"Recent events in Barcarena make it clear that the society around us does not perceive us as a reliable partner," said Must. "What we heard from our neighbors is that we were not close enough and that, therefore, they could not trust the information we provide. We are deeply sorry because this is not the way we would like to act," he said.
Last Tuesday, Hydro held a meeting with representatives of the communities in Barcarena. Hydro listened to the considerations and pledged to change its stance.
"Hydro cannot succeed if neighbors and other stakeholders feel that the company is failing. And we cannot solve these problems alone," said Must.
New CSR Strategy
We are convinced that Hydro should intensify its efforts to become a more reliable partner. The new CSR strategy, developed over the past year, is the way forward. The objective is to create engagement and partnerships with local communities, authorities, universities and civil society.
"To make meaningful changes, we always have to have a people-centered perspective," says Must, explaining that this means not only asking if Hydro, for example, is contributing to water contamination, but also asking what are all sources of water contamination, and what can be done to make water use safer.
"We have to listen to everyone, look for possible solutions together with partners and then commit to doing our part. This approach will have a much greater impact than Hydro developing projects alone," she said.
"Overcoming the challenges that interest us all, will only be achieved through collective action. And we can help make this happen".
Long-term and short-term actions
Long-term plans alone cannot resolve the situation in Barcarena. "During crises, short-term responses are equally important," explains Must, referring to a list of actions that are already underway or that will be implemented in the coming weeks & nbsp; in the Vila Nova, Burajuba and Bom Futuro communities. They are:
- Weekly meetings in the community since February 26; visit of community representatives to the industrial plant on March 22;
- Supply of drinking water since February 26th and supply of water reservoirs since March 2nd, in collaboration with the Civil Defense;
- Commitment to work with local partners, such as Águas de São Francisco, responsible for the water service in Barcarena, to find a permanent solution to allow access to drinking water for communities. Three meetings were held until March 20;
- Medical assistance in collaboration with the Municipality of Barcarena from March 2 to 13
- Since March 19, the national Red Cross has been providing diagnostic and health care services that include door-to-door mapping as well as treatment, as well as water and soil sampling;
- Local Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) hired as an observer, with a focus on monitoring all meetings and initiatives;
- Local NGO to research soil quality for agriculture, starting April 9;
- Establish a new shed for sorting and separating recyclable materials & nbsp; in the Bom Futuro community, in Barcarena, as part of the municipality's new landfill. This project started in 2016. The technical engineering stage has already been completed and, on March 19, there was a first meeting with partners, focused on the implementation of an environmental awareness program in Barcarena
"Despite our failures in Barcarena, acting responsibly has been, and will continue to be, a component of the way we conduct and develop business, regardless of where we operate in the world. Now, we need to start looking ahead, to shape a more viable future for communities close to & nbsp; Alunorte. If we are to succeed in this, we need to do it together, in partnership with local communities, authorities, universities and civil society, "said Must.