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Stronger together: Managing biodiversity sustainably with FFI

This year, we renewed our partnership with Fauna & Flora International [FFI] to ensure that we continue to address the dependencies and impacts of our mining projects and operations on local biodiversity. Learn more about our work together and the benefits achieved.

When you mine, certain environmental impacts cannot be avoided.

Mining activities have the potential to affect habitats and species through land disturbance, land-use change and pollution. That’s why biodiversity management is a key activity at Anglo American.

It’s important that we build strong partnerships to ensure that we identify and implement opportunities to improve the conservation of biodiversity, achieve best practice in biodiversity management and identify ways to contribute to conservation in areas where we are active.

Our relationship with FFI

That’s why we have worked with Fauna & Flora International (FFI) – an organisation that can provide strategic advice on biodiversity from an independent viewpoint and help build capacity to manage biodiversity sustainably – since 2008 on a number of different projects relating to biodiversity risk management. 

 "FFI partners with organisations that lead their sectors through demonstrable commitments to being responsible stewards within the contexts of their operations," says Pippa Howard, Director of Business & Biodiversity at FFI. 

"Together, we believe Anglo American and FFI can achieve sustainability objectives that will benefit biodiversity and the local communities dependent on nature. Working with Anglo American, FFI is able to influence decision making, change operation performance and objectives and resolve potential conflict and competition for vital natural resources, such as water.

"This results in the avoidance of impacts to biodiversity and the protection of nature, which is FFI's ultimate goal. Anglo American gains by reducing its footprint, avoiding and managing potentially conflictual situations with local communities and other stakeholders, and is able to make better informed decisions about its role within the landscapes in which it operates. In this way, the partnership with FFI helps to reduce business risk whilst deriving conservation gains.”

What began with FFI reviewing our Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs) at operations in South Africa, Brazil, Namibia and providing advice to the corporate headquarters in the UK has turned into an enduring strategic commitment on biodiversity and conservation.

Key activities and successes

The foundation of the Anglo American / FFI partnership has been built on mutual understanding and respect that has led to the creation of a robust biodiversity strategy, identification of best management practices, and risk reduction at both the site and corporate level.

 

Strategic focus is placed on the application and implementation of BAPs and on the refinement of both standards and tools, which govern the conservation of biodiversity at Anglo American. 30 of our operations implement BAPs, which are approved by mine leadership teams and reviewed on a risk basis. FFI introduced and led site-specific BAP Peer Reviews, critical for achieving measurable reductions to biodiversity impacts.

Working with FFI, we have updated our BAP Peer Review process guidance documents, standards, and biodiversity best practices.

The partnership has also led to a range of further outcomes at both group and site levels. For instance, we worked with FFI to create a high-level Biodiversity Risk Assessment tool that helped identify operations with high levels of risk and opportunities relating to biodiversity across Anglo American in order to prioritise action.

FFI also continues to advise De Beers in meeting its ‘no net loss of significant biodiversity’ commitment. During May 2015, De Beers engaged specialists from FFI to review biodiversity management at the new Sendelingsdrif mine in Namibia and to assess rehabilitation at the Bogenfels mining area.

We also currently work with FFI at our Sakatti project in Finland  a significant Copper-Nickel-Platinum Group Elements project which is currently in the exploration phase. Together the two organisations are assessing whether it is feasible within the landscape to achieve no net loss to biodiversity as a result of our operations.

Looking to the future

For 2016, we are continuing our work together to reassess the biodiversity risks across the Anglo American portfolio.

This work is important from both an environmental standpoint and in terms of investment. It is common now for investors to regard biodiversity and environmental management as a matter of policy or to protect reputation and shareholder value.

Ultimately, it’s to our benefit that we work with FFI to apply standards and regulations to our mining activities. With its expertise and depth of knowledge, we hope that our partnership with FFI remains as productive and valuable in the future as it has been to date.

Discover more about our partnership on the FFI website.

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