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Annual report suite 2012

Respecting human rights

“Our responsibility is really about respecting human rights, in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. It is important that our activities contribute to communities and their sustainability, for example, through building a school. But, the principle of ‘doing no harm’ is our primary responsibility.”

{Alan Fine, Public Affairs Manager }

“One of the debates we have had is whether human rights is a separate discipline, like safety, environment and community or whether it is integrated in all the existing ones. Human rights cuts across all of our already existing disciplines, and we probably have around 70% of the substantive issues covered through the current normative hierarchy of the company. However, the human rights framework is needed because we require a systematised approach to ensure that we always take the rights holders’ perspective – the person on the ground affected by our activities. The purpose of a human rights framework is to ensure a human rights perspective in every single business decision, system and process. Importantly, many risk-management systems take the approach of risks from the perspective of the company. What our Human Rights Framework will require, is an assessment of risk from the perspective of the individuals and communities. While it might be argued that almost all of the time there is a correlation between risks to the company and risk to right holders, sometimes this is not the case.”

{Alan Fine, Public Affairs Manager }

We formally commit ourselves to complying with applicable laws and respecting internationally recognised human rights, even when national laws or their application fall short of protecting these rights.

We seek alignment of our policies and practices with the United Nations Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) as endorsed by the United Nations Human Rights Council in June 2011.

Respect for human rights is a critical issue in addressing security – see Securing our people and assets.

What we said we would do

In 2011, we undertook to:

  • completing a detailed gap assessment of existing policies and systems to be used as the basis for supplementing existing policies and systems or, where necessary, creating new ones;
  • developing a framework for human rights within AngloGold Ashanti, including an explicit human rights policy statement; and
  • developing a structure for embedding human rights into existing company processes, enabling systems for ongoing human rights due diligence at all operations and projects, and establishing effective grievance mechanisms at all operations and projects and systems for methodically monitoring the human rights performance of business partners, including suppliers.

Our performance in 2012

Our human rights policy has undergone a process both of limited external and internal consultation and of screening, and is to be formally adopted in 2013. The internal AngloGold Ashanti Human Rights Working Group has been the key vehicle for policy drafting and broader consultations.

The gap analysis that was started last year continued and, in response to the gaps identified, we have developed a Human Rights Framework and an action plan. The gap analysis in itself has been an important part of our process to understand our shortcomings, and as we find gaps we continue to address those through our Human Rights Framework. The Human Rights Framework is the system through which we embed our human rights commitments into existing systems and business processes. It will enable appropriate action to respond to human rights risks that we cause, that contribute to or that are linked to our business partners. It is key for us that human rights is not an add-on, but an integral part of everything we do.

A draft framework was completed in 2012 and will be developed further. A human rights due diligence function will be piloted during 2013.

Three pilot sites have been selected for review and piloting of human rights due diligence, namely Gramalote in Colombia; Iduapriem in Ghana and Mongbwalu in the DRC. Each site is unique in terms of the human rights challenges it faces, its operating context, the maturity of the rule of law; and each project is at a different stage in the lifecycle of mine development. The review process is a reciprocal learning one:

  • a corporate human rights team supported by a regional manager, examines how human rights challenges are managed through document study and site visits, and is informed about what the particular projects in question need to do better protect human rights. The learning forms the further development of the human rights framework and assists in evaluating how capable business planning and risk-management processes are in managing human rights challenges; and
  • informed by the findings, the business unit receives input on how it, from a corporate perspective, is managing human rights, using the UNGPs as a benchmark. It also receives a formulated and agreed road map which is created through an interactive process on how it can improve its processes to better manage human rights risks, and ultimately to better protect human rights, which is the responsibility of each business unit.

During the year, and as part of the Human Rights Framework, the corporate human rights project has continued its efforts to embed and integrate human rights into the organisation. For example, the company has, together with the human resources team, prepared a labour policy covering fundamental principles and rights at work and a policy on Supply Chain and Human Rights and Labour. Our executive committee is expected to adopt these policies during 2013.

Furthermore, work has begun with internal control functions to ensure that human rights considerations are integrated into their processes, and this work will continue in 2013. These efforts include defining human rights compliance obligations, ensuring that all human rights risks are part of our risk system and that human rights risks are audited in the same way that the company follows a risk-based approach in combined assurance reviews and other audit processes.

When there is a concern that a company may have negatively affected human rights, a part of its responsibility to respect human rights is to review and remedy any such impacts. The establishment of grievance mechanisms is thus instrumental to our respect for human rights. These mechanisms provide a platform for those who consider that they have been adversely affected by our activities to raise grievances, and have their grievances examined and addressed. A pilot project in the DRC, conducted under the auspices of the ICMM, to develop and implement a draft community grievance mechanism based on our draft standard on complaint and grievance mechanisms was completed in 2012.

Human rights reporting

Our reporting on human rights performance was benchmarked against that of our peers. While we received recognition in the area of reporting on human rights, we also realised that, in comparison with our peers, we could improve our reporting on performance with regards to fundamental labour rights, in particular child labour, forced labour, freedom of association and discrimination.

Therefore, we are undertaking a process to demonstrate to our stakeholders how, in practice, we respect and uphold these fundamental rights at work, acknowledging our responsibility to know and show that we respect these rights.

Supply chain and human rights

In line with our commitment to the UNGPs, we are also mindful of our responsibility to seek to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts by our business partners, including subsidiaries, joint venture partners and suppliers. Although no supplier screening was conducted in 2012, the AngloGold Ashanti Global Supply Chain department has developed a policy and systems to achieve this in the procurement sphere and the Global Supply Chain has recently adopted a code of conduct and a policy on labour and human rights aligned with the UNGPs. A strategy to implement these is being developed along with a matrix of indicators to support risk identification and management. Adherence to our business principles and ethics is now a standard clause in all new contracts.

While different business units undertake their own procurement with regard to many inputs, they will be required to do so in line with corporate policy.

Key performance indicators

The detailed KPIs for the business in respect of human rights are still under development as part of the framework. In terms of our undertakings for 2013, the main one is to begin the roll-out of the framework before the end of the year.