Message from the Chief Sustainability & Corporate Affairs Officer
Our 2022 Sustainability Report provides some important points of progress and reflection for AngloGold Ashanti.Stewart Bailey
Chief Sustainability & Corporate Affairs Officer
We were able to report that the year saw a continuation of improvements in the most important measurements we use to assess our performance, in the spheres of environmental management, health and safety, and governance.
We are particularly gratified that there were zero occupational accident fatalities at any of our managed operations around the world. And there was also a 41% reduction on the previous year in our total recordable injury frequency rate, which is an important indicator of improved safety performance.
Our efforts to “do no harm” are reflected by the fact that 99.9% of the security personnel employed by our operations, or those who are contracted to our mines, were trained in 2022 on adherence to the human rights standards to which we are committed.
We are also making progress in environmental management, with our greenhouse gas emissions more than two thirds lower than 15 years ago. Environmental incidents have also reached an extremely low level. In 2022 the Company launched its Roadmap to Net Zero. That’s our programme to reduce our carbon emissions further.
You will read about many more of these aspects of our work in this report but, of course, for a company like ours that touches so many people and communities, we can’t report on everything. We have been deliberate about reporting on what is important to us.
We undertook a comprehensive materiality assessment during the year, supported by an independent third party. They spoke to our internal leaders and a number of stakeholders – representing external bodies like the ICMM, the World Gold Council, the EITI and GRI. They also spoke to senior government officials and our shareholders, as we sought to get a very wide depth and breadth of opinion in surfacing those issues that are most important to the success of the business, and that stakeholders believe are most important in the decision-making, in respect of our Company.
We then took this one step further and canvassed through an online survey an even larger number of stakeholders, both internal and external. That is how we arrived at the 10 most important material issues that we report on. We also recognise that these issues are multi-faceted and interlinked and so we hope that in our reporting and in our stories that we tell through our case studies, that we provide a much bigger picture.
This annual report is important to us. Not only does it share with stakeholders what we have done, but it also places on record our targets and how we plan to achieve them. In this year’s report, we put in place new targets to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by a further 30% by 2030. We have also shared some of the specific programmes that should enable us to achieve that target, mainly through switching to a far greater proportion of renewable and more efficient thermal energy sources.
Reporting without action amounts to little, however. And so, it is on this ground – with employees and communities – that our engagement is so very important, and where we will ultimately be judged.
Maintaining our social licence to operate is a critical factor of our success. And we hope to demonstrate through this report some of the ways in which we can and do make a substantial contribution to the people who make up this business, both inside it and in the communities that are our neighbours.
A compelling case can be made, we believe, that we have lived up to our intention of ensuring that the communities and countries in which we live and work are better off for AngloGold Ashanti having been there.
Mining is a fly wheel for development in many areas in which we operate, in both in the developed and developing world. Look at Nevada – it offers a great example of exactly this – when Las Vegas was closed down due to COVID-19, affecting tax income from the hospitality and entertainment industries, that is so fundamental to that state’s income, the gold industry in the north of the state was there to keep the state afloat.
Where our industry operates in remote, underdeveloped jurisdictions, the mines are creating jobs that pay some of the country’s highest wages. We create engineers, metallurgists, accountants, and entrepreneurs all the way through our value chain, changing so many lives for the better.
So long as we continue to be transparent, to do no harm, and that we maximise employment and economic development generally, that is what is important in maintaining our social licence to operate.