Stakeholder engagement and materiality
Effective engagement is a prerequisite to our establishing mutually-beneficial relationships with stakeholders. These relationships, we believe, are essential in maintaining our social licence to operate.
AngloGold Ashanti has a wide range of stakeholders. Relationships with communities, government and regulators, employees, both individually and through affiliations such as organised labour, community-based organisations (CBOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are some of the most critical to our business.
Engagement takes place at a group level with stakeholders whose interests require them to have an overview of the business as a whole, such as investors, employees, organised labour unions, the media, regulatory authorities and certain government and civic organisation representatives. At an operating level, each site is responsible for defining its stakeholders and for understanding the impact of operations on these stakeholders and of their potential influence on the business. Engagement begins from early stages of exploration and continues through to closure.
CRITICAL AREAS OF ENGAGEMENT
We have identified a range of stakeholders with whom we engage in respect of their diverse issues and inputs. We aim to be continuously proactive in our engagement with stakeholders and responsive to their issues and concerns as they arise. Our long-term objective is to create value for all our stakeholders including shareholders, employees, business and social partners by safely and responsibly exploring and mining as we work to deliver sustainable improvement in free cash flow and returns to all our stakeholders. As several operations approach the end of their operating lives, engagement around closure becomes increasingly important, as has happened at Yatela in Mali.
While much of our engagement with government and regulatory authorities takes place individually and on company-specific issues, AngloGold Ashanti has also been active in various industry bodies in all countries of operation, in support of industry positions on topics such as legislation and regulation surrounding the mining sector.
A key focus for mining companies in these discussions is to promote regulatory certainty in relation to the sector. Uncertainty regarding the regulatory or legislative horizon fuels negative media comment, damages investor sentiment, and is ultimately harmful to the industry.
|Stakeholder group and engagement||Issues raised||Impact on stakeholder group and impact on company|
|Locally affected communities and individuals and their formal and informal representatives as well as civic and religious organisations and other groups with special interests|
|Detailed mapping of stakeholders is being undertaken at
sites where information is not currently available, inaccurate
or outdated. We are gathering and organising data relating to
our interactions with communities (commitments, complaints
and grievances, resettlement processes and socio-economic
baseline assessments) and improving measures for evaluating
the effectiveness of community engagement processes.
We frequently build our own capacity and strive to build that of communities, local and national authorities. We allocate financial and human resources to working with communities to ensure that they are empowered with information, consulted on operational issues that may affect them and can effectively provide input on their concerns and expectations in relation to mining sector development.
Refer to the section titled Analysis of our external environment for more information on active engagements conducted in 2014.
||Outward: Unregulated and unplanned impacts on communities could result
in loss of temporary and permanent
access to land and heritage as well
as livelihoods, and could have a
negative impact on health and wellbeing.
Through engagement, our
operations could have an immediate
and long-term positive impact on the
socio-economic development and
sustainability of communities and
Inward: Conflict with communities could delay or impede access to projects and operations, resulting in financial and other losses, and reputational damage. Through engagement, the company earns its licence to operate.
|Government, politicians and regulatory authorities|
|We continually engage with governments on an ongoing basis in all of the regions in which we operate. Substantial direct payments are made to governments including taxes and royalties. In 2014, payments made in the form of taxes and royalties totalled $355m. We strive for transparency in all payments to government, in support of the objectives of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) and in line with our values. In October 2014, a revised policy relating to political party donations was implemented. The policy seeks to ensure that the process of making donations to political parties is supported by a strong business case. During 2014, AngloGold Ashanti contributed $800,000 towards the democratic elections in Brazil and just under $300,000 to elections in Colombia. All donations are governed by AngloGold Ashanti’s values and compliance policies, including its Policy on Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption, and comply with any and all currently applicable laws and regulations in the jurisdictions in which the donations are made, including the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and any other regulatory requirements to which the company may be subject.||
||Outward: A key concern of
governments is the need to ensure
that the benefits of mining flow
through to the state at national,
local and community levels. In
addition to jobs, taxes, royalties
and investment, the benefits of
mining at a local level include
employment, skills development,
local procurement and infrastructure
and service development.
Inward: Engagement is aimed at establishing regulatory certainty so as to create an environment conducive to mining sector investment and development.
|Employees and their families, and labour unions|
|Engagement with employees is a two-way platform of
communication and is critical to ensuring increased
productivity, to maintaining a strategic focus and to motivating
employees to give of their best. Engagement is undertaken on
a wide range of issues, many of which are specific to the local
context. In South Africa, for example, employee indebtedness
is a continuing priority, while in Ghana, the focus has been
to invest in employee education and training to empower
In late 2014, a global employee engagement survey was conducted. Areas highlighted included a firm belief in the company’s values while those requiring attention and possibly intervention were ethics, managerial effectiveness in developing trust, as well as senior leadership practices, where employees would like to see greater consistency between what is said and what is done. Feedback on the survey results has been shared with employees. Areas requiring improvement are being addressed.
