Award for making Australia lag behind the rest of the world and proud of it. That’s a business leader in this country
“We were doing sustainable development long before Wall Street discovered ESG,” mining legend Mitch Hooke says.
The veteran of political and industry battlegrounds starred at a recent mining conference where executives debated what other letter should go into the “E” for environmental, “S” for social and “G” for governance equation.
“And I’m sitting there screaming economic,” he told international delegates in Sydney.
“You cannot be in the pink – for social – or the green – for environmental – if you’re not in the black, and that’s what sustainable development gives you.”
Once head of the powerful Minerals Council of Australia, striding the corridors of Parliament House to advise governments, he led the campaign more than 10 years ago against a mining super profits tax.
In Kevin Rudd’s words, Mr Hooke has also been “one of the most destructive voices in Australian national climate change action”.
Accepting the Legend in Mining Award at a glittering industry dinner, Mr Hooke says the Australian mining industry took on board the commitment to sustainable development decades ago and “set up a whole stack of standards”.
“If you look back at where we were in 2002, we have a lot to be proud of,” he says, to a round of applause.