As part of our 2021 emerging risk analysis, we took a broader perspective and considered relevant risk reports and surveys published by Ernst & Young, the World Economic Forum, Global Risks and Deloitte & Touche, and integrated their findings with the work done last year on emerging risks by the ICCM in partnership with Brodie Consulting. 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, including them in our strategic planning reviews and adjusting our mitigating actions accordingly to protect the sustainability of our business. While most of our top 10 Group strategic risks will remain relevant in the long term, we specifically monitor any developing and emerging trends that may affect our business in the long term and could require changes or adjustments to our strategy.
Embedding ESG priorities into the business and adapting to extreme climate change impacts
The adoption of ESG standards has become a basic requirement for most large companies and investment funds. Globally, ESG assets are on track to exceed US$50tn by 2025, representing more than a third of the total projected US$140tn in total global assets under management. Currently, in the eyes of the public, the biggest societal ESG drivers appear to be climate change and diversity. Looking at the mining industry, the opportunity for transformation lies with the adoption of green energy to replace carbon-based sources. More broadly, the emerging trends suggest that the fundamental principle underpinning successful ESG transition will be integrating ESG commitments throughout the business. Furthermore, more sustainable investments may result in the creation of social, environmental and economic value.
Impacts of introducing new technology
Digital transformation – or the shift from largely isolated physical systems and technologies to integrated virtual, real-time, data-driven ones – offers huge opportunities for mining. It provides a way to leverage data for enhanced decision-making, quickly simulates changes to the value chain, and analyses the impact of new technologies and designs before implementation, among many other benefits. It will also open the doors to a new generation of younger, diverse talent with the vision and cultural expectations required for more agile mining and metals companies.
New barometer of ethics
The Covid-19 pandemic, which led to high levels of unemployment, substantially accelerated the erosion of trust around the world and highlighted how companies treat their employees. Furthermore, stakeholders increasingly perceive being a good employer with being a good business overall, with a company's treatment of its employees as a barometer of trust.
There is an increased urgency for businesses to be more responsible than ever before. This requires a renewed focus on purpose and moving towards integrating shareholder value with solving the problems of people and the planet. 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, stakeholder value creation and harnessing the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
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.