Upholding business ethics and transparency
Ethical conduct is the core of integral relationships and underlies all our organisational values. AngloGold Ashanti has in the past two years embarked on a journey to improve our Operating Model and transform our organisational culture. Our ethical commitments have guided us through these organisational changes and informed our dealings with internal and external stakeholders.
We believe ethics are core to establishing and maintaining trust, and that trust is a prerequisite to achieving and maintaining our SLO. Both are vital to improve our business success and sustainability.
AngloGold Ashanti’s business activities are governed by our Code of Business Principles and Ethics and Business Integrity Policy. Our Code is fundamental to our culture of performance with integrity. The Code sets out our expectations for the conduct of our Directors, employees, contractors and consultants and affirms our commitment to the highest standards of integrity and ethics in the conduct of our business. Our Business Integrity Policy sets out our commitment to conduct business in an honest and ethical manner with the laws and regulations applicable in the countries in which we operate, with zero tolerance for all forms of bribery and corruption. The Code and Business Integrity Policy contain standards, provide direction and set forth principles that guide our conduct internally, and our interactions with business partners and parties, and the communities in which we operate and undertake our activities. They also summarise important Company policies and procedures, focus attention on key ethical considerations, spell out prohibited conduct, and are intended to foster a culture of high performance with integrity. Since it is impossible to envisage and provide for all possible situations under our Code and Business Integrity Policy, employees are expected to look to the Code as a guide and reference for living our values.
Progress in 2022
Governance and compliance
AngloGold Ashanti’s Board is guided by its commitment to ensuring sound governance principles and practices. The Company’s governance structures and processes demonstrate our commitment to high standards of business integrity and ethics in all activities. In 2022, 5,390 employees underwent online ethics-related training. More information on our approach to governance is available on our website and in this report: Sustainability Governance.
AngloGold Ashanti is a strong corporate citizen and supporter of transparency and active stakeholder engagement. We have mechanisms in place to report grievances and concerns. Site-specific grievance processes are also in place for employees and communities to report concerns related to legal non-compliance, fraud, bribery and corruption, human rights infringements, and safety and environmental matters.
AngloGold Ashanti’s Whistleblowing Policy is underpinned by a formal Speak-up programme to foster organisational accountability.
In 2022 we officially rebranded the whistleblowing line to the Speak-up line. This involved education on the new line, including posters and links to information on the intranet and corporate website.
Administered by an independent third party, the Speak-up programme aims to foster organisational accountability, transparency, and individual responsibility by encouraging stakeholders to report violations in a responsible and ethical manner. Speak-up allows for the reporting of misconduct (illegal or otherwise) or unethical activity within an organisation for an independent and objective investigation. Results of investigations are communicated to the Audit and Risk Committee and SES Committee, and to the Serious Concerns Committee, on a quarterly basis.
In total, 251 Speak-up reports were received in 2022 (2021: 252). 318 investigations were closed during the year, which included a number of outstanding reports from 2021.
As a company supporter of the EITI, the Group reaffirmed its commitment to promoting the open and accountable management of resources, and the reporting of amounts paid to governments.
We recognise that we must earn and maintain our SLO through partnerships with government and community stakeholders in the countries where we operate, and contribute towards their sustainable future. Our Tax Strategy and Tax Management Policy lays out our obligations to contribute tax revenues to the economies of the countries in which we conduct business.
We continue to exercise diligence and transparency in line with our tax management policy. This includes open and transparent reporting that is consistent with the ICMM’s Mining Principles and updated position statement on the transparency of mineral revenues.
The ICMM, through its Tax Working Group, is advocating the adoption of a project by the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB). This project’s objective is to develop new, specific disclosures related to tax and payments to governments, with significant proposals, including the GRI standards on tax reporting. This will encompass country-by-country tax reporting, including qualitative statements relating to our approach to tax planning, the Board’s involvement in tax, and our approach to engaging with tax authorities globally. AngloGold Ashanti is currently well positioned in preparing to comply with the standard.
Our Economic value-added statement represents the value created and shared with our stakeholders. When developing our corporate social investments, we seek to establish and prioritise initiatives in line with country national development plans. This helps to ensure that we work collaboratively, supporting national plans in education, local procurement, local employment, and infrastructure development, among other areas.
Responsible sourcing, value chain strengthening and local procurement
We are committed to responsible sourcing – looking beyond the traditional aspects of cost and quality, and investigating the labour, ethics and environmental practices of our direct and indirect suppliers.
We recognise the severity of potential human rights infringements in our supply chain and endeavour to support suppliers so that they also conduct their business in a manner that respects human rights. We also support inclusive procurement practices, working with local businesses and communities, and prioritising the employment of people from communities surrounding our operations.
