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Gold Fields : Transparency, sustainability key to miner’s success - 4 Traders

Friday, 1 December 2017

After being a category winner in the CSSA/JSE Integrated Reporting Awards in past years Gold Fields came out on top to beat almost 100 other entries as the deserving overall winner for 2017.

The awards provide an important opportunity to benchmark ourselves against those peers which produce good integrated reports. Furthermore, we are able to learn from the judges’ assessments, says Sven Lunsche, vice-president corporate affairs at Gold Fields.

Mining companies normally do well in integrated reporting awards as transparency is key in the face of heavy criticism levelled against the industry by numerous stakeholders. This transparency does not only relate to our financial and operational performance but also how we deal with sustainability issues such as our environmental footprint and relations with communities.

Integrated reporting has supported our efforts to provide information to all our stakeholders, not just shareholders, and explains how our relationships with communities, corporate governance and the environment impact on our value creation, says Lunsche.

He says Gold Fields has been producing an integrated report since 2010. We were one of 30 global pilot companies partnering with the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) in developing the Integrated Reporting Framework. Lunsche believes the fact that integrated reporting is a JSE listings requirement as it is incorporated in the King Code of Corporate Governance, which JSE-listed companies are expected to adhere to, has been critical in South African companies’ global leadership in integrated reporting.

All credit to the King 3 and 4 reports, which have led South African companies to consider extending reporting beyond purely financial capitals to all other forms of capital that are fundamental to their success — , manufactured intellectual, social human and environmental. The Integrated Reporting Committee (IRC) of SA notes that the King 4 Report on Corporate Governance for SA 2016 emphasises integrated reporting and integrated thinking. King 4 closes the circle of integrated reporting that was started with the release of King 3 in September 2009. King 3 called on organisations to prepare an integrated report each year which would reflect the appreciation that strategy, risk, performance and sustainability are inseparable.

This resulted in the founding of the IRC of SA to develop a framework for an integrated report. This framework later fed into the development of the International Framework released by the International Integrated Reporting Council in 2013, says the IRC of SA.

The release of King 4 now closes the circle as it references the International Framework underpinned by the same thinking and terminology. Lunsche agrees with the growing number of listed companies that cite the benefits of integrated reporting. These benefits include the preparation of the report in helping to embed integrated thinking in mainstream business practices; improving the understanding of the true value drivers of the business; promoting a longer term strategic view; improving risk management; and enhancing decision making.

He believes an integrated approach to management is a must for executives in the resources sector.

If you are a mine manager and don’t take into account the needs of your community, or if you start polluting a nearby river, the mine will not be sustainable from a financial, social, regulatory or environmental perspective and could be shut down.

As such, our management team has to think beyond purely operational or financial perspectives and I believe this is reflected in the reporting of most leading mining companies, says Lunsche.

Isaac Shongwe presents the overall winner award to Sven Lunsche, vice-president corporate affairs at Gold Fields.

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