Our values, experience and history tell us that we must work in a way that delivers real, lasting benefits for the owners of our company as well as the wider communities in which we operate.
We must care for our employees, respect and care for the environment when we explore, build and operate, and repurpose or rehabilitate the land when our operations come to an end. We must contribute our fair share to local and national economies, including through the payment of taxes and royalties, and do so transparently. These beliefs are the foundation of our views on sustainability.
Our values, experience and history tell us we must work in a way that delivers real, lasting benefits for the owners of our company as well as the wider communities in which we operate. Today, as the world grows more complex, our stakeholders’ expectations are changing, and growing, and spanning all aspects of sustainability – climate change to communities.
For nearly 150 years, this company of pioneers has successfully navigated both challenge and opportunity – and succeeded. We are committed to doing so again in this new decade.
Safety remains a core value, and I am pleased to report that we ended 2019 with a strong safety performance, and no fatalities.
This year also marked progress in our work with communities. Nearly three decades ago, we led our industry’s support for recognition of Native Title – Indigenous Australians’ right to land – which led to the current practice of agreement-making with Indigenous peoples around the world. In 2019, we were pleased to sign several important agreements with Indigenous groups in Australia and Canada, maintaining our ability to access valuable resources, and preserving their access to the benefits our business can provide.
We set new ambitions and targets: our new water targets will help us be better stewards of a precious resource, whether in water-scarce regions or where water is plentiful. We also set a new ambition on climate – to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 – as well as new climate targets: to reduce our absolute emissions by 15% and emissions intensity by 30%, both by 2030, against a 2018 baseline (equity basis). Overall, our growth between now and 2030 will be carbon neutral. And this will all be underpinned by approximately $1 billion of climate-related spend over the next five years.
With the aim of enhancing trust, we also progressed our commitment to transparency this year, not only by disclosing our mineral contracts and beneficial ownership, but also by disclosing additional information about the construction, management and monitoring of our tailings storage facilities.
And finally, once again this year, our focus on partnership continued and intensified – because no business can have sustainable, meaningful impact on its own. Partnership is a core enabler of our sustainability strategy, and I was pleased that in 2019 we were able to form new innovative connections across the value chain, including those to address climate change and skills needed for the work of the future.
And so, despite the challenges ahead, we look to a new decade with optimism, knowing that while companies like ours have more to do, we can still be part of the solution.