Working towards global goals
The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed as a roadmap for countries to achieve a more sustainable future for all. The SDGs promote social prosperity and offer environmental protection for the planet. Aligning business practices to broader societal goals makes good business sense, as many of the world's top risks can impact a company's ability to create value for its stakeholders, with the recent the COVID-19 pandemic a perfect illustration of this. For more information, please click here.
Ending poverty requires new thinking and strategies that support economic growth and target a wide range of social needs, such as education, health, social protection, employment and environmental protection (including climate change).
We endeavour to work responsibly to maintain our social licence to operate. Our established sustainability strategy focuses on six areas aligned with the UN SDGs. This strategy confirms our support for both global and local sustainability priorities.
We launched a rolling three-year cycle of commitments to specific SDGs, ensuring a targeted impact. Each SDG is managed by a relevant department collaborating with others. We are committed to achieving the following six SDGs:
|SDG 1: No poverty
|SDG 3: Good health and well-being
|SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation
|SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
|SDG 10: Reduced inequalities
|SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
We used these goals to influence and inform our business processes and decision-making during the year.
According to our sustainability strategy, we select SDGs for organisational focus every three years. We decided to start with six SDGs, as this is a manageable and achievable target broad enough to create value and have a widespread impact. The following process will be followed:
|Performa gap analysis to evaluate alignment with each SDG
|Focus on addressing any shortfalls identified in the first year and further strengthen achievements
|Evaluate the success of those measures to ensure their sustainable application
Due to the SDGs' interconnectedness, there might be an overlap in those selected in each cycle. This process is not intended to be a tick-box approach but to integrate thinking and solutions to enhance Gem Diamonds' positive impact in line with the UN's recommendations.
The three-year cycle does not mean the remaining goals will not receive our attention. We believe that emphasising a targeted subset of goals will benefit our stakeholders because the Group will focus on practical, implementable measures throughout the process.
The interconnectivity of value creation
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for our future
Working responsibly and maintaining a social licence to operate
|2020 to 2022 cycle UN SDGs – How these SDGs apply to our operations in Lesotho
|The context for selection
SDG 1: No poverty
As a developing nation, Lesotho has high rates of poverty. It ranks 165th out of 189 countries on the UN Human Development Index (HDI). Lesotho's HDI value is 0.52, which puts the country in the low human development category.
Lesotho's economic performance was negatively affected by sluggish global economic growth amid a significant downturn in emerging markets and advanced economies. Furthermore, sustained political instability in the country, coupled with slow economic growth in the South African economy, contributed to slow economic performance. Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth is estimated to average at 1.6% between 2015 and 2019, and it is projected to average at 0.6% between 2019 and 2021, primarily attributed to the expected negative impact of COVID-19.
Between 1990 and 2019, Lesotho's HDI value increased from 0.498 to 0.527, an increase of 5.8%.
SDG 3: Good health and well-being
COVID-19 challenged global health systems due to its negative impact on socio-economic prospects. Developing countries like Lesotho were especially vulnerable to these impacts. Trade was hampered as lockdowns disrupted supply chains. Borders were closed, and raw materials destined for export were unable to leave the country.
High HIV/Aids and tuberculosis (TB) prevalence rates remain Lesotho's most significant health challenge and continue contributing to increasing inequality and poverty.
The HIV/Aids prevalence rate in Lesotho is 25% in the adult population (15 to 49 years), the world's second-highest. According to the World Health Organization's Global TB 2019 report, there were 611 TB infections per 100 000.
SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation
Historically, Lesotho was considered a water-rich country that used to provided water to neighbouring South Africa. However, the three-year drought changed this, and now water shortages pose a significant threat to its people. The country also lacks clean potable water due to severely inadequate sanitation, infrastructure and filtration.
Given the increased risk of climate change disrupting weather patterns and causing extreme weather events, the country needs a safe and sustainable way of giving water to its residents.
SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
Diamond mining and the textile industry significantly contribute to Lesotho's export economy. These industries are the largest employers of Lesotho nationals. While these industries are growing, they are still in the early stages of development.
Through Gem Diamond's CSI initiatives, we endeavour to develop new industries for our PACs to ensure employment for residents beyond the life of our mines. Development of other sustainable industries as a source of employment for residents should be prioritised.
SDG 10: Reduced inequalities
Reducing inequality is a key policy priority in many countries, as high inequality levels are detrimental to society. Different levels of living standards diminish opportunities for the next generation, lower overall satisfaction with life, and in some cases, lead to disruption and violence.
According to the World Bank, Lesotho's Gini coefficient of 44.6 is more aligned with South Africa's. The country spends 4.5% of its gross GDP on social protection programmes, compared to below 2% in its neighbouring sub-Saharan African countries. Despite this, Lesotho remains one of the most unequal countries in the world.
Gem Diamonds promotes good governance, ethical behaviour and human rights. We understand the importance of reducing inequalities based on income, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, race, class, ethnicity, religion and opportunity.
SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
Our multi-layered supply chain supports our business processes. We know we need to mitigate any environmental and social impacts these business processes may generate. This we achieve by ensuring we incorporate responsible business practices into every step of our production journey. Our diamonds are equally ethical and beautiful.