Transparency and Sustainability

Transparency and Sustainability

Why do we talk about sustainability?

Our mission is to transform natural resources into prosperity and sustainable development. This means working not only to generate economic return, but also to adopt best practices for the protection of people and the environment.

This is why talking about sustainability is so important to us. We seek to build strong and lasting relationships, invest in mitigating the effects of our activities, work with the highest ethical standards, have transparent management systems and actively contribute to advances in themes such as environment and sustainable development.

Positioning statements

Find out where we stand on relevant issues related to our business and the communities around us. For Vale, having a coherent speech, in line with our practices, is essential for our sustainable development. Click on the items below and find out what we believe in.

Carajás Railroad, Brazil - Indigenous Peoples

Vale aims to maintain a respectful relation with indigenous peoples by actions to avoid, mitigate, or offset the potential impacts of its operations on these populations. Thus, the company has signed agreements with Awá and other indigenous peoples who live in the area of influence of Carajás railroad, either through the National Indian Foundation (Funai, Fundação Nacional do Índio), partners, or directly with indigenous associations.

Vale maintains a Cooperation Agreement to support Awá, Guajajara, and Urubu Ka'apor peoples living in Caru, Awá, and Alto Turiaçu indigenous lands, as well as to implement productive activities focused on the ethnic development of these populations.

Regarding the expansion of Carajás railroad, indigenous communities are previously and permanently informed as well as systematically queried on the several aspects of the project and also on the procedures for the licensing process submitted to the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Natural Resources (Ibama, Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis) and Funai – government agencies. A multidisciplinary team experienced in indigenous relations leads such dialogue, visiting and holding meetings or workshops for these communities on a permanently basis and supported by the Ethnographic Protection Team from Funai. The studies are conducted by qualified and independent anthropologists in full compliance with Funai guidelines. They have identified every impact associated to the railroad expansion in the indigenous communities, also suggesting mitigation measures to help protect their physical and cultural integrity.

The process prioritizes the indigenous viewpoint and depends on their consent.

The railroad expansion works have started upon completion and approval of the Indigenous Component Study by Funai – a study that involved direct participation of indigenous peoples. The Basic Environmental Plan is being implemented. It includes all relevant mitigating measures, as well as the mandatory participation of Awá-Guajá Indigenous People, all in compliance with the Brazilian legislation and the Convention No. 169 from the International Labour Organization (ILO).

It is all a continuous dialogue. Thus, In addition to the Cooperation Agreement and the environmental licensing process, other initiatives have been enabled. One example is Vale’s partnership with the Special Indigenous Sanitary District of Maranhão (DSEI-MA, Distrito Sanitário Especial Indígena do Maranhão) and the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES, Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social) to support construction and equipment provision for three Basic Health Care Units, which have been built in two Awá villages and a Guajajara village, within Caru indigenous land.

Vale believes in supporting the ethnic development of Indigenous Peoples as well as in respectful, mutually beneficial, and long-term relations.

Pico Mine, Brazil

In February 2015, the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MTE, Ministério do Trabalho e Emprego) inspected the Pico mine (Minas Gerais), specifically on the activities of Ouro Verde, a transport service provider for finished products.

MTE brought an infringement proceeding against Vale due to allegations of irregular outsourcing practices and subjugation of workers to labor analogous to slavery. Vale has challenged such tax offenses. Classifying such irregularities as "labor analogous to slavery" is rather inadequate, since all Ouro Verde staff was duly registered as employees, with labor documents signed and salaries paid. In addition, the trucks in use were equipped with air-conditioning to protect employees from dust and heat, and their daily commuting was provided in safe and appropriate vehicles.

Vale condemns any form of disrespect for human rights and acts to remedy this situation and to ensure that it will not recur in its projects and operations.

At the time of inspection, Vale issued a formal and immediate notification requesting the contracted party to provide improvements at the construction site and solve the irregularities. The work activities were paralyzed and resumed three days later. In July, Vale signed an agreement with the Labor Prosecution Office (MPT, Ministério Público do Trabalho), reinforcing its commitment to comply with all regulations applicableto the working environment for its staff. Ouro Verde entered into the agreement as well.

