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Each year, we review the sustainability issues that are important to our business and those our activities affect. Through a multistage engagement process, we talk to subject specialists and representatives from key stakeholder groups to understand their most material issues. 


The 20 material issues reported in the 2014 Report to Society provided the input for the 2015 materiality process. These were identified through an in-depth review of our risk logs, media coverage, and stakeholder engagement in 2014.


The 20 issues were reviewed and prioritised in interviews and a round-table discussion with key internal stakeholders.


External stakeholders and sustainability experts reviewed the updated issues at our annual multi-stakeholder forum, in discussion with our internal teams.


It was agreed that the 20 issues identified in 2014 remained the most material for 2015, and would form the basis of the 2015 Report to Society, with recommendations made for the 2016 materiality process.

The findings from this process define our sustainability strategy and reporting priorities for the year.

The 20 issues areas discussed are laid out below.


The extent to which companies drive economic growth in producer countries through commercial activities (Internal/External).

Activities to increase economic participation in the value chain in countries of production, so local citizens can add to, and derive benefit from, natural resource production (Internal/External).

The development of skills, businesses and infrastructure associated with direct and indirect employment, preferential procurement, enterprise development and social investment (Internal/External).

Transparency in oversight of strategic decision-making within the business, and public disclosure of payment to governments through taxes, royalties and charges (Internal/External).


Appropriate social, environmental, and ethical standards throughout the diamond pipeline and sector (External).

The theft of diamonds from operations throughout the value chain and their distribution to market, impacting profitability, and reducing diamond revenues to government and other stakeholders, and associating diamonds with criminality (Internal/External).

Ensuring our commitment to respect the human rights of those touched by our value chain is embodied in our policies and processes in a meaningful and impactful manner (Internal/External).

Ensuring that The De Beers Group of Companies competes fairly and without improper influence in accordance with the laws of the countries in which it operates and international best practice (Internal/External).


Actions to attract and nurture the skill sets and talent needed for the current and future success of the business and industry (Internal).

The incidence of occupational injuries, illnesses and fatalities as a result of business operations (Internal).

Activities to ensure the right conditions are in place to allow for equal participation in the workforce in order to reflect the communities in which we operate (Internal).

Testing, support and treatment for our employees and contractors, and broader initiatives to promote awareness and wellbeing in the communities where we operate, and where HIV is prevalent (Internal/External).


Activities to support sustainable local economies and communities, including social investment, infrastructure development, local employment and procurement, and enterprise development (External).

The social impacts of closing mining operations, or the sale or transfer of assets, including on jobs and local economic activity (Internal/External).

Changes (directly or indirectly) attributable to a project, programme, policy or process. Impacts (also referred to as effects) may be planned or unplanned, positive or negative, achieved immediately or only after some time, and sustainable or unsustainable (External).

Our operations require that we have rights to the land on which we operate (External).


The impact of mining on local water sources and global climate change (Internal/External).

Activities to ensure the impacts of mining on biodiversity and local ecosystems are minimised and opportunities are capitalised on (Internal/External).

Activities to avoid, minimise, and finally mitigate environmental impacts at each phase of a mine's operation, from exploration through to closure, to contribute towards a positive environmental and social legacy (Internal/External).

Management of waste materials and prevention of pollution (Internal/External).