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Annual report suite 2012

Our sustainability review panel

The panel meets at AngloGold Ashanti, Johannesburg in September 2012

  • Francis Petersen
    (Member: South Africa)
  • Sheila Khama
    (Member: Ghana)
  • Anita Roper
    (Member: Australia)
  • David Noko
    (Executive Vice President: Sustainable Development, AngloGold Ashanti)
  • Nisia Werneck
    (Member: Brazil)
  • Muzong Kodi
    (Member: DRC)
  • Simon Zadek
    (Panel facilitator)

AngloGold Ashanti is committed to continuous improvement of its sustainability performance and uses a structured process to identify sustainability priorities for the business. They are based on the views of external stakeholders, as well as on a real understanding of business and shareholder imperatives.

In November 2010, we convened a Sustainability Review Panel to provide independent perspectives on our sustainability performance. This panel is an international assembly of self-governing experts, facilitated by an external advisor. Many of the panel participants have extensive experience in mining, but members are not drawn exclusively from that sector. The group is partly representative of the geographical diversity of our business, but their broader experience of sustainability matters provides real value to the range of sustainability issues that the company faces.

So as to provide a meaningful base of understanding of AngloGold Ashanti, we continue to build on the panel’s knowledge through ongoing access to information on our sustainability performance and strategy, and through visits to selected sites and the Corporate office in Johannesburg biannually.

During its tenure the panel has spent focused time with the business, engaging in a range of discussions with executive and senior management and visiting regional operating hubs in Ghana, South Africa and Brazil.

In Ghana and Brazil, Panel members visited numerous communities of their own choosing and held discussions with a variety of stakeholders in order to see AngloGold Ashanti ‘through the eyes of the community’. In South Africa, members focused on understanding the challenges faced by a region with declining gold deposits and an extensive labour force. Their mandate was to evaluate the region’s socio-economic development strategy and provide comment on how South Africa seeks to address impacts arising from its transition from a highly labour-intensive industry to a technology-focused model. These views are shared with Executive Management for consideration and, where appropriate, implementation.

The Panel’s role as indicated above is to comment and provide guidance on the company’s approach to sustainability in terms of strategy and practice. In addition, it reviews and makes recommendations on the content and quality of our Sustainability Report, flagging emerging issues which may require closer attention.

As in previous years, the Panel has reviewed the printed Sustainability Report and has provided its commentary in the review letter that follows. However, it should be noted the panel has not undertaken an audit of the report of the company’s activities, and so does not provide any indication of the accuracy of the report or the materiality or completeness of specific elements.

Panel membership in 2012

The Panel’s composition changed during the course of the year. Sheila Khama, Muzong Kodi, Anita Roper and Nisia Werneck continued as panel members. Ruth Mompati stepped down for personal reasons. Francis Petersen joined the panel to provide additional corporate and specifically mining expertise, and to ensure that the panel has strong South African experience and perspectives.

Sheila Khama

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 Kodi

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 co-ordinates the Congo Forum.

Francis Petersen

Francis is Dean: Engineering and the Built Environment at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Formerly he was Executive Head: Strategy at Anglo Platinum Corporation and Executive Vice President: Research and Development at Mintek. He is a non-executive director on the Boards of the Royal Bafokeng Platinum and Pragma Holdings. Furthermore, he is a member of the South African Minister of Science and Technology’s National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI), chairman of the Board of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and a member of the Board of the South African Precious Metal and Diamond Regulator. He is a former member of the Council of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSA), and the Boards of the National Research Foundation (NRF) and Mintek. Francis is also a registered professional engineer with the Engineering Council of South Africa. He is an advisor to the Anglo Platinum Beneficiation Fund and is a Fellow of both the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and the South African Academy of Engineers.

Anita Roper

Anita has more than 25 years’ experience working with business, governments and communities and multi-lateral agencies on sustainable development in both industry and association settings. She has held executive management positions in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the USA. Her diverse skills set includes strategic, organisational and issues management and Anita’s international experience coupled with her interpersonal skills ensures she is comfortable working in any environment or culture. Anita is currently a non-executive director for Pacific Hydro, a leading renewable energy company producing clean power from natural resources.

Nisia Werneck

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 2012

Simon Zadek

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.

