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Women and ESG: Naidoo-Vermaak takes on the ESG seat at Sibanye Still-Waters

Recently, ESG has functioned as a catalyst for introducing diversity, equity, and inclusion of women in the workplace and thereby supporting a balanced workforce. New York listed company, Sibanye-Stillwater has announced the appointment of Melanie Naidoo-Vermaak as its chief sustainability officer, effective from 1 January 2024. She joined Sibanye Still-Waters from Harmony Gold where she was sustainable development senior executive.  

The appointment of Vermaak helps in fulfilling one of the most significant UN SDGs that must be accomplished by 2030, which is gender equality. Giving women equal employment opportunities and including them in regional and global decision-making processes will restart in sustainable economic growth. Giving women the same managerial options and flexibility as men promotes more diversified leadership. 

Naidoo-Vermaak holds a Bachelor of Sciences (Hons), a Master of Sciences in sustainable development and a Master of Business Administration. She has over 20 years’ experience in sustainable development in the private mining and public sectors in South Africa as well as in international environmental management exposure gained in the United Kingdom, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and elsewhere in Africa. Before joining Sibanye-Stillwater, she once worked at leading international mining companies, including Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited, De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited, BHP Billiton Limited, and Anglo-American plc. Melanie is a member of the Minerals Council South Africa’s environmental policy committee, the Far West Rand Dolomitic Water Association. 

Neal Froneman, CEO of Sibanye-Stillwater, described the appointment of Vermaak as “a positive contribution in our journey to be a force for good” He added that, “As the Group has grown and evolved, we have continued to attract exceptional talent externally while retaining our top talent internally to ensure efficient delivery of our strategic priorities. Melanie’s appointment will further diversify and strengthen our senior leadership team. 

“Sustainability/ESG is a strategic imperative for the group, and we look forward to Melanie making a positive contribution in our journey to be a force for good.” 

The multinational mining and metals processing company is a primary producer of platinum, palladium, rhodium, and gold and a refiner of iridium and ruthenium, nickel, chrome, copper, and cobalt. The company has collaborated highly successfully with Germany’s Heraeus Precious Metals to give green hydrogen generation a major boost through the introduction of a far-reaching iridium-thrifting breakthrough. Some of these renewable energy projects are the primary decarbonization levers of Sibanye-Stillwater, which is targeting carbon neutrality by 2040. Thus, businesses with a wide mix of genders not only support gender equality but also see improved financial results over time, resulting in a business that is not only inclusive but also successful eventually.  

Conclusively, diversity, equity and inclusion should be a recognized priority and it help forms a great deal of the social element of ESG. 

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