2015 Sustainability Report


2015 Sustainability Report

Global performance

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Sustainability is one of our strategic pillars. We seek to value diversity, prioritizes the health and safety of our employees and establish open relationships, contributing to the development of the communities in which we operate. Since 2007, we have called upon over a thousand employees around the world to gather information and make our Sustainability Report.

The year of 2015 brought significant challenges for Vale. We went through an unfavorable external scenario, full of uncertainty, which led to a sharp drop in the prices of our main products. Samarco’s accident with the Fundão dam, in last November was of great sadness. "Who knows the Health and Safety Policy established at Vale may have the dimension of how devastating the loss of 19 lives*, as a result of the accident, was for our company," said our CEO, Murilo Ferreira. Vale reiterates that we continue to support Samarco in all that is necessary to minimize the pain of the victims as well as the environmental damage, and that we will do everything we can to set the highest security parameters in the mining industry.

In order to be accountable of our actions, results and commitments to society, we have launched our 9th Annual Sustainability Report, prepared in accordance with the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). For the first time this year, it is adopting the full version of G4, with an application level of Comprehensive.

Browsing through the menu, you are one click away from reading about the highlights of the sub-topics you are interested in.

To download the full report, click on “Downloads”

* 18 fatalities and one person still missing

2015 highlights

We invested

US$ 800.1 million
in socio-environmental expenditure

in environmental actions

in social actions


Goals achieved according to the Sustainability KPI included in Vale's variable compensation program.


environmental licenses/authorizations

Productions records

For iron ore,
production amounted to

345.9* million tons

with a record being achieved
in Carajás of 129.6 million tons.

* Excluding the production attributed to Samarco

for basic metals, respective
records were achieved of

291,000 tons


423,800** tons

for nickel and copper

** Including the production attributed to Lubambe

Gold production
amounted to

420,000 oz

and cobalt productiion,
4.533 tons - both of which are
also annual records.

Beyond the Sustainability Report


Learn about our sustainability initiatives in a multimedia manner:

Find out more

Ethics and Conduct Office

Our actions are underpinned by strict standards of ethics and conduct. Find out about our Ethics and Conduct Office

Find out more


Gleuza Jesué, Vale´s Environment Director, comment on Protected Areas and Biodiversity


We believe that relationships based on ethics and transparency with communities are essential to the sustainability of our business. In order to operate safely and work well alongside communities – and especially those adjacent to our operations – we seek to manage and mitigate risk and social impacts and understand their needs and demands, collectively building sustainable solutions for all involved.


Integrated Management Model


demands and complaints received from the communities, of which 786 are being dealt with, 257 were deemed to be outside the company's control and all the others were properly solved during the year


of the purchases were made in the locations where we operate, generating income for the regions

Vale Foundation

In combination in our mission to transform natural resources into prosperity and sustainable development, the Vale Foundation seeks to make progress in the economic and social spheres in areas where we operate.

Interface with 49 traditional communities and
12 indigenous peoples in Brazil,

through which we maintain agreements, impact mitigation
programs or relationship initiatives



In 2015, we signed a partnership with the Ministry for Industrial Development and Foreign Trade (MDIC in Portuguese), to make it possible for learning institutions to graduate and qualify workforce at the operational level, resulted in the offering of 790 places as part of the National Program for Access to Technical Teaching and Employment (Pronatec in Portuguese – Production Sector).


We reaffirm our commitment to value and support the development of our employees. Through practices, processes and – fundamentally – our Human Resources Policy, we reinforce our principles of promoting meritocracy, collaboration, continuous improvement and valuing employees. We believe in the ability, potential and desire that people have for their own self-development.


Breakdown of employees and contractors by region

Empregados por região

More than


employees and contractors
of which 78% are in Brazil


employees contracted locally

Breakdown of employees and contractors by state in Brazil

Empregados por estado

Reduction of


compared to the previous year, of Vale’s staff without elementary education


In Oman, training aims to reduce
environmental impact

In alignment with Vale's global values "Value our people ", "Prize our planet" and "Make it happen", the company's engineering department in Oman recently introduced initiatives for the training of employees to improve their working knowledge of the Hosch D2 scraping machine, used for the first time in Vale's operations, and that will be expanded globally. This piece of equipment is part of a combination of solutions developed to improve cleaning systems on conveyor belts. The training (both theoretical and practical), given to 36 professional staff from the maintenance and inspection area, as well as service providers, enabled them to learn about the characteristics of this innovative machine to then go on to work as a team in a safer and more optimal manner, while also minimizing the environmental impact of their activities.

