Sustainability Focus Areas

Sustainability focus areas identified through the Sustainable Development Risk Register process are reviewed annually by our Sustainable Development Leadership Team and communicated to the Corporate Responsibility Committee of the board. The focus areas have not changed significantly over recent years and are described here and throughout the sustainable development section of our website.

Sustainability Focus Areas
Artisanal Mining
Illegal artisanal and small-scale miners have limited equipment and expertise with respect to operating in hazardous conditions. The presence of these miners and their associated activities can create concerns of violence and personal safety, as well as concerns relating to child labor and poor and unsafe working conditions.
We own, lease and operate large land holdings around the world, some of which are in and adjacent to areas of high biodiversity value. We manage our operations in a manner to identify potential impacts and, where practicable, implement actions that conserve and enhance biodiversity, including reclamation activities.
Community Engagement and Development
Our social and economic development programs are responsive to issues raised by communities, including vulnerable groups such as indigenous peoples, and help us maintain good relations and avoid disruptions of operations. Nevertheless, social and political instability in the areas of our operations may adversely impact our operations.
As a company with global operations, our business may be adversely affected by issues related to corruption. Our international operations must comply with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and similar anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws of the other jurisdictions in which we operate. Any violation of these laws could result in significant criminal or civil fines and penalties, litigation, and loss of operating licenses or permits, and may damage our reputation.
Energy Management
Carbon-based energy is a significant input in our operations, and our revenues include sales of oil, NGLs and natural gas, and other carbon-based energy products. Increased regulation of greenhouse gas emissions may increase our costs and may also affect the demand for the oil and gas we produce. We have modeled multiple carbon tax scenarios to understand possible impacts, or the range of possible increases to our operating costs.
Human Rights
Our operations may be adversely affected by impacts from security risks stemming from events or activities including political instability, labor strikes, illegal artisanal mining and civil strife. The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights serve as guidelines for our security and human rights programs, interactions with host government police and military personnel, and with private security contractors. We also are integrating the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights into our business systems.
Labor Relations
As of December 31, 2015, 48 percent of our global labor force was covered by collective labor agreements. We engage openly with our employees and union leadership to successfully negotiate labor agreements recognizing that prolonged strikes or other work stoppages at our operations can adversely affect our business and local and regional stakeholders.
Product Stewardship
Our product stewardship team engages both downstream customers and international governmental agencies on sustainability topics. The team also addresses specific environmental and public health areas of interest that affect access to markets for our products within the value chain.
Safety and Health
The safety of our workforce at all of our operations is our highest priority. Although we met the lowest Total Recordable Incident Rate in the company’s history, we sadly incurred three fatalities in 2015. Our Fatality Prevention program aims to eliminate fatalities by identifying and implementing critical controls reinforced by technical training and communications throughout the workforce.
Tailings and Waste Rock Management
Managing the volume of waste rock, leach material and tailings produced in our mining operations presents significant environmental, safety and engineering challenges and risks. We maintain large leach pads and tailings impoundments containing viscous material, which are effectively large dams that must be engineered, constructed and monitored to assure structural stability and avoid leakages. Our tailings impoundments in arid areas must have effective programs to suppress fugitive dust emissions, and we must effectively monitor and treat acid rock drainage at all of our operations.
Water Supply
and Management
Most of our North and South America mining operations are in areas where competition for water supplies is significant. We maintain programs to promote efficient use of water and are advancing alternative water supply projects with stakeholders.

For information on our Sustainable Development Risk Register process, please click here.