Sustainable development

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Human rights

The UN Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles. Anglo American joined the Global Compact in 2004, signalling our commitment to human rights, environmental stewardship, labour rights and anti-corruption.

In line with our commitment to the UN Global Compact, among others, we endeavour to ensure that we not only refrain from abusing human rights, but also seek to promote them. A summary of our approach and performance is included below, with links to further information alongside.

Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights

While we believe that governments are the primary custodians of positive human rights, our commitment to respecting human rights forms the foundation of our approach to community engagement and development. The social strategy has a strong focus on using Anglo American’s core business to support long term social development. The Anglo American Social Way, launched in 2009 and embedded across the organisation over the last three years, summarises the commitments we have made to excellence in social performance, while our Socio-Economic Assessment Toolbox (SEAT) programme is the primary means by which our operations seek to enhance the development outcomes and capacities of host communities. Our first duty is to behave in a way that respects the human rights of employees, host communities and business partners. While the socio-economic development activities of our operations are informed by local needs, they typically involve enterprise development, social investment and capacity development (see Anglo American 2012 Sustainable Development Report, page 32-33). We conduct thorough risk assessments, including on issues related to human rights, for all significant investments.

Anglo American has been a signatory to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR) since January 2005 and is a member of the working group on outreach and implementation, thereby actively contributing to the discussion about the VPSHR’s activities and furthermore disseminating the spirit of the VPSHR’s into countries that have not yet signed up to the principles.

In 2011, Anglo American entered into a three-year strategic partnership with International Alert, an NGO that, through advocacy, dialogue, training and research, seeks to influence the activities of governments, international institutions and the public sector operating in conflict areas with the aim of achieving sustainable peace and to protect human rights. Alert has also written a tool on security and human rights in the Socio-Economic Assessment Toolbox and has been advising us on implementing the VPSHRs, including our contracting process for security providers and we will be deepening our collaboration on conflict prevention management systems as the partnership progresses. We continue with efforts to raise awareness of the VPSHRs across and beyond the company. It is mandatory that the key tenets of the VPSHRs are embedded in contracts with private security providers.

Principle 2: Businesses should ensure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses

We continue to integrate evolving human rights requirements into our policies, systems and tools in order to assist us in making correct, informed decisions that do not compromise human rights. Human rights are, for example, a standard component of the social and environmental impact assessments we undertake on all our projects they are incorporated into our supply chain sustainable development code and supplier audit programme; and they are a consistent thread throughout the Anglo American Social Way and our Socio-Economic Assessment Toolbox (SEAT).

In 2012, we rolled out an in-house community development peer-review process. Successfully piloted in 2011, the reviews draw on internal expertise, as well as external partners such as CARE International, to ensure that our investments in community development are as effective as possible. During 2010, we were pleased to be recognised by the Institute of Human Rights and Business as one of the first multinational companies to be implementing a complaints mechanism that meets the recommendations of Professor John Ruggie, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative on Business and Human Rights. This Group-wide, standardised complaints and grievance procedure was introduced in 2010 and is now mandatory at all operations. During 2012, 1,938 incidents were reported via such mechanisms around the Group. Incidents were reviewed and investigated where material.

We also welcome the "Protect, Respect and Remedy" Framework provided by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, approved by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2011. The Framework rests on three pillars: the state duty to protect against human rights abuses; the corporate responsibility to respect human rights by acting with due diligence; and the need for greater access by victims to effective remedy, both judicial and non-judicial. We believe that the approach adopted by Anglo American on human rights issues is aligned with the due diligence and redress requirements set out in this framework. To assure this, we are starting to map our current human rights related policies and procedures against the UN Guiding Principles.

Every employee is briefed on our Business Principles and associated human rights requirements when they join the company as part of their induction process. More intensive and specific training is provided to relevant staff based on risk assessments. For instance, supply chain and security staff members receive customised human rights training. During 2012, nearly 4,000 employees and contractors took part in training related to human rights – this included nearly 100% of all security personnel at our Platinum business, who were trained on the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.

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