External panel review

The company is to be commended for the organisation of the report, the coherence between its parts, and the links to additional online resources, although the Panel has focused in its review and comments, on the written report.

For the first time, reporting on sustainability is more fully contextualised by the company’s core business strategy. This, together with a clear description of the company’s new sustainability management framework, should support improved reporting, in the future, on the links beween sustainability impacts and underlying business performance.

Particularly impressive is the underlying alignment of reporting on sustainability and business-related material issues and risks through the company’s integrated approach to reporting and internal assurance in compliance with South Africa’s progressive corporate governance requirements. The clear description of how its internal risk management handles sustainability impacts indicates a growing embeddedness of sustainability into the company’s daily business.

Effectively communicating performance and impact is at the core of what the report must deliver. This year’s report continues the positive trend in more fully explaining how the company determines material sustainability issues, and then reporting against these issues. It is also encouraging to see continuous improvements in the description and measurement of performance specifics. The summary of what has been achieved during 2012, measured across key goals and targets, provides an easy-to-access means for the reader to assess whether, and how, such strategies, frameworks and management systems translate into real, positive changes.

Stakeholders would benefit, however, from a more thorough treatment in future reporting of several issues highlighted by the company as material.

  • Health and Safety: Reporting on the major improvements in safety standards that have been achieved would benefit from some benchmarking. Health issues, notably silicosis, have been highlighted in the CEO’s letter but more could be explained on the science of what is possible and what the company has achieved across its global operations.
  • Community development impacts, with a particular focus on economic benefits through leveraging the company’s procurement, including how longer-term opportunities linked, for example, to technology upgrading can be realised.
  • Technology upgrading, which provides a basis for the company’s viability, especially in deep mines such as those in South Africa, as a means to improve worker safety, and economic benefit for a potential host country through associated R&D, production and maintenance.
  • Mine closure from its policies and financial provisioning through to its restitution planning and work with particular communities in developing alternative livelihood strategies.

More information on the company’s targets, including the basis on which they are set, would provide clarity on its ambitions and greater continuity between reports.

The tragic events in Marikana, South Africa, over 2012, and the associated strikes and social unrest that impacted AngloGold Ashanti, have rightly been highlighted in the report. The CEO’s letter, in particular, provides important insights into careful consideration, at all stages, of the best way for the company to respond, taking account of the immediate circumstances and longer-term implications. Given the CEO’s indication of the longer-term significance of these events, it would be important for the company to provide greater depth on this; if not in this report then through stakeholder engagement channels and reporting in future.

Stakeholder engagement is a core aspect of sustainability. AngloGold Ashanti has continued to improve its engagement with a range of stakeholders, as described in the report and noted by the Panel through its country and corporate-level assessments. Such engagement has, positively, extended into more difficult areas on specific issues such as artisanal mining, in particular places such as Ghana, and with notable stakeholders such as sustainability-focused investors. While the report is principally a vehicle for the company’s own voice to be communicated, there is considerable value in reflecting the views of stakeholders articulated through engagement. It is unfortunate, therefore, that the report once again does not reflect the views of key stakeholders, notably workers, communities, governments and investors. The Panel hopes that this shortfall can be remedied in next year’s report.

Learning, responsiveness and innovation, as a means of driving sustainability but also as one of its business benefits, have been a core focus of the Sustainability Panel in its country visits, which have to date included Brazil, Ghana and South Africa, as well as in its ongoing interactions with the corporate team. The report’s more open approach to discussing the company’s response to unexpected developments has been positive, particularly in its approach to human rights and, more generally, its handling of dilemmas. The Panel would recommend a more systematic treatment of this core dynamic in future reports to broaden its application across all major sustainability issues and business areas.

In summarising our perspective, the Panel wishes to commend AngloGold Ashanti for progress made, and to urge the company to continue this by acting on several recommendations in next year’s report:

  • greater focus on setting and measuring progress against longer-term, ambitious goals and targets;
  • support for stakeholder education and insights by further development of dilemma and learning-linked reporting.
  • improved analysis and performance measurement of key issues, including health and technology-related impacts;
  • inclusion of independently authenticated key stakeholders, including voices of employees and communities; and
  • more in-depth coverage of several material issues, including community development, mine closure, health and technology-related goals and impacts.