There is a growing global realisation, supported by scientific research, that nature is declining. People and the natural environment depend on ecosystems and the services these provide for sustained health and wellbeing, as well as economic prosperity. Accordingly, the loss of nature is a serious global challenge, one closely interlinked with climate change and human development inequalities. Addressing these connected global challenges requires an integrated whole-of-society approach.

As a member of the ICMM, Gold Fields takes guidance from their thought leadership and, specifically, we aim to incorporate the newly released Position Statement on Nature into our governance, decisionmaking and disclosures going forward. Specifically we will consider the interconnectedness and linkages between climate and nature as we progress with our sustainable development journey. From a practical perspective, Gold Fields chaired the ICMM Working Group that developed the Position Statement.

As part of Gold Fields' undertaking to incorporate the commitments of the ICMM Position Statement on Nature, we are preparing a Group nature baseline risk assessment, which considers Gold Fields' interface with biomes, environmental assets and ecosystem services at a regional landscape level. This assessment will identify high risk, dependency and/or key priority nature-related focus areas and establish the baseline for our nature-related work going forward.

Our climate strategy, including decarbonisation commitments and efforts, water stewardship strategy and stakeholder value creation priorities will systematically incorporate these risks, dependencies and focus areas.

What is nature?

Nature represents all life and existing systems on Earth, which comprise four interdependent physical realms that interact with society, being land, freshwater, oceans and the atmosphere. Biodiversity is the variability or diversity among all living things.

South African biodiversity initiatives

South Deep reviewed and updated its Biodiversity Management Action Plan. Furthermore, the mine initiated a project to introduce bees, establishing an apiary site comprising 500,000 bees (10 beehives) around the controlled area. The project was expanded by introducing 40 additional beehives.

The second phase of the South Deep mini-forest continued with the planting of 1,000 indigenous trees after the successful completion of phase 1, during which 200 indigenous trees were planted.

Nature-based solutions

Nature-based solutions are sustainable management actions taken to address issues such as climate change, biodiversity and water security. Gold Fields is incorporating nature-based solutions into its climate change mitigation and adaption strategies.

On all sites, progressive rehabilitation is balanced between increasing biodiversity and community agricultural aspects. With considerable seasonal rainfall events, South Deep, Tarkwa and Damang have constructed wetlands to manage surface water flow and increase biodiversity.

Tarkwa is currently trialling a 21.8ha arboretum of IUCN red-listed and protected tree species to promote conservation and trial carbon sequestration potential. If successful, this programme may be expanded across the area managed by Gold Fields Ghana.

Nature encompasses four physical realms, all interlinked with society
Nature encompasses four physical realms, all interlinked with society

ICMM Position Statement on Nature

In December 2023 the ICMM released their Position Statement on Nature effective 1 January 2024, which drew on, and is closely aligned with international best practice, including inter alia the Convention on Biological Diversity, the TNFD and the Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Framework.

The commitments contained in the position statement apply to activities across all four realms of nature, being land, freshwater, oceans and the atmosphere, and cover the four spheres of influence underpinned by good governance and transparent disclosure, as more fully set out in the table below. (Optionality has been incorporated in the landscape and systems transformation commitments to reflect the diversity of member operations, locations and the different means of contributing to a nature positive future.)

ICMM Position Statement on Nature