. We examine the efforts of mineral producers in Norway to realize the industry’s ambitions in “sustainable mining” and “green mining” and conclude that despite individual attempts to make the industry more sustainable, this is far from being achieved. Environmental management practices appear to be more reactive than proactive and hence have not yet been able to meet society’s demands.
KeywordsVoluntary environmental reporting Legitimacy Proactive management Environmental management standards Ecological modernization Sacrifice zones
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