Our sustainability strategy
Executive Vice President: Sustainable Development
Listen to podcast
Sustainability is intrinsic to our business. A sound sustainability strategy that is effectively executed will provide a basis for competitive advantage through:
- improved productivity and fewer disruptions;
- stronger relationships with communities globally;
- preferential access to resources, capital and talent;
- opportunities to grow our business; and
- enhanced company reputation.
Increasing constraints and complexity in the global, social, natural and economic environments present growing challenges to business sustainability. These include higher-than-sustainable consumption of some natural resources, environmental degradation, rising resource nationalism, a tightening regulatory environment, high costs of capital and rising costs of production, along with unstable economic systems combined with skills shortages, rising expectations of employees and communities and the potential for conflict.
Our response is to embed sustainability into the business, at every stage of our life cycle. We can only generate mutual value in the future if we effectively address and manage our current and legacy risks, and capitalise on our opportunities.
In 2011, we set out our intention in our sustainable development framework to rebuild the way in which we work with and relate to our key stakeholders and, in particular, with our host communities. Good progress was made in developing the framework during 2012.
We are placing increased focus on developing projects in partnership with communities and governments, aiming to undertake community investment in a more consistent and co-ordinated way that enables communities within and around our operations to reach their development goals. This approach requires us to engage with our employees, our host communities, governments at all levels, NGOs, other mining companies, suppliers and others to identify and co-design approaches to deliver on shared goals. To succeed, we need to build relationships based on trust and sustained benefits. Progress in delivering on objectives will be measured by performance indicators that have been agreed upon by all parties involved.
The sustainable development framework aims to take a holistic view of sustainability – understanding connections and the range of possible impacts on our operations. Sustainability in this sense is essential to the long-term viability of our business. At each stage in the operational life cycle, we will therefore define clear long-term positive outcomes in line with our strategic intent, vision, mission and values.
While we have made progress, our sustainability journey continues to:
- address significant legacy issues at some operations;
- integrate sustainability into the business at all operations and in all regions;
- position sustainability in the business to drive our competitive advantage;
- integrate sustainability functions at a corporate and operational level; and
- consistently share good performance and lessons learned across the group.
In going forward, we have as our objectives:
- building a strong framework for effective sustainability practices, enabling meaningful interactions within the organisation and with relevant external partners;
- understanding where our greatest impacts and risks arise and reside, and developing specific strategies to address them;
- integrating sustainability practices, issues and processes into all of our organisational activities across the mine life cycle;
- establishing progressive community partnership models that are based on engagement and co-design, in keeping with our values;
- advocating for sustainable policy development with governments, communities and institutions globally;
- building robust systems and processes for measuring sustainability performance and reporting, and for managing sustainability knowledge; and
- effectively managing global sustainability talent.