JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Long-term thinking helped to generate wealth, mitigate environmental harm, combat poverty and promote development in near-mine communities, Anglo American chairperson Sir John Parker said on Friday.
The company’s 2012 sustainable development report, launched at its annual general meeting in London, demonstrated that leveraging supply chains, nurturing entrepreneurship and developing capacity around operations was helping to create healthier and better-educated communities, foster local economies and mitigate mining-activity disturbance.
The company’s large developing-world footprint meant that its capacity to contribute to the beyond-mining development of vulnerable communities was significant, Sir John said.
To be able to make meaningful change, businesses had to be prepared to engage and understand what really mattered to the people living near their operations, he added.
The role of big business in society had rarely been under such close scrutiny, and some of the concerns that people had stemmed from a lack of trust.
To combat this, Sir John believed that a social compact should be formulated that encouraged greater transparency and accountability, better governance and a shared understanding of the role and value of business to society.
In 2012, new partnerships were initiated in Brazil and South Africa to help improve the delivery of municipal services to citizens.
Enterprise development initiatives in Chile, Brazil and South Africa continued to deliver outstanding results, with nearly 65 000 jobs created and 40 000 businesses supported, half of them run in rural areas by women or young people.
With more than 80% of Anglo American’s activities in water-stressed areas, the company had invested in 60 water-saving projects to reduce projected water use by 6.8%.
Zero harm was the safety target and occupational health steps resulted in 25% fewer new HIV infections being recorded and 45% of HIV-positive employees receiving treatment.