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, we are proud of the role we are playing in contributing to the realisation of economic and social rights. 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 two 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. 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 2011 Sustainable Development Report, page 38).
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 groups on outreach to governments as well as the working group on the scope of work of the secretariat, 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 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. We are very pleased that we have started to work alongside each other in Peru, where Alert has already been helping our team at Quellaveco to review and improve their security and conflict management processes. This relationship will become even more relevant as we look at the longer term prospect of expanding into higher risk countries, such as the DRC and Indonesia. Alert is also advising us on the revision of our own implementation manual for 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 Voluntary Principles across the company. It is mandatory that the key tenets of the Principles 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).
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.
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.
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.