OPINION: De Beers CEO highlights the importance of sustainable leadership

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In De Beers’ Report to Society, Bruce Cleaver reflects on his first 12 months as chief executive officer, and highlights the need for sustainable leadership…

What do we want to be remembered for?

As I come to the end of my first year as CEO of De Beers Group, this is a question I have thought about a lot.

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We are the world’s leading diamond company and, therefore, we have a responsibility that reaches far beyond our bottom line. First and foremost, that responsibility is to the people working with us and in the communities around us.

Sadly, there were two fatalities at our operations in Botswana and Namibia last year. They provided a stark reminder that we should never lose focus on keeping safety as our top priority at all times. No one should ever come to harm when at work.

We must all work together to deliver on a commitment of creating shared value with everything we do, in a safe and sustainable way.

With this in mind, we take a multi-faceted approach to socio-economic development, from creating local employment and procurement opportunities, to promoting enterprise and skills development.

Equally important when mining nature’s treasures is our treasuring of nature. We now maintain 164,000 hectares for conservation, an area five times larger than that affected by our mining activities.

But none of our work is possible without strong partnerships.

In 2016, we renewed our focus on strengthening these and, in the process, made around US$5 billion in payments to stakeholders, including partners, joint ventures and suppliers, across the world.

Through all of this, we continue to generate value for the societies around us and will leave behind far-reaching benefits that will continue to be realised long after our mines close.

This should be our legacy and it is one worth being remembered for.

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