Sustainability is a core element of our guiding strategy and Group values, and supports us in growing Vedanta’s business and creating long-term value for our stakeholders.
We have been working to train and develop our employees and contractors in our sustainability framework, to both embed a culture of sustainability across the business as well as implement the framework’s supporting practices and procedures. To date more than 8,000 people across the Company have been trained on the framework which is aligned to international sustainability standards including the GRI framework.
As we implement our framework, we enhance the value of our business while reducing risks and preserving our license to operate. This year we have made our approach more robust, which has included the development of our Vedanta Sustainable Assurance Process (‘VSAP’) – introduced over the last year to embed our commitment at the operational level – as well as a stakeholder engagement exercise to provide a materiality assessment of our key impacts and issues.
These initiatives have been instrumental in delivering the Group sustainability strategy, which is made up of three strategic pillars: Responsible Stewardship, Building Strong Relationships and Adding and Sharing Value.
Responsible Stewardship extends to our employees and their health and safety, our business processes which are centred around risk management, and the management of our land and our environmental impact.
The health and safety of the people who work for the Vedanta Group remains a key focus and we are saddened to report 20 fatalities during the year. The Company and the operational management is committed to sustain and further intensify our actions to make our operations fatality free. As a leading indicator of improving safety environment we see a reduction in the injury rates, and over the past five years we have more than halved our Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate from 1.67 in 2009 to 0.72 in 2013. With safety management continually improving around the Group, we remain committed to meeting our target of zero fatalities.
Vedanta continues to work on managing its impact on the natural environment. Our continuous improvement projects in air quality, biodiversity, water, waste and energy management have made good progress. As evidence, Vedanta was rated eighth among 38 FTSE metal and mining companies by the Carbon Disclosure Project as it improved its score from 63 in 2012 to 76 in 2013. Despite this progress, we have much more to do to meet our own challenging targets.
Establishing and maintaining close links with our stakeholders is an essential part of our journey as a sustainable business.
Throughout the year some 4,700 stakeholder engagement meetings took place, with community leaders, nongovernmental organisations (‘NGOs’), governments and government bodies, academic institutions and around 250 partnerships are now in place.
We contributed US$5.3 billion to the Exchequer through direct and indirect taxes, royalty and oil tax globally.
We employ, directly and through contractors, around 91,000 people. We play a significant role in growing local skills and in the development of local infrastructure, including roads, sanitation, education and medical facilities. We made a community investment of US$47 million this year, reaching 3.7 million people and providing support for schools, hospitals, health centres and farms.