Health and Safety

For us, life is more important than production, and so we invest in policies and procedures produced to minimize risks and protect lives. During our Day of Reflection, we internally disseminate the concept of Active Genuine Caring, which is based on the principle of interdependence in health and safety, and means caring for yourself, caring for others and letting others care for you. To ensure zero harm we have invested continuously in our most precious asset: people. “Take care of our people” is one of our five strategic pillars and “Life matters most” is one of our values.

Active Genuine Care

The concept means caring for yourself, caring for others and letting others care for you and was disseminated during the year




Employees and contractors that participated in our Day of Reflection on fatalities and the intensification of our collective effort to achieve Zero Harm

leaders participated in the training sessions in content relating to decision-making in the area of prevention of accidents.

Integrated Health & Safety and Environmental Management System

Vale started in 2014 the work of integrating the Health, Safety and Environmental Management System (SSMA in Portuguese), releasing the Integrated Management System Manual (SGI in Portugues) in 2015. Adherence to the SGI was 66.6%, higher than the target of 59.9% defined the previous year.

Lost-time injury rate*

* Number of total injuries / per 1,000,000 hours worked


Carajás S11D Iron Project

The S11D project, at the Carajás Mining Complex (Pará), expected to start to operate in the second half of 2016, is an example of our commitment to the use of innovative operational technologies. One of these is the Truckless system, which will be adopted for the transport of iron ore from the mine to the processing plant.

With this, instead of the 100 trucks that would be needed to complete the task, a structure composed of excavators and mobile crushers will extract the product and feed it into 37 kilometres of conveyor belts, which carry the ore to the processing plant.

This substitution will reduce the amount of workers exposed to risk and increases the safety of this process as whole, since the operation of mobile equipment – including trucks – is the critical activity with the highest incidence of fatal accidents at our company.

Know more about S11D

Climate Change and Energy

In 2015 global negotiations on climate change made progress with the adoption of Paris Agreement. Vale intends to contribute to this collective effort with various initiatives and commitments expressed in its Global Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Policy.



Target to reduce direct emissions of GHG until 2020

Selo Ouro

Gold Seal

For the sixth consecutive year, our Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory was awarded the Gold Seal from the Brazilian GHG Protocol Program

Increase of 5%

In the share of renewable
energy sources in the last 3


of our energy matrix consist of renewable energy

Reduction of about 1 million tCO2e

Considering the portfolio of projects of Carbon Goal and other additional projects, in 2015 Vale reduced its scope 1 emissions by about 1.0 million tCO2e, and eight new projects were implemented as well as 18 other previous projects were maintained


Engagement reduces oil consumption and avoids costs

As a way of reducing production losses and wastage, the Floor Management Development System (FMDS) was introduced in the mining operation at the Taquari Vassouras Complex, in Rosário do Catete (SE). This tool provides support for routine management - exposing problems and developing and engaging internal teams to come up with solutions for the gaps detected. Based on a training plan for the implementation of this initiative, 1,100 hours of training were given, with the resulting involvement of operators and maintenance technicians in the application of over 300 “kaizens” (small improvements) to their activities. Thus, it proved possible to reduce annual consumption of hydraulic oil by 29%, avoiding a cost of around US$ 160,000* and raising the number of working hours by 22.8%. This saving of resources and time contributed to a year-on-year increase of 13.8% in run-of-mine (ROM), in other words gross production handled in 2015.

Fuel economy on the Carajás Railway (EFC)

A visual tool to assist in decision-making by the traffic controller was created by the Carajás Railway (EFC) Operation Control Centre in order to reduce the number of stops for loaded trains in stockyards where there is high fuel consumption. The tool brings an estimated reduction in fuel consumption of 800,000 litres a year, with the railway operating under normal conditions. This volume is equivalent to the quantity needed to fill up 14,000 popular passenger cars.

Along the railway, some stretches, particularly those that are inclined, require greater fuel consumption. The new solution indicates, using a colour scale, exactly where these locations are, so allowing controllers to adjust their train schedules to avoid stopping in these places.

Just by the controller being able to make a choice in this way, it is possible to obtain a reduction in fuel consumption of 708 litres per train.


We seek to ensure water conservation through initiatives that go beyond the legal requirements. We do this in a range of ways: from the development of innovative technologies to participation in the development of legal instruments for the management of water resources.