In 2016, Vale outsourced a company to provide a detailed diagnosis of all Vale's units in Minas Gerais, comprising assessment of physical conditions of the sites and issues concerning basic hygiene and drinking water availability, including the legal aspects of the Health Conditions and Comfort in the Workplace regulated by MTE. Such diagnosis was filed with MPT, and can be widely and freely checked by the interested parties.

Vale and Ouro Verde fulfilled all actions set out in the agreement with MTE. Later, internal groups were structured to identify and continuously improve facilities and workplaces. Results and improvements were monitored at meetings held by the respective area leaders. The contract between Ouro Verde and Vale was canceled; the latter intensified its inspections until the end of the term.

Onça Puma Nickel Mine, Brazil

Vale clarifies that the Onça Puma mine, located in Ourilândia do Norte (Pará), is regularly licensed by the Environment and Sustainability Department of the State of Pará (Semas, Secretaria de Meio Ambiente e Sustentabilidade do Estado do Pará) and meets all the requirements set out by the environmental agency and Funai.

For years, Vale has been trying to implement the initiatives set out in Basic Environmental Plan (PBA, Plano Básico Ambiental), focusing on programs intended to mitigate the social and economic impacts on Xikrin do Cateté indigenous land, despite an unjustified resistance by the indigenous people, who have been denying access to the company.

The company has proposed to the Federal Prosecution Officee (MPF, Ministério Público Federal) to bear the costs of hiring a technician to monitor the PBA implementation along with Xikrin’s representative; however, Vale has not yet been informed of the technician's appointment by MPF. The company clarifies that all technical studies have been presented, thereby demonstrating that the activities in Onça Puma do not pollute Cateté river. The judge of the city of Redenção denied Xikrin’s request for funds given the unsubstantiated claim and determined a judicial inspection to check the current situation of Xikrin people and Cateté river. Such inspection has not started yet. Vale reiterates that it will remain awaiting Xikrin’s permission to access the indigenous land in order to implement the actions set out in PBA, which have already been approved by Funai. Vale remains open to dialogue with Xikrin people, and respects their culture and rights.

Vale will continue its efforts to overcome the challenges related to sustainable development across several regions and countries where the company operates. We are committed to maintain the stamina and hard work to ensure continuous improvement, in compliance with relevant guiding principles and standards. We believe that substantiality is not just a goal; it is rather a process, a path that needs to be carefully mapped with metrics, parameters, goals, effort, as well as respect for people and the environment.

Review of Renova Foundation Two Years After the Accident

Renova foundation issued a letter about the actions taken to repair and offset the impacts caused by the collapse of Fundão hydroelectric dam operated by Samarco. The publication highlights the results obtained so far. "The recovery effort is made up of small achievements. Our first year of operation presented expressive results, as a response to our efforts to respect diversities through dialogue and transparency and, above all, through our actions with a long-term view on sustainability, transforming reality into a better future." Read the full letter (link to the letter in .pdf file, sent separately)

Samarco Mineração, Fundão Hydroelectric Dam, Brazil

The accident during Samarco works was a terribly and dramatic event, unparalleled in the 73 years of history, production, and operation of Vale subsidiaries and affiliates. Vale and BHP Billiton hold, each, 50% of Samarco shares. Vale has consistently pointed out, to Samarco, the importance of implementing policies and standards in compliance with its own, and has been supporting Samarco’s efforts to address the damages caused by this accident. In addition, from day one of the accident, Vale and its employees are committed to responding to emergency, including human rights remediation and environmental recovery by supporting Samarco and Renova foundation in all required areas, also ensuring funding and implementation of the 41 programs established within the agreement with the federal and state governments as well as BHP Billiton.

