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28 www. bus- ex. com November 09 Sustainable Environmental and social commitment has been a way of life for gold mining company Gold Fields for many years. Philip Woodhouse explains to Gay Sutton how the company has been formalising its sustainable development strategy and how it's being embedded throughout the company and the supply chain

Gold Fields November 09 www. bus- ex. com 29 gold Sustainable G old is one of those materials that manages to touch us all. At one end of the spectrum, it has played a fundamental role in the foundation of global banking and finance; at the other, it is the basis for many of the most beautiful and decorative forms of art. Behind this glossy and expensive precious metal lies the gold mining industry, run by organisations that are working together to improve their operational practices and establish their corporate responsibility credentials. In 2001, a number of the world's top tier gold mining companies got together to form the ICMM ( International Council for Mining and Metals). " This is a CEO- led organisation and its aim was to set up a platform to promote sustainable development in the industry and enable mining companies to share best practice," explains Philip Woodhouse, head of Sustainable Development at Gold Fields, one of the world's largest unhedged producers of gold, and an ICMM and Global Compact member. The company is based in Sandton, Johannesburg, with operational gold mines in South Africa, Ghana, Australia and Peru. It has a long history of commitment to the environment and to the local communities in which it operates. " Sustainable development is not new to us," Woodhouse says. " We have been investing in things like environmental education, socio- economic development and communities since the 1980s. But we're now consolidating all of this into an overall sustainable development framework." This consists of an overarching sustainable development policy that provides the overall strategy for the business. Underpinning this are eight interlinked frameworks that articulate and define each aspect of the sustainable development policy and provide the management system through which it operates. These are continuously being drawn together, improved upon and refined as part of an ongoing process. For each of the eight policy frameworks, the company is developing a set of practice guide documents which are used throughout the business, spelling out the protocols for dealing with each subject, and exactly what the company expects of its employees. Gold Fields draws together peer groups- committees of experts and managers from across the company- to create these guides. The peer groups do extensive external research to discover the best practice that is available, and combine this with their own knowledge and experience to write the guide. " And the guide has to be realistic," Woodhouse warns. " You can't demand something that is unrealistic for the operations, or it just becomes a moot point. Neither can we be too prescriptive, because we operate in jurisdictions