Working for sustainable development in primary industry
An Anglo American case study

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Page 5: Commitment to stakeholders

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Anglo American's Chief Executive, is interested in 'all the things that make the difference between a company that will be here for years - or one that will sustain over centuries.'  He believes that, in order to assess a company's true worth 'you need to look at how well it treats its people and the environments and communities in which it operates'.

Anglo American requires all its significant operations to have Community Engagement Plans. These are 3-year plans that local managers shape and review with all significant stakeholders. Thus, the Company is better placed to understand and respond to community concerns.

Anglo American recognises that it can use its core business to contribute to the development of human and social capital where it operates. For example, it helps to improve local provision of transport, communications, power, water and other services. The Company invests in the development of its employees and supporting bursaries, educational and health facilities. The company does this because it believes firmly in its principles and acts upon them for the benefit of all its stakeholders in the long run. Investment in education and healthier communities provides a happier and more effective workforce.

One of the best examples of this investment in human capital is Anglo American's provision of anti-AIDS drugs to employees in South Africa (almost a quarter of its employees are HIV ). In August 2002 the company announced that it would provide its miners with the same anti-retrovirals that have helped arrest AIDS in the developed world. This decision made headlines worldwide because the Company recognised a problem that many people felt that the South African Government was largely bypassing at the time.

Anglo American could have argued that HIV/AIDS was a problem for society as a whole, not a company concern. However, it chose to act because it believes that business has a wider social responsibility as part of the process of sustainable development. Anglo American's action encouraged the government and other companies to provide these drugs.

More recently, Anglo American has developed a leading-edge Socio-Economic Assessment Toolbox (SEAT) as a means of further improving the impact of its activities. Wherever a natural resource is depleted, it seeks to balance this by improving human and social capital and minimising any environmental impacts. For example, creation of training programmes for local people and support for the development of local businesses.

It investigates the long term impact - i.e. over the next generation - of Anglo American moving into an area. Managers work with local communities to investigate future impacts and to enhance the development of social and human capital. The Group positions itself as the partner of choice in sustainable development projects through such investments.

Anglo American | Working for sustainable development in primary industry