Product stewardship

We work to provide safe and quality-assured products that meet regulatory requirements and industry standards, across the whole supply chain.

Why this matters

We want the products we supply to customers to be of the right quality, and safe for people and for the environment – in line with evolving rules and standards. Our approach to product stewardship helps to achieve this.

Our approach

We have many years of experience in handling and producing materials, as well as extensive knowledge about their properties. 

Yet knowledge, technology and customers’ needs all keep evolving – and it remains vital to maintain a thorough understanding of our products, while staying aware of developing regulation. 

Our Product Stewardship Scorecard tracks and ranks developments in product stewardship, and helps us prioritise the impact of these changes.

Our approach covers the following areas:

As part of our commitment to health and safety, we contribute to the process of setting occupational exposure limits (OELs) for employees for substances we extract and produce.

We continually assess our products, and their associated exposure regulations, in order to set appropriate guidelines on using them safely. 

Our goal is to act responsibly, and in compliance with rules, when sourcing commodities from third-party suppliers.

For example, since 2012, our Canadian refinery, CCR, has had in place a policy on global supply chain management to show that its gold is conflict-free, and that it complies with anti-money laundering standards of the London Bullion Market Association.

Our products may be stored in warehouses or shipped over sea or land – so we have quality controls at each stage, in line with global standards top ensure safe storage.

We maintain more than 7,000 safety datasheets – including variants for different countries and legal entities – covering OELs, safe handling, and responsible storage and distribution. These are available in a variety of languages.

We also follow the UN system for classifying and labelling chemicals, known as GHS; the EU’s REACH regulations on chemicals; and the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) guidance on gold.

We work to share product stewardship understanding of our products with regulators, peers, customers and other stakeholders.

To support innovation in this field, we work with groups such as the Nickel REACH Consortia, the Cobalt REACH Consortium, the REACH authorities and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Our progress

During 2016, we continued to work with regulators on evolving cobalt rules, and to engage with the IMO on rules for safe cargo.

In 2016 we did not produce, process or market any conflict minerals originating from conflict areas, as defined under the US Dodd–Frank Act. 

We worked to find ways to address child labour within artisanal and small-scale mining. We prohibit child labour at our operations and work to address the economic conditions that may lead to child labour in artisanal and small-scale mining. 

Community and human rights

We uphold human rights and support the sustainable, long-term development of the local communities in which we operate. 

Principles we follow

UN Sustainable Development Goals - Goals 8 and 12

Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all

Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

International Council on Mining and Metals Principle 8

Principle 8: Facilitate and support the knowledge base and systems for responsible design, use, reuse, recycling and disposal of products containing metals and mineral

Next steps

We continue to keep track of changing rules – for example, developing Korean regulations; and rules regarding cobalt.

We are continuing to review OELs and consider how best to adapt OEL standards throughout the group.  We will integrate the results of this review into our occupational health programmes.