After the accident, Vale created the Hydroelectric Dam division to evaluate and improve Vale's dam management processes guided by action plans and goals. All Vale dams have been subject to internal and external audits, and several action plans have been implemented, to increase our level of operational efficiency and safety. All Vale dams have surpassed the safety level required by any Brazilian or international law. The company also reviewed its emergency plans to include community involvement and mobilization in the event of an accident. In the 2016 strategic planning cycle, Vale proposed a new guideline to increase production of iron ore through natural moisture processing, thus reducing the generation of tailings, optimizing the material disposal, separating slurry from coarse tailings, and using the extraction sites to dispose slurry. This new plan estimates a 600 million metric ton reduction of slimes tailings by 2030 – a 32% decrease compared to previous production plans. In 2016, the production of iron ore using wet processing was 60% while the natural moisture process accounted for 40% of the iron ore produced. The processing method is expected to be reversed in the coming years, with natural moisture processing reaching up to 70% of the production.

Meanwhile, Vale has boosted its Risk Management activities. Vale has an integrated risk approach in place for all types of risks, covering both business and process risks.

The accident during Samarco works was a terrible event. However, it gave us a broader knowledge about risks and impacts associated to our business. New technologies are being developed and implemented in several areas. For example, Vale is implementing an industry-wide pilot project to study and develop new tailing disposal technologies and search for disposal alternatives to dams or drainage piles.

Vale reiterates its continuous support to Samarco in all matters required to minimize the victims' grief and the environmental damage. The company will act to establish the highest safety standards in the mining industry.

All remediation and recovery actions taken by Samarco and, most recently, by Renova foundation are in compliance with the Brazilian and international standards and best practices, as well as with companies' commitment to the 10 Principles of the Global Compact.

Vale's Contribution to Development of the State of Espírito Santo

We have contributed to the generation of jobs and income in Espírito Santo over the past 70 years. The Vitória-Minas railroad (EFVM, Estrada de Ferro Vitória a Minas) and Tubarão port make up an important logistics corridor to transport grains, fertilizers, and fuel in Brazil. The corridor accounts for 10,300 direct jobs in Espírito Santo, in a total of 64,000* own, indirect, and derived jobs. We allocate 60% of our purchases to local companies. Vale supports and encourages supplier training and qualification initiatives carried out through the Supplier Portal (PDF, Portal do Fornecedor), the Prodfor program, and agreements with the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae, Serviço Brasileiro de Apoio às Micro e Pequenas Empresas). Vale represents 13% of Espírito Santo’s GDP. In 2016, Investments in the state of Espírito Santo amounted to one billion dollars.

Dust Emissions

The company informs that it has been acting and investing continuously in its environmental control systems. The entire production system of the Tubarão Complex - from the arrival of the ore to the ship's embarkation - has the most modern environmental control technologies. By 2020, Vale will have invested approximately R$ 1 billion in environmental control measures in its Tubarão Complex operations.

With regard to health, Vale informs that it monitors the health effects of exposure to iron ore present in the work environment on employees. It is important to emphasize that there are no records of active or retired professionals who have presented health problems, or who have been removed due to exposure to iron ore in the Tubarão Complex.

It should be noted that, according to a Social Security report, there are no records of respiratory diseases related to exposure to iron ore in Vale employees in Brazil.

Institutes

The Vale Fund is a non-profit association with the title of Civil Society of Public Interest Organization (Oscip), which seeks to connect institutions and initiatives for sustainable development.

Created in 2009 by Vale, as a contribution of the company to the search for global sustainability solutions, the Fund prioritized its actions in the Amazon biome, supporting and financing initiatives that unite the conservation of natural resources to improve the quality of life and strengthen the territories.

The Vale Foundation is a corporate foundation that catalyses and promotes sustainable territorial development, Vale's strategic partner in building a positive legacy.

Founded 50 years ago, the Foundation operates through voluntary and structuring social initiatives in the territories where the company operates.

The Instituto Tecnológico Vale (ITV) is a non-profit institution that seeks to create future options through scientific research and the development of technologies.

Created in 2009, ITV integrates three strands: research, teaching and entrepreneurship. These three pillars take into account the very cycle of scientific production, its practical application and the generation of concrete benefits for society.