It has not been a good few weeks for coal’s image in SA, and to a large degree the industry can blame itself — its arrogance, myopia and inability to adapt draws comparisons with another industry continually under fire: tobacco. It knows this, because I’ve said it before. In November 2017, I addressed the 25th International Coal, Coke and Carbon Forum in Budapest about the shifting scenarios the industry faces. I encouraged industry leaders to think about how they should adapt. I presented them with an unequivocal wake-up call: “You are the ‘new tobacco." There was much shaking of heads and gnashing of teeth, and afterwards, over coffee, a barrage of challenges from various industry leaders who couldn’t see the truth through all the smoke. My comment was not designed for effect; it was based on years of experience helping to steer the strategies of one of the biggest players in the tobacco industry. Now there’s an industry with hubris and hard-learned lessons on the need to adapt. T...

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