Take a wide-angle perspective to capture your impact
Tell your story through the power of end-use imagery
by Paul Pierroz
Strategy | Sustainability | Marketing
October 14, 2021 - Mining. What thoughts and emotions does the word conjure up? Two that may not come to mind are saving lives and clean power. If we examine organizations involved in extracting raw materials from an entire ecosystem perspective, we may find ourselves adding this and other benefits to the equation. The issue is complex, and most would be well advised to consider the industry’s contribution from a broad perspective.
Organizations that extract minerals such as cobalt, nickel, copper, lithium, boron, and uranium have a significant role and social impact far beyond their operations and life cycle. Let’s consider just one to make the point.
Uranium’s primary use is fuel. About 10% of the planet’s electricity is generated from uranium in the world’s 400-odd nuclear reactors. These reactors produce zero-emission energy. A smaller portion of uranium is used in the production of medical isotopes which are used in the research, detection, and diagnosis of certain illnesses.1
Physicians and their patients would not have access to a range of life-saving procedures without a reliable medical isotope supply. More than 20 million medical imaging procedures are conducted each year in the United States to detect cancer and heart conditions, and radioactive chemical tracers are injected into the body so their path can be observed as part of a diagnosis.2 If you’ve ever had to consume a liquid barium solution, pre-MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), you’ll know what we’re referring to.
Examining the impact and potential benefits of uranium concentrate requires taking a wide-angle perspective, and this is essential to do before you can communicate your message, regardless of your sector. This wide-angle view of your organization is not part of most leaders’ training and development or daily work. It takes a deliberate effort to think about and map your operating model, all the inputs and outputs across your supply chain, and your organization’s role in the broader life cycle. I often describe this work as working “on your organization” instead of “in your organization.”
If you take the time to work on your organization, you will be sure to discover significant impacts and marketing opportunities. Start by examining your organization’s core operating activities and how they relate to your upstream and downstream activities, then turn your attention to your value chain before pushing out into your organization’s broader life cycle and ecosystem.
Then use the information uncovered here to identify and build out your unique impacts and societal benefits. From there, with research and validation, you communicate your impacts on a standalone basis to fine-tune your purpose-driven marketing, just like a uranium miner.
We will know we’ve put our concepts into action when a uranium miners’ annual and sustainability report features images and commentary from physicians and patients using life-saving medical isotopes and consumers enjoying cleaner nuclear-generated electricity.
I’m sure we will see that day reasonably soon.
1. World Nuclear Association website, Nuclear Fuel Cycle, Introduction, “What is Uranium? How Does it Work?”, updated December 2020. https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/nuclearfuel-cycle/introduction/what-is-uranium-how-does-it-work.aspx.
2. World Nuclear Association website, Radioisotopes & Research, “Radioisotopes in Medicine,” updated May 2020. https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/non-power-nuclearapplications/radioisotopes-research/radioisoto