US$ 161 million

Invested in water resource management, representing 28% of the company's total environmental expenditure


Recycled and reused water​​ at our operations in 2014, equivalent to 1,6 billion m³ of water

Water resources

We invest in technologies and initiatives to control total demand of this resource, and
initiatives which exceed basic legal requirements


of water reused with the off-road truck washing system in the Northern Region in Brazil

Reduction of

1.8 million

m³ of water used in our processes compared to 2014


Integrated Surface Water Monitoring Network

The network aims to optimize and expand the monitoring of water resources of the rivers basins of the Velhas, Paraopebas, Piracicaba, Carmo and Santo Antônio, where are located operating units of Vale. We partner with the Mining Institute of Water Management and the Regional Superintendents Environmental Regularization (SUPRAMs acronym in Portuguese).The project was also developed under the North Ferrous Metals Board and the S11D project, watershed of Itacaiúnas river.

Biodiversity and
protected natural areas

We develop our global biodiversity strategy, in alignment with our Sustainable Development Policy, in order to mitigate land usage impacts, reclaiming and conserving territories in the regions where we operate. For this, we consider significant ecosystem services associated with water, climate change, energy and the community, as well as specific aspects of the regions with a goal of achieving a net positive impact over the long term.


5,3 times

The extent to which the areas we protect (on our own and through partnerships) exceed the total area of our operational sites

8,200 km2

of natural areas protected by us


Of this total,


were protected through partnerships

279,000 km2

of protected natural areas

Fundo Vale’s contribution to protection and/or sustainable development in seven states in Brazil

600,000 seedlings

Of 63 different species are under development at the bio-plant installed by Vale in the Iron Quadrangle, exclusively focused on preservation of plant biodiversity


of our operating areas are assessed regarding risks to biodiversity, which considers criteria defined in accordance with locations, in relation to areas that are globally relevant and are classified as high and medium risks to biodiversity.

* These numbers correspond to the Vale Operational Units Vale considering mineral exploration and processing, industrial production, ore transport.


Fundo Vale's Protected Areas and Biodiversity

With a focus on conservation and the containment of illegal deforestation, the Fundo Vale’s Protected Areas and Biodiversity Program works through partnerships with socio-environmental institutions, government and local communities for the integrated management of protected areas, supporting actions that strengthen environmental governance, form social and biodiversity value chains and strategically monitor our territories.

Samarco and
tailing dams

Vale, as a shareholder of Samarco, has, since the first moment of the accident to the Fundão tailings dam in Mariana (MG), adopted an ethical and socially responsible approach, not sparing any effort to provide support especially for the people affected. Besides that, we continually invest in processes, systems and instruments for the automation of dam monitoring. In this way, it has been reducing the generation of mining and metallurgical waste every year.


of the families in Mariana and Barra Longa impacted by the accident are staying in rented accommodation or with family

R$ 100 mil

In advance compensation to each family with missing or deceased members due to the accident

About 800

people affected in Mariana and Barra Longa have had their professional profiles surveyed by Samarco, for reintegration into their former functions

Click here for the latest updates on the accident

US$ 78.4 million

Invested in waste management, equivalent to 13,7% of our environmental expenditures

Tailings dams

The company continuously invests in the improvement of processes, systems and tools for the automation of the monitoring of dams

Reduction of 85 million tons

Of mining and metallurgical waste in the last 3 years


Use of waste in the cement industry

The project aims to reuse these tailings, rich in silica, in the cement industry. This material has the potential to be used as a corrective element and to replace the primary sand, which is not renewable, in the cement production process. In the last few years, Brazil's cement industry has produced around 70 million tons a year, using 0.7 to 3.5 million tons of corrective silica.

This product is vital in minimizing chemical variations during the cement clinker production process, optimizing the control of three important indicators: Lime Saturation Factor, Silica Index and Alumina Index. In many cases already tested, the silica content in Vale's tailings exceeds the silica content of primary sources, which could represent a competitive advantage for cement companies.

In addition to corrective silica, the cement units use materials rich in iron, such as iron pyrites, to control the levels of ferrous oxide. The three indicators which reduce chemical variations require a given quantity of ferrous oxide. The fact that the tailings, already rich in silica, also contain residual iron ore, therefore can represent another advantage compared to primary sources of sand and secondary sources of silica. On the other hand, excessive residual iron ore could adversely affect control quality in the cement plants, so that tailings rich in silica (and thus with a lower iron content) are the most appropriate.