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Emerging global trends

As a global company, we continue to be shaped by the external dynamics in the regions where we operate. We closely observe these longer-term strategic and emerging risks, prioritising them as needed and adjusting our mitigating actions accordingly to protect the sustainability of our business. While many of our top 20 Group risks will remain relevant in the long term, we specifically monitor any developing any emerging trends that will inform adjustments to our strategy. This year we assessed, analysed and recommended ways to remediate the following five emerging (longer-term) trends that have been identified by the ICMM in partnership with Brodie Consulting:



Ubiquity of technology
Tech-led mining will continue to disrupt business as we know it today, and while the expectation is that these disruptive technologies could make our lives easier, it also leads to new and emerging risks to our business.
  • Investing in data innovation to enable real-time decision control and decision making
  • Integrating data across our value chain using real-time data platforms
  • Retraining and reskilling our workforce across the Group – including those employees from our host communities
  • Implementing Gold Fields' innovation and technology (I&T) strategy to improve safety, productivity and lower cost
  • Leveraging the opportunity to transition to a virtual working environment to attract employees in the technology field without the need for relocation


Extreme climate change impacts
The concern for global environmental degradation continues to increase significantly. Our impact on the planet are becoming more evident – heat records across the world are broken regularly, the effects of which are detrimental to native fauna and flora. The pressure to accelerate to a low-carbon economy is becoming increasingly important. Globally, 26 banks are no longer providing direct financing for new coal plant projects. Similarly, mining companies are recognising the importance of reducing their carbon emissions to slow down climate change.
  • Setting time-bound (2030) targets with an accompanying roadmap for biodiversity
  • Aligning conservation efforts with climate resilience
  • Quantifying the financial value of natural resources, as well as our impact on them


New barometer of ethics
The Covid-19 pandemic, which led to high levels of joblessness, has substantially accelerated the erosion of trust around the world and raised increased attention on how companies treat their employees. Furthermore, stakeholders increasingly link being a good employer to being a good business overall, with a company's treatment of its employees as a barometer of trust.
  • Collaborating with key stakeholders to improve the general social perception of mining, and effectively applying the principles of a green and circular economy
  • Integrating our social licence to operate and social performance into business decision-making, ensuring it becomes as important as protecting the health and safety of our employees


Capitalism reforms
There is an increased urgency for businesses to be more responsible than ever before. This requires a renewed focus on purpose and a move away from maximising shareholder value to solving the problems of people and planet profitably. Corporate action is required to transform our current landscape into one that is more inclusive and cohesive by focusing on fairer market outcomes, investments that advance shared goals, and harnessing the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  • Continue linking remuneration to environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance metrics to incentivise change
  • More continuous stakeholder interactions, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
  • Open and transparent communication with our key stakeholders and the general public to further strengthen our reputation
  • Enhancing the compelling narrative on the importance of ESG to attract the next purpose-driven generation


Radical transparency
The importance of risks relating to the regulatory landscape, including compliance, are expected to significantly increase over the next few years. Trust in all information sources is at a record low, and pressure from stakeholders is driving an enhanced focus on transparency and ethical supply chains. It is essential that companies embrace digital technologies to keep up with increasingly stringent regulations, as well as customers' expectations for transparency and disclosure.
  • Developing data platforms that provide real-time data accessible to outside stakeholders
  • Reinforcing confidence in Gold Fields as a mining company by complying with all regulatory requirements
  • Subscribing to transparency-focused initiatives, including EITI, Publish What you Pay (for taxation) and Transparency International
  • Complying with best practice disclosure practices, including the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM)