Skip to main content

WIM – Anglo American Workshop

By 11/09/2011March 9th, 2018News

“Working in Partnership”

Representatives from the mining community gathered at Anglo American’s London offices for an afternoon workshop on 26 July to discuss the value of partnerships on a variety of strategic and operational levels.  Representatives of Anglo American, KPMG, Bain & Company, Care International and CO3 made presentations exploring the values of collaboration between stakeholders.  Topics covered included supply chain developments at the corporate and local level, community development and stakeholder management and a discussion on the social enterprise model.  Click here for the presentation slides.

Anglo American is one of the world’s largest mining companies, employing in excess of 100,000 people across five continents. The company is committed to the delivery of six core values; safety, respect, collaboration, integrity, accountability and innovation.   Some of the presentations delivered during the workshop demonstrate how Anglo American delivers these core values through the development and use of local partnerships.

Key to this, and to the development of successful partnerships, a number of general principles were reiterated in presentations throughout the afternoon. These common principals were:

  • Continuous stakeholder engagement
  • Movement towards a common goal
  • Maintenance of a flexible and adaptable model
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Continuous clarity on deliverables – setting boundaries and expectations within communities
  • Identification of joint actions and timely response

In addition, partner selection remained a key theme. For partnerships to be successful it is necessary to hold the same values, in order to facilitate efficient performance management, optimisation of value within the project itself and further development of sustainable relationships.

Working together

The first two presentations of the seminar addressed the implementation of programmes through partnerships that provided sustainable commercial solutions to the companies in question whilst also adding value and developing capability within the communities or addressing certain community needs.  These were illustrated through two separate case studies.

The first, delivered by Nicole Mason of Anglo American and Naseem Walker of KPMG, focused on the issue of local resources to implement the local procurement strategy for one of Anglo American’s projects in South America.  The need was clear; however, the method of implementation was less straightforward if it was to benefit all stakeholders including the local communities and suppliers.  A significant amount of research on the local environment and local knowledge was required to make this work.

The first challenge was how to harness the right resources and skills to execute a local procurement strategy. KPMG provided interim resources pro bono, as well as assisting in the attraction of more long term resources and facilitation of workshops to plan the implementation of the strategy, to the extent that there is now a framework for implementation.

Wider challenge

The second study presented a collaboration between Anglo American and Bain & Co, aimed at addressing issues facing the wider community.

The project presented began approximately one year ago and centred on the delivery of a long-term pro bono piece of work to reduce rates of mother to infant transmission of HIV in Africa. In response to this issue, the groups pooled resources and expertise to deliver a mother / baby tool that tracks pregnancies through critical milestones of care. 

A concern was the ability of the project team to initially engage with the women requiring support and encourage them to remain in healthcare.  The tool developed will allow the team to monitor where the women were falling out of care and to provide a prompt to engage them to return to care in order to attempt to drive down transmission rates. 

The project team had defined responsibilities; Bain was the delivery engine with the objective of project design, planning, implementation and coordination between various partners whereas Anglo American provided the access to a healthcare management tool already in use in their own healthcare organisation.

Lessons learned

The key lessons learned from these studies include:

  • Perseverance – it helps to have a clear idea of what one wants to achieve and a well defined plan from the outset on how to achieve this goal
  • The main objectives need to be understood within the partnership and all parties need to maintain focus on a common vision
  • The importance of being bold in thinking that everyone is willing to help and never underestimating the power of networking
  • Be patient but not too patient and remain conscious of the environment in which you are working

Cross collaboration

The second session focused on the importance of establishing relationships with other stakeholders such as governments and NGOs.  These, in turn, provide alternative routes for engaging with communities and managing stakeholders.

The main goal of these partnerships is to manage expectations in relation to economic and community development. Critical in this approach is developing the understanding that communities provide the “license to operate” and knowledge sources (suppliers and work force) required to make a project successful.  Partnerships with NGOs are becoming increasingly widespread, and can provide a credible path for mining companies to advocate capacity development and set service delivery standards that can be promulgated across the industry.  NGO partnerships also promote local capacity development for which strong support from trade unions and NGOs is a key element.  They ensure a holistic approach to the development of programme design, service and project delivery requirements.

Joint approach

Anglo American holds partnerships with Care, Fauna & Flora and International Alert. The reason these partnerships exist is to provide a centre of excellence on subjects such as community and development.  They allow Anglo American to think differently on various issues and identify problems or issues before they arise.

Care International is a ‘business friendly’ NGO focused on humanitarian work and long-term development.  Care took the decision that some issues were simply too great to tackle on their own and partnerships with large corporations would allow them to highlight the issues with which they were dealing and come up with joint solutions. 

While not all NGOs are comfortable with this approach Care recognised that companies operating within the extractives industry have a direct impact on many of the issues with which they dealt and that working with these companies was key to addressing the issues.  Economic development in many areas of weak governance is, in many cases, tied to the extractives industry, and refusing to engage with mining companies can put NGOs at a disadvantage.  These partnerships can allow NGOs to impact how individual companies, and sometimes whole sectors, operate. 

There are various challenges and both parties do not always agree. As such, it is critical to establish core objectives. These are as follows:

  •  To develop an understanding within Anglo American of the impact of operations on communicates and surrounding areas
  •  To contribute to and facilitate learning of best practice in mining and socio-economic development
  •  To build capacity of both organisations – identify, design and implement programmes

These partnerships allow the partnerships to jointly develop new approaches to development issues and carry out joint advocacy.

Local impact

The final session of the seminar focused on the model of social enterprise as a means of partnering with various stakeholders and feeding profits directly back into affected communities.  The concept was presented by CO3, a CSR consultancy based in Shoreditch which has recently gained a lot of experience advising clients on the development of social enterprises.

A social enterprise is a business or charity with a principle purpose of generating revenues, which are then used to achieve social development goals, rather than distributed to shareholders.  One of the ways this is achieved is through partnering with local communities.

The model takes a specific skill set from within a community and uses it for commercial purposes.  It is then used to develop a business that will allow the community to start competing with companies and other commercial competitors.

The first step in this process is to address the local needs and then establish how local resources/knowledge can be used to meet these needs.  The practice starts with a partnership with the local communities to set objectives: these are usually set by the community, which is particularly relevant in the development of CSR programmes. 

Social enterprises are still a relatively new phenomenon and there is a general lack of perception as to how they can be used to develop sustainable development programmes in a way that avoids dependency.  An example of how this has been used by the industry is that of BHP Billiton’s work in Guinea with Guinea Alumina.  Their approach is designed to reduce dependence on non-sustainable practices such as subsistence farming and is recommended by the IFC.  This solution saw an adaptation of the social enterprise model to the local environment and community needs.  The approach is still in its infancy within the industry itself, however the aim is for it to become widespread and self-funding.

Note from the CEO

During the seminar, attendees were treated to an unplanned drop-in by Anglo American’s chief executive, Cynthia Carroll, who delivered a brief presentation on the subject of partnerships and Anglo American’s commitment to this approach.  Anglo American is the Platinum Sponsor of WIM (UK) and is committed to raising the profile of women within the company and through the industry as a whole.

Continuing on the theme of partnerships, Ms. Carroll reiterated the importance of partnerships within the sector citing examples of challenges faced in the areas in which Anglo American successfully operates.  Well-established and nurtured partnerships are critical to resolving issues on a day-to-day basis, maximising value to key stakeholders and managing expectations.  Companies are characterised by their approach to partnerships and the commitment to this approach, or lack thereof, can have an impact on one’s license to operate.  No matter the role on the ground at a corporate or operational level; everybody is an ambassador for the company and should be clear on the importance of partnerships and their importance to the success of projects and they can bring to stakeholders including communities.

In addition to addressing this issue, Ms. Carroll touched on Anglo American’s commitment to the recognition of talent within its workforce and how this approach can benefit female employees.  The issue of diversity remains a closely watched initiative and Anglo American has set clear goals on how it plans to increase the role of women at board and management levels.  In addition, Anglo American has been successful in bringing about a cultural change that accepts the role of women on the ground in environments that might have traditionally been thought of as too hazardous.  Rather than address the issue of gender in the work place, companies should consider what best practice looks like and take that approach when deciding on the personnel most qualified to fill a certain role.  For this to be successful, continued monitoring, open channels of communication and engagement at corporate, country and local levels will all remain of paramount importance.