Page 5: Influences on process development
A number of factors affect the research and development process.
Cost is perhaps the most influential factor. Research does not come cheaply; introducing new technologies is expensive. Investment may be needed for a long time before introduction. It is important that there is a return on investment from the new products or processes once they are launched in order to justify the expenditure on research and development.
Changing technologies are another influence upon product or process development. They provide Anglo American with a different way of meeting the needs of its customers. Changing technologies also have a long-term influence upon planning. Such developments may lead to new processes and the sharing of technologies through technology transfer across the Group. For example, the design and development of a new electro-hydraulic rig has reduced the time needed to drill mine shafts. New developments in conserving and recycling water have made it possible for Anglo American to mine in arid regions of Africa and Australia.
It is also important that primary sector organisations develop their businesses responsibly. Anglo American's business depends on it extracting raw materials from the earth. Anglo American takes a clear and positive approach to corporate social responsibility. Sustainable development is built into all its policies, strategies and business practices. For example, the company has developed a Socio Economic Assessment Toolbox.
This set of procedures, advice and rules helps to ensure a responsible approach to operating in communities. Every decision is assessed for its economic, social and environmental impacts. This ensures that natural resources will continue to be available for future generations.