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International Human Rights Day: Vale Launches its Global Policy Review on the Issue


In honor of International Human Rights Day, celebrated on Tuesday (10), Vale discloses the second review of its Global Human Rights Policy, approved by the Board of Directors on November 26, 2019, and available by clicking here. The company thanks everyone who contributed to the public inquiry for reviewing this document, held on its website, between August and September this year.

Vale believes that the participation of employees, communities, students, suppliers, investors, journalists, Government, among other public authorities, significantly contributed to achieving a positive result from the policy review, as well as clarifying what is expected from our actions as a company on this very relevant issue.

The Global Human Rights Policy is a periodically revised document, and the implementation of this version will allow Vale to mature, improve best practices, and advance its learning curve. Any improvements that have not been properly included will be added in the next version, which will be reviewed in 2023, aiming to continually improve this policy.

The company will continue to count on the support of stakeholders to implement the Global Human Rights Policy, be it to help identify paths and solutions to complex issues that require greater participation, partnership, and systemic thinking, be it to help maintain the direction and application of this standard.

Access the Global Human Rights Policy
Learn about the history of Vale's Global Human Rights Policy

Since 2009, Vale has a Human Rights Policy aligned with the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” framework. In 2014, the Policy was revised, for the first time, in order to start its alignment with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and today, its second review, approved by Vale’s Board, is published.

Learn about Vale's Global Human Rights Policy review process

For the review of the Global Human Rights Policy, we adopted a process that involved the following five steps:

Alignment with international standards and regulations, including greater adherence to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises) among other important references from the UN, ILO and other institutions, which are listed in the new version of the Policy;
Updates based on the developments achieved by the extractive industry and in the ICMM Performance Principles and Expectations;
Evaluation in light of our grievance mechanisms and Ombudsman in order to ensure that all topics were addressed;
Consultation with all company areas that have an interface with the Human Rights theme (both corporate areas and operational areas globally).
Finally, in order to broaden our listening and receive inputs from our external stakeholders, we carried out one last and important step, holding a Public Consultation, with multiple-choice and open-ended questions, based on which we could better understand and draw on the views of the stakeholders who participated, incorporating most of the recommendations received.
Learn about the Public Consultation Process

The Public Consultation was held in the Vale Brasil and Global websites and on the company Intranet (targeting company employees) and was available for 3 weeks. The Public Consultation was promoted and communicated, not only through our websites, but also through social media, mailing sent to strategic stakeholders interested in sustainability topics, and through LinkedIn.

Click here to access the Public Consultation questionnaire

Learn about the Public Consultation results

The Public Consultation was carried out between Aug/Sep 2019 and received 382 responses. Among the categories of the respondents, the following are highlighted:

Do you think the topics covered in Vale's Human Rights Policy are relevant / material?

Of the 382 people who answered the questionnaire, the majority (352 people or 92.1%), answered yes, that the topics addressed by the Policy were relevant / material.

Do you think there is a theme that is not relevant to Vale and should be removed from Vale’s Human Rights Policy? If Yes, which one?

Only 9% of respondents (34 people) indicated topics that they did not consider material / relevant. Of the 14 themes indicated by the respondents as non-material/relevant, one has been removed from the Policy – referring to “Protecting Human Rights”. Considering the respondent's suggestion and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which prescribes that “States should protect against human rights violations committed in their territory and / or its jurisdiction”, we understand that the concept of protection was not suitable to remain in the revision of Vale’s Human Rights Policy. However, it was necessary to keep the other 13 indicated topics as they are pertinent from a technical point of view and so fundamental to a corporate Human Rights Policy. Following are the seven themes most frequently selected as answers to this question (note: each respondent could select more than one option):

  • employees
  • monitoring and management of human rights risks
  • protect and respect the human rights of local communities
  • corporate Security Teams
  • communication and grievance mechanisms
  • indigenous people
  • health and safety

Do you think there is a theme that is missing from Vale's Human Rights Policy? If Yes, which one?

Out of the 382 answers submitted, 219 (57.3%) stated that there were no missing themes in the current Policy, while 163 (42.7%) answered that there were missing themes.

Following are the 10 main themes indicated as missing from the Human Rights Policy (NOTE: the respondent could select more than one option):

Of the 163 responses that indicated missing themes, both from multiple choice and open-ended answers, 158 (97%) were included in the review of Vale’s Global Human Rights Policy.

Of the multiple-choice themes indicated in the responses, 100% were included in the Policy review, and almost 50% of the 31 contributions from the open responses were considered, as detailed below:

  • 15 responses (48.4%) were addressed as themes in the review of Vale’s Global Human Rights Policy. The main themes indicated were: Diversity and Inclusion; Non-discrimination; Labor conditions; Harassment; Transparency in Contracting; Resettlement; Grievance Channels; Social Participation; Practical Application of the Policy. In this regard, it should be clarified that the inclusion of contributions in the revised version of the Human Rights Policy is not literal, but by theme, since the Policy is a global, general standard document and, therefore, does not call for an in-depth detailing of each subject matter. In any case, the specifics of the contributions are valuable and will be used as inputs to detail the pertinent company processes and campaigns. The detailed results of this consultation were shared with the Human Resources and Ombudsman areas.
  • In 5 other answers (16.1%), the suggested topics are already or should be covered in other Vale policies.
  • In 5 other responses (16.1%), the topics suggested, though relevant, were not considered material to Vale’s Global Human Rights Policy in this review.
  • In addition, there were 6 contributions (19.4%) that came in the form of a grievance or complaint. The open channel for the Public Consultation was perceived by some respondents as an opportunity to make complaints about various issues: application of the Human Rights Policy, labor conditions, diversity, inclusion, non-discrimination, employee health. As themes, all the aforementioned contributions were contemplated in the revision of the Human Rights Policy. However, as complaints, in order to have proper investigations carried out, it is necessary that the process go through the Ombudsman. Respondents may make their complaint or grievance by clicking here.

In this context, we highlight below the one complaint that directly and specifically concerned the application of the Human Rights Policy:

“The company does not enforce its policy in the communities / cities where it mines. There is a lack of transparency and commitment with their own policy.”

In this regard, it should be clarified that our Policies, as well as our Code of Ethical Conduct, are internal procedures that must be adhered by all Vale employees. It is essential to have the support of all (employees) to ensure the application of such standards. In this context, it is important to speak to the Community Relations focal points and / or to report to our Ombudsman, should there be any doubt or any identified aspect of our Policy that is not being properly followed.

Once again, we thank all those who willingly contributed to this review. We realize that there is always room for improvement and we are open for further contributions to be included in the next review window in 2023, aiming at the continuous improvement of Vale’s Global Human Rights Policy. The goal now is to make this version of the Human Rights Policy widely known, comprehended, and enforced by all. We count on the support of everyone so that the respect for Human Rights is always inserted in our activities, processes, and relationships.


International Human Rights Day: Vale Launches its Global Policy Review on the Issue