Gold Fields on track with ESG initiatives

24th May 2022 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Creamer Media Reporter

Gold producer Gold Fields has provided comprehensive environmental, social and governance (ESG) information through a number of recently released reports and presentations.

The company says these address the increased data and information expectations of its stakeholders, including its shareholders, and that it reflects the company’s commitment to transparent disclosure of its ESG performance, opportunities and risks.

The disclosures focus on Gold Fields’ six key ESG priorities – decarbonisation; tailings management; water stewardship; safety, health, wellbeing and environment; diversity; and stakeholder value creation.

The newly released reports provide an update on the implementation of these targets as well as other key environmental and social developments.

The reports, available on Gold Fields’ website, include the online version of the company’s 2021 Integrated Annual Report; the 2021 Report to Stakeholders; the 2021 Climate Change Report; and the company’s ESG webcast.

From the 2021 Report to Stakeholders, in terms of decarbonisation, Gold Fields achieved an 18% reduction in emissions compared with a 2016 baseline. This was achieved through energy efficiency initiatives and renewables projects implemented in 2021.

It is targeting a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030.

However, there was a 1% increase in net emissions, with the company targeting a 30% reduction here by 2030. The report notes, however, that there was a 306 000 t carbon dioxide equivalent emission reduction achieved from projections in the 2021 business plan.

The increased emissions were the result of higher gold production, with a 10% increase in tonnes mined.

With regard to tailings management, Gold Fields is aiming to comply with the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management by 2025, and implementation is currently under way.

The priority facilities are slated to comply by August 2023, with the remainder to follow by 2025.

The company has also reduced the number of active upstream tailing storage facilities to five, with the aim to have three by 2030.

Gold Fields had 75% of water from recycled or reused sources during 2021, with a target of 80% by 2030.

Moreover, there was a 35% reduction in freshwater use from the 2018 baseline, with the target of 45% for 2030.

It is on track to meet both 2030 targets for water stewardship.

The company recorded one fatality during the year, nine serious injuries, and zero serious environmental incidents, a third consecutive year for the last milestone.

The company is targeting zero for all three by 2030.

By 2030, Gold Fields aims to have 30% of the total workforce be women. It is on track to meet this, with women having accounted for 22% of its workforce in 2021.

It is also on track to meet its stakeholder value creation target for 2030, at 30% of total value creation. In 2021, this was 28%.

There were no flagship projects benefitting host communities during the year, with six being targeted by 2030.

The definition of a flagship project is set to finalised during this year.

In South Africa, highlights include 67% women in core mining; 24% women in leadership; $2 121 per employee training spend; and national value creation of $408-million.

“A commitment to sound corporate governance and transparency underpins our work on the ESG priorities. As such we will continue to release information that helps our stakeholders assess our performance and keeps them up to date on the opportunities, risks and challenges we face,” CEO Chris Griffith says.