The Danish Institute for Human Rights has assisted Hydro in investigating the human rights aspect of Hydro's operations in Brazil.
The conclusion is that Hydro's CSR work has resulted in numerous improvements. The company's ability to respect human rights has been strengthened, but more specific human rights thinking and action in the operational area is still needed.
"We agree with the key points of the report and are continually working to improve our standards," said Group Director Alberto Fabrini, director of Bauxite & amp; Alumina.
The report was prepared as part of a broader CSR assessment and focuses primarily on human rights, which can be challenging in Brazil. On average, four to six people were interviewed in each of the stakeholders - employees, local leaders, local government officials, and local community officials.
"Hydro has taken on a number of complex challenges in Brazil and we are happy to see that they are based on human rights," said Allan Lerberg Jørgensen, head of Human Rights and Development at the Danish Institute for Human Rights.
The report confirms, among other things, that the "CSR strategy is understood to a certain extent by those responsible in the various Hydro plants in Brazil. When the assessment was carried out, there had been several improvements to the internal coordination and structuring of CSR work. This made the work of the CSR units at the different locations easier when it came to planning and measuring the impact of different projects and measures. "
But it was also noted that there is still a need for specific ways of thinking and taking action when working with human rights in the operational area.
“Brazil's leaders currently understand human rights work as not trying to negatively impact human rights for workers and communities. In addition, however, they should promote social responsibility by actively working towards the further development of human rights. This includes clarifying what is needed to regulate the concrete impact of Hydro's operations, community development efforts and measures that go beyond just avoiding negative human rights impacts. ”
Hydro has set up a complaints channel to record and deal with complaints and suggestions from local communities affected by the company's operations. The report states that the company will "take further measures to ensure trust and support for the complaints channel."
In addition, the review made it clear that there are potential challenges associated with working conditions for contractors. The Danish Institute for Human Rights recommends that Hydro "introduce a training program for contractors and subcontractors and / or add a module on working conditions to the HSE course and other information for workers."
"We make it clear that third-party employees should have the same standards and working conditions as our own employees, and we have taken measures to ensure that this is the case," says Fabrini.
The review also showed that there are areas where Hydro Brazil could have been more strategic in local communities to encourage engagement and dialogue.
“Hydro Brazil should ensure more frequent and regular meetings and discussions with neighboring communities (Vila Nova, Itupanema and Vila do Conde). The main goal should be to inform them about ongoing CSR activities, to listen, to understand their needs and CSR wishes and to get information about current problems. "
"We understand that our relationships with our neighbors are very important and we have already taken several measures to strengthen local engagement in Barcarena and with the affected Quilombola communities along the bauxite transport pipeline," says Alberto Fabrini.
Fabrini, who heads Hydro's Brazilian operations, emphasizes that other improvements that have been proposed have been made in the past few months. For example, Hydro and third party employees now receive the same personal protective equipment and basic safety training.
“Every day we strive to improve our standards and believe that we have come a long way in some areas. But we can do even better and the report highlights some areas that are very interesting from this point of view, ”says Fabrini.
"I'm very happy with the report," says Anne-Lene Midseim, who is responsible for CSR at Hydro.
“The main conclusion is that we look pretty good in Brazil when it comes to human rights. However, the Danish Institute for Human Rights has identified individual areas in which improvements are possible. Some of the vulnerabilities shown have already been changed, we are working with others. ”
Midsem added that Hydro is working at the group level to improve human rights assessment systems so that these issues are continually on the agenda.
You can find the full report published together with the Danish Institute for Human Rights here .
Further information about the institute can be found at: http://www.humanrights.dk/