from South Africa, to 4,000 metres above sea level in the Andes mountains of Peru, to the outback of Australia and the tropical climates in Ghana." When it comes to disseminating the guides and implementing the policies, " the approach we take is: here is the soccer field. Play on the soccer field and everyone will be happy. Stray off the soccer field and we'll have to take corrective action," Woodhouse says. From the corporate governance perspective, Gold Fields complies with two international standards: the King Report on Corporate Governance in South Africa 2002 and the Sarbanes Oxley act. It has a full set of protocols in place for both and is currently working on aligning with the third version of the King Report, which will be coming out shortly. The main thrust of the company's ethics and corporate governance policy, though, has been to set up a code of ethics. " This has been in place for quite a few years," Woodhouse explains. " It spells out the behaviour we expect from our employees and aims to ensure they act in a manner beyond reproach." The code provides user friendly guidance on how employees should deal with all issues to ensure ethical behaviour. Policing behaviour is not always easy, though. " To support that, we make use of an independent third party tip- off provider," Woodhouse explains. " So if anyone suspects someone is not adhering to our code of ethics, they can phone the hotline, which is anonymous. We investigate from there, and we have a whole protocol on how we investigate and close out on these issues." On the subject of human rights, Gold Fields has developed a range of general practice guides on issues as wide ranging as freedom of association and upholding the right for cultural difference. Many of the guides are also aimed at issues that are pertinent to specific locations. In Ghana, for example, illegal artisanal mining is prevalent, so a guide has been developed to provide ways of dealing with this. The company is now looking at further embedding human rights awareness throughout the organisation. " Recently, we have been putting together a training tool kit which can be used to train our employees in both the issues and their obligations. We began by doing some high level human rights training with acknowledged experts for senior management, and now we're rolling out a formal programme throughout our operations," Woodhouse explains. This will become part of the induction training for new employees, as well as for contractors coming on site. The Gold Fields risk management framework is also very well defined and is approached from several angles. 30 www. bus- ex. com November 09
Gold Fields November 09 www. bus- ex. com 31 Each operation analyses the possible risks to the smooth running of its business and enters the information into a risk register which is updated quarterly. All identified risks are evaluated for significance and mitigating actions are assigned. Corporate office reviews these registers, ensuring that cross pollination occurs across the sites and that knowledge is shared. Meanwhile, a sub- committee of the board of directors reviews the approach to the wider picture of risk management, and the strategies that have been developed to mitigate these risks. " We look at a huge range of things, from what would happen if oil prices surge or the gold price crashes, through to how we will cope with climate change, the risk of political instability in the countries in which we operate, or what we would do in the event of a major natural disaster," Woodhouse explains. " The evaluation process is very important in this. We have a matrix that looks at the consequences of a risk versus the probability of the risk actually manifesting itself." The responses are then tailor-made to the situation. To mitigate environmental risk, for example, Gold Fields has become ISO 14001 certified at each of its sites, but continues to look for ways to reduce potential environmental risk even further. " With climate change, the probability is very high- we know it's happening," he points out. " The consequences are fairly low at the moment, but will be much higher in the future. One of the actions we've taken is to employ independent external parties to help us develop a long term strategy for dealing with this- a strategy against which we can measure ourselves." On occasion, Gold Fields is able to remove a risk completely, but even then, risk management on that issue is never simply discontinued. " We archive the risk so that we can revive it if necessary. Risk management is a constantly evolving process," he explains. As one might expect, Gold Fields also has a well established health and safety policy, along with the relevant supporting documents and framework. As part of this, it has gained OHSAS 18001 certification; and uses the health and safety management systems to drive the process of continual review and improvement. " We have, for example, put together a Safe Production Rules document, which states our golden rules- the rules you just don't break. And in this case, they really are prescriptive. For example, wearing your personal protective equipment is non- negotiable- thou shalt!" One of the key pillars of Gold Fields' environmental policy and management system is ISO 14001 conformance, which is independently audited at each site. There is a formal incident reporting process in place that reports regularly to the board. But again, policies constantly need updating and new guides need to be created. The company is currently working on a new biodiversity practice guide, which will shortly be added to the list. " We're also in the process of finalising our climate change strategy, which will then be integrated into a practice guide," Woodhouse says. From the environmental perspective, the company has also been focusing on ways of becoming more energy efficient. A member of staff in Perth, Australia, is specialising purely in this and has a number of projects underway, including a wind resource modelling project to determine the feasibility of using wind power, and installing a 720 kilowatt array of solar panels at the Agnew mine to power the offices. " He's been instrumental in numerous projects that effect gains in energy efficiency, from influencing practices at the sites through to even making sure our haul roads are designed properly to reduce our diesel consumption," reveals Woodhouse. Combining these initiatives with simple energy management plans such as replacing old light bulbs with energy efficient ones has improved energy efficiency by some 10 per cent across the organisation. The company is also looking at innovative ways of aligning with best practice principles in terms of reducing carbon footprint. " At our Beatrix mine we encounter pockets of methane gas which are liberated as we mine," says Woodhouse. " They're a serious safety risk because methane is potentially explosive if encountered in high enough concentrations. Being mindful of this risk, we deploy a whole suite of control actions to ensure the safety of our employees; but there is also an opportunity to capture the gas, and use it to run a power- generating steam turbine. And this links to our risk register," he continues. " Energy is going to become more expensive in the future so we've got to become a lot wiser as to how we use energy in our operations- and we need to capitalise on all of our opportunities. Thus, our strategic management systems are not only designed to mitigate potential risks but also geared to identify and capitalise on potential opportunities." Power consumption across the company, along with all the environmental initiatives, is reported to a sub- committee of the board known as the Safety, Health and Sustainable Development Committee. " This committee is responsible for ensuring we continue to live by our sustainable development policy framework," explains Woodhouse. " One of the important metrics they monitor is how many gigajoules of energy we are using to produce an ounce of gold. So far, we've shown a downward trend on that.