IN THIS SECTION
Arrow Overview of Our Performance
Arrow Sustainable Development Policy Statement
Arrow Sustainable Development Framework
Arrow Ethics and Corporate Governance
Arrow Gold Fields’ People
Arrow Risk Management
Arrow Health and Safety
Arrow Environmental Management
Arrow Material Stewardship and Supply Chain Management
Arrow Social Responsibility and Stakeholder Engagement
Arrow Conclusion
Arrow Global Reporting Initiative Reference Table
Arrow Independent Assurance Statement
   
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SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Independent Assurance Statement

To the Board and stakeholders of Gold Fields:

SustainabilityServices.co.za (SS) was commissioned by Gold Fields to provide independent third party assurance over this 2009 Sustainability Report (the ‘Report’, covering the period 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009). The assurance team comprised of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) consultants with experience in environmental and social performance measurement over a period of more than 10 years.

AccountAbility AA1000S (revised, 2008)

To the best of our ability, this assurance engagement has been managed in accordance with AccountAbility’s AA1000AS (2008) assurance standard, and structured to meet the AA1000AS Type 1 (Moderate) requirements.

Independence

SS was not responsible for the preparation of any part of this Report and has not undertaken any commissions for Gold Fields in the reporting period concerning reporting or data collection.

Assurance objectives

Our assurance objectives were to provide stakeholders with an independent ‘moderate level assurance’ opinion on whether the report meets the AA1000AS (2008) principles of Inclusivity, Materiality and Responsiveness, as well as to assess the degree to which the Report is consistent with the 10 International Council on Metal and Mining (ICMM) Sustainable Development (SD) principles and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G3 guidelines, to the extent of meeting the GRI’s B+ level of reporting application.

Scope of work performed

AA1000AS (2008) Compliance

The process used in arriving at this assurance statement is based on AccountAbility’s AA1000AS (2008) guidance, other best practices in sustainability reporting assurance. Our approach to assurance included:

  • A review of Gold Fields’ measurement and reporting procedures;
  • A review of drafts of the Report for any significant anomalies; and,
  • Interviews with the individual responsible for collating and writing various parts of the Report in order to ensure selected claims were reported and substantiated.

Unlike other assurance engagements, site visits were not undertaken to test accuracy of data at the primary source of collection and collation.

Given that this is a Type 1 (Moderate) assurance engagement, the testing of data accuracy was limited to trend and anomaly studies.

Alignment to the ICMM 10 SD Principles

Our objective was to provide assurance over the alignment of the company’s sustainability policies to the ICMM’s 10 SD principles and any mandatory requirements set out in ICMM position statements.

The process employed included a comprehensive desk review of the Report, interviews with relevant company officials regarding the status of implementation of systems, and selective testing of the functionality of key systems and procedures.

GRI compliance

In determining the GRI G3 ‘Application Level’ of the Report, we performed the following:

  • A review of processes employed to define content, context and materiality, as well as stakeholder engagement processes, and the inclusion of reasonable discourses over material issues;
  • A review of the approach of management to addressing topics discussed in the Report; and
  • A review of drafts of the Report to assess GRI G3 performance indicators covered in the Report.

Findings

AA1000AS (2008) – Inclusivity, Materiality and Responsiveness

In general, the company’s sustainability reporting processes are adequate. However, it was found that:

  • Although Gold Fields actively engages an array of key stakeholders, as defined within this Report, the assurance process did not allow for additional engagement to confirm or refute Gold Fields’ assertion that the Report adequately reflects the information requirements of their key stakeholders;
  • Within the scope of a ‘Moderate Level Type 1 assurance assessment’, the Report appears to reflect an accurate accounting of Gold Fields’ sustainability reporting performance.
  • The Report does not clearly afford stakeholders an understanding of Gold Fields’ most material sustainability issues.

Alignment to the 10 ICMM SD Principles

Based on the work done, we can confirm that the company’s Sustainable Development Framework is aligned with the 10 ICMM SD Principles, and that these principles have informed the structure and content of this Report and the implementation of its policies and systems which drive company performance.

GRI compliance

Based on our review of the Report, as well as the processes employed to collect and collate information reported herein, it is our assertion that this Report meets the GRI G3’s requirements for Application Level B (responses to all required indicators, as well as no fewer than 20 Core indicators, with at least one from each of Economic, Environment, Human Rights, Labour and Society). However, it was found that:

Product Responsibility indicators were reasonably deemed ‘not applicable’, and thus were not reported.

The reporting of performance against some GRI G3 indicators requires either data quality improvements, or further detail in disclosure.

Recommendations

AA1000AS (2008)

  • Gold Fields should ensure that stakeholder engagement procedures include an assessment of whether or not Sustainability Reports adequately reflect the reporting requirements of key stakeholders;
  • Gold Fields should improve its reporting in line with the principles of Inclusiveness, Materiality, and Responsiveness, as guided by AA1000AS (2008), seeking Type 2 (High) levels of assurance in future.
  • Future sustainability reports should be designed and developed to afford stakeholders a clearer understanding of Gold Fields’ most material sustainability issues.

Alignment to the 10 ICMM SD Principles

Based on our findings, Gold Fields should demonstrate that this and future Reports adequately address the concerns and information requirements of its key stakeholders, and that these concerns are shown to play a role in informing materiality of the company’s SD risk management process as well as its reporting.

GRI compliance

Having reasonably met GRI G3 Application Level B basic requirements, it is our recommendation that Gold Fields continue to review the process followed in compiling the Report and ensure that further reporting improvements occur to enhance the quality of data required for Application Level B

Conclusions

Based on the information reviewed, www.SustainabilityServices.co.za is confident that this report provides a reasonably complete and balanced account of the environmental, safety and social performance of Gold Fields during the period under review. The data presented is based on systematic processes and we are satisfied that the reported performance data adequately represents the sustainability performance of Gold Fields, while meeting the AA1000AS (2008) principles of inclusivity, materiality and responsiveness. The Report is consistent with the 10 ICMM SD principles. Moreover, and although the quality or quantity of data of some GRI G3 indicators can be improved, this Report appears to meet the GRI G3’s requirements for Application Level B (B+ with this assurance engagement).

SustainabilityServices.co.za
10 September 2009