Putting social performance at the heart of our business

By Cynthia Carroll, Chief Executive Officer, Anglo American

Putting Social Performance at the Heart of Business

Anglo American’s Socio Economic Assessment Toolbox (SEAT) updated and now available

With a significant footprint in the developing world, Anglo American is in a unique position to improve the prospects of communities by providing jobs, supporting local procurement and, indirectly, by funding major infrastructure development through the taxes and royalties we pay. We’re also able to use our scale and experience to drive wider social and economic development to uplift communities and deliver sustainable benefits.

Our industry, as well as doing enormous good, is dynamic and has a bright future. Our commodities fuel growth in developing countries and are central to the 21st Century global economy. For all of these reasons, our 150,000 employees and contractors across the world can feel proud.

However, we cannot ignore the fact that our industry does have a negative legacy. Not all miners have acted responsibly in the past and sadly, some mining companies continue to act irresponsibly. This makes it even more important that responsible, modern mining companies like Anglo American take the lead to set the highest standards in the industry.

At Anglo American, our commitment to sustainability, partnership and open, honest engagement with our stakeholders is at the core of our values. It is central to how we think and it is at the heart of how we conduct our business. We know that responsible mining offers compelling opportunities for economic and social progress and we have a great story to tell about the benefits we bring to society and our commitment to acting responsibly.

I am committed to using our core business to build capacity in the communities around our operations. But how do we do this? The challenge is understanding in detail the effect we have and then working with our stakeholders to create the best possible social and economic benefits, tailored to the needs of each individual community.

Anglo American’s Socio-Economic Assessment Toolbox (SEAT), which I am pleased to report has recently been updated and made publicly available, is the cornerstone of our commitment to improving our operations’ understanding of their socio-economic impacts, both positive and negative. It provides international best practice guidance on the management of socio-economic performance that is at the same time rooted in the practicalities and commercial considerations of our business. It sets out a framework to build a constructive, open-minded and candid dialogue with our stakeholders. It helps us create greater internal capacity in the management of social issues, by providing guidance and tools to practitioners at our operations and projects. It embeds a transparent and accountable approach to social performance management at the heart of our business. And it drives creativity in addressing the challenges that emerge with clear and, where required, quantifiable targets for improving performance.

Above all, SEAT is integral to how we manage our business performance and provides guidance on how to implement the mandatory requirements set out in the Anglo American Social Way – our standard for managing our social performance – with progress reviewed by each of our operations every three years. There are numerous examples of how SEAT is making a positive difference to our business and the communities in which we operate. It also informs our local procurement decisions. It is integrated into our on-going risk management processes. It is used to provide guidance to capital projects implementing their stage gate requirements. It forms part of the annual appraisal process for our senior managers.

Since its launch in 2004, SEAT has been used at over 50 operations in 16 countries. The International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) selected SEAT for its 2012 Corporate Initiative Award, describing it is a “unique attempt by a major company to incorporate impact assessment into the on-going management of major operations”. This success reflects the whole-hearted commitment of senior management and their teams to implement SEAT.

This is the third version of SEAT, and I would like to thank our external partners – particularly, CARE International, Fauna & Flora International and International Alert – as well as the experts across our Business Units and Group functions, for working with us to ensure SEAT remains “best in class” and business-relevant.

This version of SEAT includes important updates to ensure that it reflects new innovations in the management of socio-economic performance. It also takes into account advances in understanding within the business and international development communities of the role businesses can play in combining commercial success with development impact at scale. Moving beyond CSR to think about how we leverage our core business is absolutely central.

For the first time, we have decided to make SEAT publicly available as an example of best practice guidance on the management of socio-economic performance. Our hope is that publishing SEAT will inspire other private and public sector organisations to manage and monitor their socio-economic performance in a responsible way.

SEAT is pioneering in the way that it hardwires structured engagement with our stakeholders across Anglo American’s operations: helping us ensure our business delivers widespread benefits to the countries and communities in which we operate. I believe SEAT is essential to our success as a business, and helps differentiate Anglo American as the partner of choice.

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