We maintain a strict governance policy across our global procurement activities. Suppliers are expected to adhere to the same level of ethical commitment AngloGold Ashanti expects from its own business. This means that suppliers are required to commit to:
- Our Supplier Code of Conduct: which encourages all our suppliers, including contractors, to align their businesses with our internal policies and codes of ethical behaviour, particularly on human rights practices, labour relations and employment practices, the environment, our anti-bribery and corruption policies, and safety procedures, policies and standards.
- Our Supplier Self-Assessment Questionnaire: an online forum for the registration and disclosure of supplier information prior to contract award
- Our Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Policy: which guides our commitment to and adherence by employees and suppliers to non-negotiable values
- Our Conflicts of Interest Policy: which requires a commitment to and adherence by employees and suppliers and mandatory disclosure of any conflicts related to procurement activities
Our local procurement programmes emphasise partnerships with locally owned and operated companies and, where appropriate, international firms are requested to establish themselves in-country or through a local joint venture. These programmes reinforce our commitment to local host communities, but also increases the transparency of procurement practices in-country.
Targets are set to drive continuous improvement in local procurement for each country, while recognising that capacity building in each jurisdiction takes time. Regulatory requirements do not mandate local procurement requirements in Australia and Brazil, but our focus is on finding local partners in these jurisdictions as well.
Localisation is included in the sourcing and adjudication process for suppliers with preference placed on in-country suppliers. As a signatory member of the UN Women Empowerment Principles and Global Compact, AngloGold Ashanti has also initiated a project to consider the introduction of these principles into our procurement requirements.
615 vendor evaluations were completed during the reporting period, which represents around 71% of our 2022 new vendor onboarding requests. This does not include re-evaluations of existing vendors which are performed on a regular basis and excludes once-off vendors, since once-off vendors do not complete supplier assessment questionnaires (SAQs).
Government relations and reporting
Managing requests by government departments and government officials is a key compliance risk at AngloGold Ashanti. This risk is managed through, among other things, Group policies, site-specific procedures, online and face-to-face training, quarterly books and records review, review of payments, onsite compliance risk assessments, and awareness raising through communications.
Several country-specific procedures address potential risks, guide how we interact with government officials and other stakeholders, and ensure accurate records for payments to government departments and officials or key stakeholders. There are also government payment procedures and petty cash policies that align to country-specific policies and procedures.
In 2022, the Group compliance team continued to strengthen controls to prevent and detect risks, including fraud, bribery and corruption risks, in respect of these payments. We also continued to adopt a risk-based approach to the vetting of third-party agents and intermediaries and now require them to adhere to anti-bribery and anti-corruption policies and procedures, including the disclosure of their payments to government officials.
|Payments to Government ($ million)||2022|
The Group follows procurement guidelines set out in our policy on Engagement of Agents and Government Intermediaries, and institutes site-specific procedures related to payments made to government officials. These processes are studied as part of the site reviews conducted by the compliance team during combined assurance reviews. On a quarterly basis, sites report on payments to the country or regional audit committees. Information is consolidated for reporting to the SES and Serious Concerns Committee.
Towards the end of 2022, improvements were also introduced into the financial ERP system, enabling the recording and reporting of risks associated with strategic, high-value or high-risk suppliers including adverse media findings, financial, production, cyber and country risk. The introduction of these measures will enable reporting and compliance with upcoming changes to SEC and NYSE regulations.
The result of the top 50 high-risk supplier evaluations for 2022 reflected the following:
are located in countries of very low to low risk with regard to political rights with 14% in high-risk and 6% in very high-risk countries. Political rights refer to an individual’s ability to participate in civil and political life of the society and state without fears of discrimination or repression
of suppliers are located in counties/regions that are considered free, while 14% are considered partially free and 6% not free. Freedom in this case refers to a country that protects the civil liberties of its citizens
of suppliers presented low to very low cyber risks, with 12% and 6% presenting medium and high cyber risks respectively. 16% of suppliers do not have a cyber risk rating
of suppliers are considered to present a moderate production risk to the Company, with 76% presenting high production risks, should the supply of products or services be harmed or compromised
We also completed several external regulatory declarations, including the Modern Slavery Statement, Dow Jones declaration, South Africa BBBEE 2021 review, WGC and ICMM declarations. These reviews and declarations lead to an improvement in the Company’s Dow Jones rating and a deterioration in its BBBEE ratings, which is a result of the disposal of the South African operations. A BBBEE strategy is being tabled for approval to return our BBBEE ratings to a sound compliance level.
Among our key areas of focus in 2023 will be:
- Revisiting all standards and policies with the goal to implement updated guidelines and requirements during 2023
- Introducing our new Global Procurement Standard to help ensure that we comply with local content laws and conduct due diligence on local joint ventures to certify that they promote skills transfer and the capacity building of local partners
Ethics are core to establishing and maintaining trust, and that trust is a prerequisite to achieving and maintaining our SLO.