Accounting for Sustainability
The Triple Bottom Line (TBL) is a concept of accounting that was invented by John Elkington and comprises three dimensions of performance, which include financial/economic, social and environmental which is also called the planet, people and profits (Singh, 2007). The application of TBL and its sustainability has been a convincing factor that not only promises proliferation of businesses but also long term profitability. In order to be effective, a TBL framework has to be scalable, easily changed, address a range of policy priorities, inform the policy development process, support capacity building and enhance collaboration and teamwork within a business set up. This essay delves deeper into the TBL framework being implemented in Newmont Asia Pacific mining company and it will assess the three areas of TBL reporting framework including the financial, social and environmental aspects.
Also referred to as economic measures, these aspects usually address the bottom line and the flow of money. Some of the performance measures that are assessed within financial measures include personal income or expenditures, employment, taxes, business climate factors as well as the percentage of firms in the stated sector (Savitz and Weber, 2006). Establishing a healthy business and cash flow is an important aspect for the success of the business and facilitating the consideration of the triple bottom line in the company.
The main reason why businesses exist is because of the need to satisfy the needs of their customers. To achieve this, companies need to invest a lot of resources in formulating strategies that can enhance the satisfaction of their clients. These strategies may include making sure that their employees are well motivated and also producing high quality goods. In addition, the company also has to divert significant amount of resources in conducting promotional activities so that they can ascertain that their clients are well advised concerning their products.
The aspect of employment usually focuses on the financial aspect of jobs being offered with the aim of making sure that the company’s resources are not mismanaged and are used in an effective manner (Singh, 2007). It entails assessing the total work force in terms of the employment type, the number and rate of employment contract as well as the region. Additionally, it also considers the number and rate of employee turnover in terms of the age group, region and gender. The measure must also include any benefits provided to full time employees which temporary workers do not receive.
Training is very essential in the sharpening of employee skills and also motivating them. Nevertheless, training exercises need the company to carry out prior planning and channel resources towards funding the training strategies including seminars and workshops. This component also pre-determines the programs that are necessary for fostering the participation of employees in making decisions. The ratio of the budget for training to that of annual operating costs needs to be included after the training has been carried out.
Wage and Benefits
Wages and benefits are the primary, motivating factor for employees in most company. Among the factors that this component deals with include the ratio of the lowest wage in comparison to the national legal minimum as well as the ratio of the lowest wage when compared to the cost of living of the community. In addition, there is also the comparison between other benefits such as pension and health that are given to the employees in addition to the cost of mentoring programs for minorities.
In its assessment of the environmental variables, the management of Newmont Asia Pacific analyzes both the internal and external factors. Such variables measure the natural resources and can reflect the potential influence in terms of its effectiveness. Internal indicators provide the management with information regarding internal operations which may include the energy use per employee or consumer, spills (e.g. Sewage and oil spills) and prosecutions (e.g. Penalties or fines). On the other hand, external factors may cover aspects such as the quality of air and water, solid and toxic waste, natural resources, energy consumption as well as the use of land. There are certain specific measures that are taken into account when making an assessment of the environmental component and these include solid waste management, hazardous waste management, electricity consumption and alterations in the usage of land (Hilson and Haselip, 2004). The company maintains the environmental cleanliness by sticking to the Code of Environmental Management by Australian Minerals Industry.
Green House Gases
Decomposition of waste has been attributed to higher levels of greenhouse emissions and this mainly because it releases high levels of methane gas. Hilson and Haselip (2004) assert that an increase in the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can increase the levels of global warming which ultimately affects the environment and the health of the community negatively. By focusing on this aspect, companies can be able to make crucial decisions with regard to the strategies of reducing the release of this gas into the environment by adopting the initiatives that target to reduce emissions. These initiatives include adopting cleaner mining initiatives and taking strong measures that aim to transform the greenhouse gases into less harmful products and this may include changing methane to carbon dioxide. In addition, the company can also raise awareness within the community concerning energy conservation programs that may reduce excessive release of greenhouse gases, adhering to the laws and policies that offset greenhouse emissions as well as encouraging voluntary reduction programs.
There have been reports concerning waste produced by disposal destination in absolute terms including tonnes of land filled with waste, or in the normal form such as tonnes of the products sold per tonne of the land filled with waste. The normalized value can be used to monitor and evaluate the waste products that are generated by the company. Information on the waste generated can be outsourced from the contractors who are charged with responsibility of handling solid waste that is produced from the company. The huge amounts of waste generated within the globe because of the growth of the population and industrialization pose a key threat to the environment.Most of the solid waste generated by Newmont Asia Pacific mining company are derived from the process and activities of mining that the company engages in. Global warming, land contamination, flammability, odor and toxicity are just some of the negative effects that affect the environment due to waste disposal. TheEnvironment Australia, (2001) states that a lot of the waste, especially that which is generated in the mining industry was traditionally disposed in landfills. The company has received mounting pressure from both the government and the community to manage its waste in a better manner and also minimize it. Plans are under way to develop recycling strategies which can transform most of the waste into useful products and raw materials for diverse uses (Strategen Environmental Consultants & Newmont Mining Corporation, 2013).
