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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). 

At the same time, Barcarena is a municipality with potential for developing local opportunities. Its geographical location attracts a range of private companies creating opportunities for local socioeconomic development in the municipality.

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

Old woman showing a fabric made as part of the Travessia program in Barcarena

Working toward sustainable and positive change in Barcarena 

SBI is a platform for sustainable development funded by but independent from Hydro. SBI is a forum of individuals and institutions with technical and administrative support provided by an executive secretariat. 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 

SBI is currently implementing a governance structure to ensure transparency and accountability for the long-term participation of members of society. The development of the structure is 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’ve engaged independent facilitators with broad experience in conflict management and in facilitating complex decision making and learning processes with many stakeholders. 

A woman training another woman in sewing face masks to pevent COVID-19  in Barcarena

Hydro Sustainability Fund

In 2019, we established the Hydro Sustainability Fund, a non-profit organization created to promote sustainable development and support community-based projects, following the guidelines outlined within the scope of the Sustainable Barcarena Initiative. It finances projects that contribute to sustainable development, with investment lines based on local needs. The Fund is financed by the companies Hydro, Albras and Alunorte, and has 10-year investment commitment of BRL 100 million.

So farwo initiates have been funded by the Fund: Travessia Barcarena, and Tipitix. In addition, the Fund has initiated a call for proposals for additional initiatives.  

Linked to our Social Responsibility Strategy 

The initiative is closely linked to our Social responsibility 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.