Operating with respect for human rights
GUIDANCE RELEVANT TO OUR CONTEXT
In order to align our actions with our core business strategy of ‘People are the Business’, we are in the process of establishing operational systems to enable AngloGold Ashanti to meet its responsibility to respect all human rights in line with its vision, mission, values and strategies, and to ensure alignment with the United Nations Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights (UN Guiding Principles) as adopted by the United Nation’s Human Rights Council in June 2011. This formally commits us to complying with applicable laws and respecting internationally recognised human rights, even when national laws or their application fall short of protecting these rights. In our 2010 report, we recorded our intention to develop a groupwide human rights policy, framework and procedures in alignment with the UN Guiding Principles.
A human rights project team was formed to take this work forward, including external specialist support. During the year, a multi-disciplinary internal working group was also established to support the integration of human rights into AngloGold Ashanti’s systems and processes, in line with the UN Guiding Principles and the work of the human rights project team.
Assessing gaps in existing systems
Within the group, human rights challenges are already addressed to some extent through a range of standards and policies in the disciplines of health, safety, community, environment, human resources and security. The project work in 2011 initiated a detailed gap assessment of existing policies and systems to be used as the basis for supplementing these policies and systems or, where necessary, creating new ones. In addition, the project team interacted with a cross section of relevant personnel in the company to understand gaps between the content of systems and their implementation and challenges in the corporate culture.
The work of the project team and the internal working group found that gaps and deficits in existing systems should be appropriately addressed through a human rights framework. The company is in the process of developing that framework, which includes an explicit human rights policy statement, provides a structure for embedding human rights into existing company processes, enabling systems for ongoing human rights due diligence at all operations, effective grievance mechanisms at all operations and systems for methodically monitoring the human rights performance of business partners, including suppliers.
Steps to improve performance
Our goal is to apply ongoing human rights due diligence to all operations, as stipulated by the UN Guiding Principles.
A key component of the UN Guiding Principles is to establish grievance mechanisms to ensure that those adversely impacted by our activities have the opportunity to express grievances, have their grievances examined and, as appropriate, addressed. Putting in place an effective grievance mechanism system for each operation is therefore a priority in our work ahead. AngloGold Ashanti is participating in a pilot project in the DRC, under the auspices of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), to develop and implement a draft community grievance mechanism piloting our draft standard on complaint and grievance mechanisms. Design of the grievance mechanism should be completed by the end of 2012.
The group also recognises its responsibility to seek to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts where they are directly linked to our activities through our business relationships with subsidiaries, joint venture partners and suppliers. In this regard, our procurement department is putting in place systems which will enable it to undertake human rights due diligence of AngloGold Ashanti’s supply chain. Substantial work is required to develop these systems, starting with the implementation of a process for risk assessment to identify sectors and geographical regions where there is a need for detailed screening and potentially the audit of human rights performance.
We also continue to implement our global security framework based on embedding the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR) into our security management practices. This is covered in greater detail in our discussion on security management. See Security strategy.