SUSTAINABILITY

Product stewardship

Our products are essential to enabling modern life. We work to provide safe and quality-assured materials 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. We work to share our understanding of the product stewardship for our products with regulators, peers, customers and other stakeholders.

As knowledge, technology and customers’ needs are continuously evolving, 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. 

We 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 2017, the European Union’s (EU) Conflict Minerals Regulation was finalised. It will come into force on 1 January 2021 and all affected companies will need to have in place appropriate measures by the end of 2020. The new regulation requires that all EU importers of 3TG (tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold) meet international responsible sourcing standards, set by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). We are well placed to meet the requirement of the upcoming legislation.

In 2017, we did not produce, process or market any conflict minerals originating from conflict areas, as defined under the US Dodd–Frank Act. 

We also 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. 

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 and responsible sourcing initiatives and engage with stakeholders and customers to build recognition of our responsible practices. We will also continue to participate in the development of initiatives and policies to avoid overly cumbersome supply chain requirements.

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.