Our plants Albras and Alunorte are located in Barcarena, Brazil. Local social conditions are challenging with high levels of unemployment, violence and general poverty. If we are to succeed in contributing to development in Barcarena, we need to work in partnerships with local communities, civil society organizations, academia and the Brazilian authorities. We have therefore placed broad local ownership and participation at the core of the Sustainable Barcarena Initiative (SBI).
Our aim is to bring all stakeholders together – academia, business, authorities and employees – to share concerns, discuss and prioritize the key needs of the Barcarena area. We believe this has the potential to reduce conflict levels and strengthen the ability of local communities to drive social change and development.
- Anne Lene Midseim, Executive Vice President for Corporate Social Responsibility in Hydro
Working toward sustainable and positive change in Barcarena
SBI is a platform for sustainable development funded by but independent from Hydro. SBI will be developed over time with the objective of becoming a permanent structure with a separate legal entity, its own organization and staff. The role of SBI is to bring all stakeholder together to
- Discuss, prioritize and decide on critical issues in Barcarena
- Increase capabilities to deal with conflict and engage in dialogue
- Strengthen the ability of local actors to drive social change and sustainable development in Barcarena
Currently, SBI is in a pilot phase before a permanent structure will be established. Both the pilot phase and the development of the permanent structure are guided by SBI’s 11 principles:
- Inclusivity: actively engaging all who wants a better Barcarena
- Focus on the most vulnerable: prioritizing issues that affect the most vulnerable
- Diversity: values differences in perspective and accepts that no one owns the truth
- Recognition of local strengths and capacities: reinforcing and developing existing and new capacities
- Autonomy and Empowerment: honor the contribution of each and everyone
- Rigor: informed by robust information, analysis, expertise and collected experiences
- Trust: decisions and actions transparent and understandable by all
- Structure: support in facilitating dialogues and project development
- Accountability: regular participatory monitoring and evaluation processes to account for actions and the commitments made among the various participants
- Courage: address what matters most courageously and have the conversations that matter, no matter how difficult
- Access to rights: find ways of working that allow all to have access to their rights
To drive implementation, we have hired independent facilitators with broad experience in conflict transformation and in facilitating complex decision making and learning processes with many stakeholders.
In the ongoing pilot phase the work is centered around thematic working groups, community visits and dialogue, harnessing local competences and resources, project development, bridge-building between stakeholders and making information and data available for better decision-making in the communities. The facilitators are supporting this work. The working groups are formed around issues and topics identified by the stakeholders in SBI – such as water and environment, employment and income, and education. The groups create their own vision, role and plan for action, and will receive capacity building and training necessary to support them in achieving their goals, and will ultimately develop change initiatives.
Through the pilot phase, SBI will shape a permanent structure based on the contributions of the stakeholders in SBI and the principles of the SBI. While the structure is under development, we envision it can include a public platform for data collection and monitoring, social projects implementation and a center for conflict prevention.
The SBI Fund
Along with the structure for SBI, we will put in place a fund to finance SBI activities. The fund will be set up as a separate entity, governed by Hydro. It will become operational in 2019.
Linked to our CSR Strategy
The initiative is closely linked to our CSR strategy and our emphasis on strengthening and enabling local stakeholders to drive change and development. SBI is aligned with Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.