We acknowledge the many challenges related to human rights in the Amazon region. As a global aluminium and energy company with mining interests, ensuring responsible conduct is important throughout Hydro’s value chain. We must consider our impact on society and on people’s rights, spanning from construction to closure, in our own operations, the local communities we are part of, and in our supply chain. Businesses have a responsibility to respect human rights. We also recognize that businesses can have an important role in supporting and promoting human rights.
To encourage sustainable development in the regions where we operate, Hydro is involved in initiatives that increase income for people in communities where access to decent work is limited. We see entrepreneurship and income generation as tools for local development and the reduction of inequality. We seek to contribute by strengthening local job offerings, employment networks, and labor institutions. An example of our ongoing efforts is that 76 percent of our workforce in Pará are born within the state. We also support sports, cultural activities, and education for vulnerable children and young people.
In 2018 we initiated the Sustainable Barcarena Initiative, an independent platform for sustainable development in Barcarena in Pará state with the overall aim to bring local stakeholders together to discuss challenges and opportunities, strengthen capabilities, and ultimately invest in the social initiatives they plan and develop together.
The Hydro Sustainability Fund (FSH) was created in 2019 to serve as a financing mechanism for community projects within the Sustainable Barcarena Initiative, with Hydro, Alunorte, and Albras committing BRL 100 million to the FSH over a 10-year period. In 2020, the FSH established partnerships with USAID and the Partnership Platform for the Amazon’s Solidarity initiative to strengthen initiatives in the Amazon region. In addition, a partnership between FSH, the Mitsui Fund, and Instituto Peabiru is allocating BRL 1.3 million to provide microfinancing for local family-based agricultural initiatives.
FSH launched its first round of financing through a call for projects in December 2019. By the end of 2022, FSH had so far invested BRL 6 million in more than 24 projects, directly benefiting 820 people and working in partnership with 137 organizations connected to the Sustainable Barcarena Initiative.
In line with our social strategy, we invested BRL 25 million to build and donate a technical school for the Department of Science and Technology of Pará. The school has capacity to provide technical training of 1,500 students in the industrial, commercial and agricultural sectors.
We have more than 10 community development programs in the state of Pará, with more than 700 employees involved in volunteer actions. Some of our community programs are linked to mining license requirements, while others are voluntary commitments. The projects target education, economic growth, decent work, capacity building, and strengthening of institutions. A few examples:
- Embarca Amazônia – Education and training of young entrepreneurs to support sustainable development of the Amazon along the social, economic, environmental, institutional/legal and ethnocultural dimensions, and focusing on productive chains, biodiversity, sustainable agriculture and creative economy
- Território do Saber – Partnership with the Paragominas municipality that seeks to improve quality of teaching with the aim to reduce illiteracy rates and functional illiteracy among young people and adults
- Sustentar Barcarena Program – Partnership with the Municipality of Barcarena to promote better solid waste management and environmental education policy
- Tipitix – Initiative to boost the trade of products from family producers in Barcarena, focusing on community agri-food entrepreneurship. The implementation of the program enables rural producers to increase their production, generate more added value for their products, and access new markets through innovative strategies. Beneficiaries also have access to marketing consultancies and offer micro-credit.
We have established initiatives to train community leaders in leadership and administration in the communities where we operate. Furthermore, we started a technical training program for community members along the pipeline to strengthen their job opportunities.
We value our partnership with the Government of the State of Pará that has seen Hydro investing BRL 165 million in the construction and subsequent donation of three Community Centers called “Usina da Paz”, or Peace Factory in Belém. These fully equipped facilities support the implementation of more than 70 different government programs, including social assistance, medical and dental care, training, legal advice, cultural events, entrepreneurship training, and social inclusion as part of a large-scale state policy TerPaz (Territories of Peace), with the aim to reduce crime and inequality in vulnerable areas of the state.
In Pará state, we also engage with regional initiatives to preserve the Amazon. We run several programs to develop local suppliers, enhance entrepreneurship and strengthen traditional livelihood.