The TBL for energy can be gotten from carrying out a comparative analysis of the costs of different sources of energy and their effectiveness. The Strategen Environmental Consultants & Newmont Mining Corporation (2013) revealed that this company is listed among the top consumers of energy in Australia. The use of energy directly affects the environment, and its effects are extended to the global level. Due to the negative environmental impact of electricity, the management of the company has had to outsource for alternative energy source eg. a non-renewable resource that has minimal negative effect on the environment and at the same time is cost effective in that it maintains economic productivity. The use of coal and natural gas are among the key non-renewable sources that the company plans on exploring. Additionally, the company intends to take advantage of the initiatives of the government initiatives that are aimed at reducing the intensity of greenhouse and improving the efficiency of energy use. For example, the company is engaging with the national programs including the Minimum Energy Performance Standards to enhance efficiency in terms of standard electrical appliances and also to improve the overall energy use. Part of the benefits that the company will gain from using energy efficiently include higher savings that can facilitate the preservation of renewable energy sources by the company as well as conservation of the environment.
The rising demand for freshwater is also a significant issue for the company in terms of its future development agenda. It is very important for the company to set up effective strategies that are appropriate for identifying opportunities that can help to minimize the consumption of water and implement water efficiency in all its activities. One of the means that can help achieve this is the development of initiatives that can trap storm water and even the use of treated water which can help to reduce the excessive use of clean water (Edraki, Zhao and Noller, 2012). Water conservation is particularly important for companies that operate within Australia because of the fact that this location is known to be the world’s driest inhabited continent. Companies therefore face a prominent challenge of striking a balance between the interests of their business, the community and the environment.
Social measures in the TBL are often made in reference to the community or a particular area. These variables cover unemployment rate, median household income, relative poverty, life expectancy as well as the rate of crime (Singh, 2007). When the company demonstrates a commitment towards social responsibility it can improve its profitability. Among the key benefits of abiding by social measures include the long term financial benefits which can be gotten from health and safety benefits, improved retention of staff hence avoiding recruitment and training costs, building strong company reputation as well as customer loyalty. Social initiatives can be given to the staff, community or the suppliers
Initiatives Involving the Staff
Employee involvement enables employees to share ideas and opinions with regards to their business and workplace practices hence helping them to improve their performance. According to DEFRA (2006), an effective strategy of motivating employees is to foster an open and respectful interaction amongst them and even with their bosses or senior staffs. Employee involvement also assists the management to get a variety of ideas for the company and makes them to feel like they are part of the success of the organization.
The responsibilities and duties that are assigned to the employees ought to be effective so as to allow them to perform and socializewith the community as well as their family members. Hilson and Haselip (2004) assert that employees can be requested to indicate any challenge that may act as an obstacle to their full concentration ontheir job during normal working hours. Initiating programssuch as flexitime, telecommuting, compressed work weeks and temporary leave for new parents are amongst the strategies that can be implemented in order to improve this measure. The success of this measure is heavily dependent on the employees being encouraged to utilize the programs that have been put in place.
Social Initiatives Involving Suppliers
Managing the Supply Chain
Suppliers (of mining equipments and tools in this case) are key players in thesuccess of a business enterprise. This makes it necessary for business managers to strive to know them better and establish a sustainable working relationship with them. Foran et al (2005) state that the supply chain management is a readily expanding area of interest in as it helps to maintain sustainability in accounting. Managers ought to inquire about the values and working conditions of the suppliers especially in cases where they have any doubts concerning their loyalty or efficiency.
Social Initiatives Involving the Community
The company can support the programs and initiatives that target community development programs by offering financial and technical support to the volunteer programs within the neighboring community. The law requires the company to establish a strong component of social responsibility especially since their company activities directly affect the social environment. The company is involved in many programs including volunteering time, working with non-profit organizations, and providing professional advice, offering mentoring programs and providing manpower to contribute to different community initiatives. Such initiatives boost the morale and motivation in the organization, development of skills, enhancing ability to deal with new people and also fosters teamwork.
The TBL for Newmont Asia Pacific Mining Company is characterized by different dimensions that affect performance and these include financial/economic, social and environmental. The performance measures under the environmental dimension are the greenhouse gases, waste (solid), energy as well as water while performance measures for social dimension encompass the initiatives that involve the staff, i.e. employee involvement and work/life balance, social initiatives involving suppliers i.e. managing the supply chain and social initiatives involving the community i.e. corporate volunteering. Finally, the dimension of economics or finance is concerned with performance measures such as customer satisfaction, employment, employee training and wage and benefits. Even though the application of this TBL benefits the company, the concept can face diverse challenges which may be related to measuring the categories, finding the information that can be applied and calculating the contribution of the entire project to sustainability.
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