Union representation at AngloGold Ashanti operations is high – between 60% and 100% – with the exception being those in Australia and in the United States, where organised labour structures are not commonplace at our operations. Where organised labour structures are in place, we engage positively with the relevant union structures to seek mutually-beneficial outcomes to issues raised. We comply with the local legal and regulatory frameworks as well as with international codes, including those of the International Labour Organization (ILO).
In South Africa, we continued to bring our employees’ organised labour representatives into a more meaningful dialogue on key business issues, with a particular emphasis on the economics of the industry and specific operations, the gold market and the legal framework for the country’s industrial relations. We have agreed with all union leadership for a core leadership team from each union to undertake an entry-level management course at a local university during 2015. In addition to these initiatives, we identified the need for a more direct dialogue between our employees in South Africa and senior management. To this end, the CEO, the COO: South Africa and various general managers undertook mass meetings at each of the South Africa business units for the first time in the company’s history, an exercise that took over a week to complete and covered several thousand employees at each mine, plant and support business.
This was done not only to thank our colleagues for an exemplary safety performance and to apprise them of operational and strategic developments in the business, but also to open the floor to all questions in an exchange that in each case lasted several hours. Informal feedback received to date shows that the exercise was useful for all concerned and will be continued in the new year to help improve communication and ensure a clear and consistent picture of the business – with its opportunities and challenges – is shared by everyone in the region.
The labour relations climate at Obuasi in Ghana remained peaceful through the retrenchment process that preceded the transition to limited operations. This was done in large part to the extensive and open dialogue with all stakeholders, including employees, their families, their organised labour representatives, community and religious leaders, civic organisations and elected officials at local and national government level. We were at pains to provide an unvarnished picture of the state of the Obuasi mine, the issues that had led to its poor operational and financial performance over the past decade, and the plan to restore it to its place as an important economic engine for the Ashanti region, and for Ghana as a whole.
No days were lost to labour relations disputes across the portfolio. This was a significant achievement, given the challenges of the labour relations environment in South Africa in particular, as well as the business challenges posed by the low gold price environment.
||Outward: Improved safety, health
and well-being have marked impacts
on employees and their families. By
understanding and aligning with the
corporate strategy, employees have
access to development and career
fulfilment, as well as job security.
Unprotected industrial action may
have negative consequences as the
company will not compromise on
ensuring the safety of its employees
and its assets.
Inward: Improved safety and health performance has a positive impact on the company. Employee engagement has a positive impact on productivity. Good labour relations reduces the potential for industrial action and promotes a collaborative approach to problem solving in the workplace.
|We seek to engage regularly (at least quarterly) and transparently with local and international media.||
||Outward: Engagement can enhance
understanding of the company, and
promote accurate reporting and
Inward: Successful engagement will enhance the company’s reputation.
|Suppliers, joint venture partners and business peers|
|We seek collaborative and mutually beneficial relationships.||
||Outward and Inward: Stable,
long-term and mutually beneficial
relationships. Development and
support of local suppliers.
|Financiers, investors and potential investors|
|We communicate regularly with our shareholders, investors,
potential investors and the providers of capital, in person and
by email, at our quarterly and annual results presentations,
conference calls, site visits, investor conferences and at one-onone
Underscoring this communication is compliance with the regulations of the various exchanges on which we are listed.
||Outward: Engagement can enhance
the valuation and credit rating of our
company and our access to cost-efficient
Inward: During 2014, successfully arranged new facilities with extended maturity profiles and the easing of banking covenants. A proposed corporate restructuring and capital raising transaction were cancelled after extensive engagement with and feedback from shareholders.
For further information on our stakeholder engagement see SDR Engaging with stakeholders for mutual benefit.
MATERIALITY AND REPORTING
Selecting the issues for inclusion in our reporting is challenging in a company of the size and diversity of AngloGold Ashanti. Our approach to content selection builds on an understanding of the major challenges faced during the year and includes a reflection on what we seek to achieve through our reporting and who we see as the primary audience. For the Integrated Report, this primary audience is the providers of capital.
The materiality process adopted is based on guidance provided by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), of which AngloGold Ashanti is a pilot member, and of the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) G4 guidelines, as well as the AccountAbility AA1000 Stakeholder Engagement Standard. The process involved gathering data from stakeholder engagements which have taken place across the organisation to identify the issues of greatest concern. Surveys within the company and with external stakeholders provided insight into their views of our reporting.
Inputs used to determine topics considered for reporting
* These committees are the Audit and Risk and the Social, Ethics and Sustainability committees.