Sustainability as it pertains to minerals and energy supply and demand: A new interpretative perspective for assessing progress
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© 2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.This paper addresses the pressing research gap that demands an overarching framework to assess the progress of mining, minerals and energy supply and demand networks towards sustainable development. The framework proposes a hierarchy from Sustainable Development, which begins at the global scale, to Operating Sustainably, which begins at the level of unit operations. The two concepts overlap in the middle with a focus upon regional economies. Guidance is provided to assess the performance of both dynamic dimensions: Sustainable Development is assessed in terms of equity and Operating Sustainably is assessed in terms of the changing states of maturity of the activities being monitored. The papers from this Special Volume were the input sample to assess the extent to which these performance dimensions were being addressed. In analysing the progress towards Sustainable Development, it was found that papers were mainly focussed on equity within supply countries, but they provided little attention to the other three equity conditions proposed: Demand met at a reasonable price; future needs met; and profitable transfer agents. The transition towards Operating Sustainably was promising; with results that revealed progress along the proposed four-stage maturity journey which includes: (1) Solely profit maximising; (2) Efficiency Focussed; (3) Integrating by Connecting and (4) Adaptable & Resilient. A comprehensive definition for Operating Sustainably is proposed for discussion and refinement. It is suggested that the definition proposed can be used for selecting appropriate indicators for measuring and documenting progress.
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