A less glossy approach to the serious issues surrounding Anglo American’s business would be more convincing

There is often something so skilful, sleek and shiny about mining sector reports that you would be forgiven for overlooking the fact that this is one of the most controversial and criticised sectors in the sustainable development landscape. Anglo American delivers a sleek sustainable development report in a year plagued with union pushback strikes in South Africa, shareholder remonstrations at executive pay and landmark payouts to miners who developed tuberculosis in Anglo American’s South Africa gold mines, with a promise of more lawsuits on the way.

Newly appointed no-nonsense turnaround CEO Mark Cutifani is “Focused on Delivery”, (the title of this 2013 report), and states his ambition “for all our host communities, and our wider stakeholder base, to feel their lives are better for Anglo American’s presence”. However, Cutifani’s opening message navigates around anything that might be even slightly controversial, with the exception of a further 14 fatalities that occurred in Anglo American businesses in 2013.

He stresses water conservation, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, people development and community investment – areas in which Anglo American can claim positive progress. Peppered with upbeat language, this report is skilful to the point that it actually projects a certain credibility.

Connecting the mining activity of...

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Anglo American  extractives industry  sustainability reporting 

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