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Sustainable development

Chief executive's statement

Sustainable development

Energy security and climate change represented significant challenges for our business in 2008. The economic downturn may reduce short term electricity supply pressures, but in a number of countries there is a substantial backlog in investment in generating assets. In relation to climate change, we continued to drive forward a wide array of energy efficiency projects, invested further in methane generation projects in Australia and we supported the launch of the Australian government’s Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute.

Water too has emerged as a major factor, both in relation to the impact in various regions of climate change and to the need to manage it in such a way as to meet the needs of a range of local users. Water has been an increasing area of focus for innovation and is a vital issue for the future of our industry.

Delivering a sustainable uplift in the living standards of the communities where we work remains a core goal for our operations. The training of more than 400 managers in the Socio-Economic Assessment Toolbox (SEAT) methodology demonstrates our seriousness. We have also developed global partnerships with leading NGOs CARE International on development issues, and Fauna & Flora International on biodiversity, learning a great deal from our partners in the process. In South Africa, we undertook a review of the social performance of our operations in light of the increasing expectations of our stakeholders that mining should be a catalyst for wider development. Although we are industry leaders in areas like enterprise development, HIV/AIDS and community development, we have recognised that we do not always have the necessary level of professionalism at site level. So, despite the economic climate, in 2009 we are investing in a major programme of internal capacity building with internationally recognised academic partners.