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Gold Fields is committed to upholding and protecting the human rights of our people and members of our host communities. We recognise that our mining activities have the potential to impact the human rights of these important stakeholder groups.
Our Human Rights Policy Statement (www.goldfields.com/policies.php), which is embedded in our Code of Conduct, applies to all directors, employees and third parties (including, among others, suppliers and contractors). The Code of Conduct can be found on our website at www.goldfields.com/ code-of-conduct.php.
Under the Human Rights Policy Statement, Gold Fields commits to, among others:
A Human Rights Steering Committee oversees the work by the various disciplines and regions, and feedback is provided to the Board’s Social Ethics and Transformation (SET) Committee on a quarterly basis.
The Human Rights Policy Statement is informed by and supports various international standards. These include the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the conventions of the International Labour Organisation, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the VPSHR, and the ICMM Principles on Human Rights.
During the year, the ICMM developed Performance Expectations (PEs), which are now included in the requirements for member companies. They introduce a set of internationally recognised, stakeholder-supported, measurable health, safety, environmental and social requirements that can be validated at site level. Group and site conformance with each PE must be self-assessed by December 2021, and audit results publicly disclosed from 2022. A corporate desktop review of the PEs in 2018 found that there was broad alignment within Gold Fields, with gaps identified in human rights due diligence and water stewardship. Processes have been put in place to close the gaps identified.
During 2018, we identified salient human rights issues at a Group level. These are defined by the UN Guiding Principles as those issues that have the most severe negative impacts as a result of the Company’s activities or business relationships. The salient human rights issues for our business are as follows:
In 2019, the Group salient issues were cascaded to our regions who used the same risk analysis method to identify the causes, consequences, preventative controls, and mitigation and damage controls for each of the abovementioned issues.
No material gaps were identified at a regional level for any of the eight salient human rights issues. However, we continue to monitor the efficacy of mitigation controls, conduct training on human rights for employees and suppliers, and use our grievance mechanisms (below) to identify and speedily resolve issues raised by host community members.
Our Human Rights Policy Statement protects the rights of our workforce and upholds freedom from child labour, freedom from forced or compulsory labour, freedom from discrimination (while recognising the need to affirm previously disadvantaged groups), and freedom of association and collective bargaining.
Internal grievance mechanisms are in place to ensure employees and contractors can raise human rights concerns. These grievances are handled by the Gold Fields Human Resources function in consultation with legal teams. Employees can also raise concerns via independent counsellors as part of the Gold Fields Employee Assistance Programme, and make use of Gold Fields’ confidential, third-party whistleblowing hotline. During the year, three grievances were raised by employees regarding harassment and sexual harassment, two of which are undergoing a legal process.
Performance in 2019
Our suppliers are required to comply with the Group Code of Conduct, the Gold Fields Supplier Code of Conduct and our Human Rights Policy Statement – this requirement is a standard provision in all third-party contractual agreements.
An external third-party screening system evaluates new and existing suppliers and contractors on a monthly basis for an array of pre-defined risk categories, including human rights and related violations and/or transgressions. Risk profiles for active external suppliers and contractors with post-screen alerts are then established and mitigation actions put in place.
Gold Fields is committed to responsible materials stewardship. In this context, we support global efforts to prevent the use of newly mined gold to finance conflict. We have voluntarily adopted the Conflict- Free Gold Standard of the World Gold Council (WGC). The standard is applied at all relevant locations through assurance audits. Although we withdrew our WGC membership in 2014, we have and will continue to apply both the standard and its guidelines.
Performance in 2019
Gold Fields’ protection services teams work with both private and public security providers for the effective and responsible protection of workers and assets. All private security contractors receive human rights training during the induction process, and at least annually thereafter, including on the VPSHR. During the year, all aspects of alignment with the VPSHR were completed or are in progress. Security is managed at regional level, because each region has its own specific context.
Performance in 2019
We are committed to addressing community issues and concerns timeously and effectively. Therefore, we rely on a grievance reporting system to maintain confidence and transparent communication with our stakeholders.
Our grievance mechanism enables and encourages community members to freely put forward their complaints, while obligating our mines to address the grievances within an agreed period, before the grievance is escalated to independent mediation.
Performance in 2019