The sustainability review panel
WE WELCOME THE POSITIONING OF
COMMUNITY AS A STRATEGIC ISSUE
Our panel currently consists of five members. Stephan Malherbe stepped down from the panel in September 2011.
Sheila has extensive experience at an executive level in the mining industry and related fields, including as head of the representative office of the De Beers Group in Botswana. She is currently based in Accra, Ghana at the African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET), where she leads a programme of support to African policy makers on oil, gas and minerals regulation. She serves on the advisory boards and sustainability panels of corporations and academic institutions such as the Lafarge Group and the Natural Resources Charter at Oxford University.
Muzong has more than 30 years’ experience in training, research and consultancy in governance, anti-corruption and human rights. He is based in London as an independent consultant and is also an Associate Fellow of the Africa programme of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, where he coordinates the Congo Forum.
Ruth is a South African citizen with a long involvement in issues of social justice and gender equality. Until recently, she served as Mayor of Naledi in the North West Province of South Africa. She was a member of the South African Parliament as well as a member of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress (ANC) and has previously served as South Africa’s ambassador to Switzerland.
Anita has more than 30 years’ experience working with business, governments, communities and multilateral agencies on sustainable development. She recently stepped down as the Chief Executive Officer of Sustainability Victoria in Australia in order to pursue a career as a non executive director. Previously Anita worked outside Australia for 10 years, including as global director of sustainability for Alcoa, where she was responsible for co-ordinating and integrating sustainability concepts throughout the company.
Nisia is an associate professor at the Petrobras Sustainability Centre of the Dom Cabral Foundation in Brazil’s Minas Gerais state. The Dom Cabral Foundation is one of the leading business schools globally. Nisia has contributed to the social and community development programmes of a range of companies and organisations, and has published extensively on the themes of sustainability and corporate social responsibility.
Panel facilitation in 2011
The panel is facilitated by Simon Zadek, an independent advisor to companies and public agencies on strategic sustainability issues. As well as his extensive writing and commentary on the topic, Simon has facilitated numerous sustainability panels on behalf of corporate clients, and was the founder of AccountAbility and its chief executive until 2009. Simon also advises AngloGold Ashanti on its sustainability strategy.
Commentary from the sustainability review panel
AngloGold Ashanti’s ‘Sustainability Report 2011’ demonstrates a significant step forward in how the company frames and reports on its sustainability challenges and opportunities. Its focus on a small number of strategic, material issues is to be commended, alongside the development of a more integrating lens that views these issues in country-specific contexts and actions. Acknowledging the underlying roots of resource nationalism shows an appreciation of the company’s broader operating context of under-development and inequality in a number of resource rich countries during an unprecedented commodities boom. Furthermore, the company shows courage in highlighting the need to address the growing problem of artisanal mining as more than a matter of illegality.
Seeking to report on this more strategic, integrated approach does raise the bar on what data and analysis are needed. So whilst the report does provide robust, basic environmental, social and economic performance targets and data, there remains more for AngloGold Ashanti to do in specifying the crucial dynamic linkages between stated material risks at both global and country levels.
In this early stage of the company’s new approach, the evolving strategies for addressing risks when stated, at times appear reactive and at others, not yet fully formed. For example, whilst the company’s advance of a human rights framework is to be welcomed, there is a need to clarify its relationship to other risks faced by the company, as well as to the mitigating actions and initiatives currently being undertaken in response. Similarly, while the challenges of artisanal mining and resource nationalism are clearly highlighted in the report, future reporting could certainly make clearer the real impact of these issues on the business, as well as the company’s response – both at a country and global level.
In this regard, we welcome the positioning of community as a strategic issue, and would welcome more information on how the company is contributing towards skills development and youth employment in its host communities. Continuing improvements in the reporting process would address some of these gaps, particularly as AngloGold Ashanti improves the coherence between its thinking, strategy and practice in these areas.
AngloGold Ashanti aspires to be the world’s leading mining company, and clearly sees excellence in sustainability as a precondition for securing success. As it has expanded globally, it has established management systems to build the highest possible quality, consistently, across all parts of the business.
Yet whilst the report rightly focuses on specific countries and sites, there is still much to do to facilitate horizontal learning between operational units, notably on sustainability issues. Furthermore, although there is much in the report on the procedures and process of engagement with external stakeholders, more evidence is required of what has been learnt from these stakeholders, particularly communities. There is a need for more diversity of non-corporate ‘voices’ offered in the report, from employees, communities, or experts and opinion leaders.
This is the first year that AngloGold Ashanti has engaged an external group of independent experts to comment on, and have their views included in, the report. We commend the company for this step as it provides external stakeholders with another level of assurance as to the quality of reporting. In addition, we hope that the process provides useful inputs to the company as it develops its report and underlying thinking and practice.
We would in summarising our perspective on this year’s report commend AngloGold Ashanti for demonstrating both ambition and progress. To maintain this momentum, we would like to recommend some further developments in substance and its communication in future reporting cycles:
- Greater clarity as to the global responsibilities associated with being a global company, especially with regard to employees and communities.
- Specification of framework and associated metrics for measuring community impacts and development.
- Clearly articulated strategy, goals and practice for advancing leadership in addressing artisanal mining.
- Inclusion of independently authenticated voices of employees and communities.
Interaction between the panel and AngloGold Ashanti in 2011
In 2011, the panel spent time with the business, engaging in a range of discussions with executive and senior management and visiting regional operating hubs in South Africa and in Ghana. In Ghana, panel members who participated in the visit held discussions with community members and other stakeholders during a five-day visit to Accra and Obuasi. Obuasi is our largest operation in Ghana and one where we are actively addressing a wide range of operating and sustainability challenges.
In South Africa, four of the panel members spent a full day at our regional operating hub with presentations from all key members of the management team. Two additional days were spent at our corporate office in Johannesburg engaging on the social and sustainable development framework and attending meetings with key management and executive committee members.