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Managing our social impact

We recognize the importance of being a good neighbor to the local communities surrounding our operations, especially in the Amazon region. We have learned that we can only succeed as a company if the communities around us also succeed, which is why we strive to respect human rights, make a positive impact and support social change in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals of education, decent work and economic growth, peace, justice and strong institutions.

Hydro has many programs designed to improve lives and livelihoods where we operate, especially in Brazil.

Human rights

We acknowledge the many challenges related to human rights in the Amazon region. We recognize that businesses have a responsibility to respect human rights. We also recognize that business can have an important role in supporting and promoting human rights. You can read more about Hydro’s approach to human rights here, including stakeholder dialogue, grievance mechanism and remediation, and our main risks. In 2020, we conducted more than 800 social dialogues, meetings, and plant visits. Covid-19 prevention protocols were followed.

To better understand our human rights impact, we have recently performed a human rights impact assessment with action plans to be followed up in the next years. More information can be found here.

Our human rights policy underlines the importance we place in protecting the rights of vulnerable groups, including:

  • Indigenous and tribal peoples, and traditional communities
  • Human rights, worker rights, and environment defenders
  • Waste collectors

Community development

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% 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 the state of Pará, we have more than 10 community development programs, and more than 700 employees are involved in volunteer actions. Some of our community programs are linked to mining license requirements, while others are voluntary commitments. The programs target education, economic growth, decent work, capacity building, and strengthening of institutions. A few examples include:

  • Embarca 360 Project – Support 300 young entrepreneurs from Barcarena and Abaetetuba
  • Amesa Project – Support family-based farmers to sell to local private markets
  • Todos pelo Trabalho – Insertion of local professionals in multiple economic sectors in Barcarena
  • Sustentar Barcarena Program – Organization and qualification of waste collectors; implementation of a recyclable solid waste sorting unit; environmental education for the municipality of Barcarena
  • Minera Startup – Fostering local start-ups to harness innovation and achieve results

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. You can read more about the programs in the Sustainability report for Brazil.

We initiated the Sustainable Barcarena Initiative in 2018 and have continued developing it in 2020. The initiative is an independent platform for sustainable development in Barcarena in Pará state. The overall aim is to bring local stakeholders together to discuss challenges and opportunities, strengthen capabilities, and ultimately invest in the social initiatives they plan and develop together.

In 2019, we established the Hydro Sustainability Fund (FSH), which serves as a financing mechanism for the Sustainable Barcarena Initiative. Hydro, Alunorte, and Albras committed 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 response to Covid-19, the FSH together with these partners are financing income generation projects for local production of face masks, as well as strengthening existing social projects for local farmers through the pandemic. 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. Based on set criteria, BRL 765,000 are currently directed to projects that support local associations, building their capacities in terms of managing community businesses and promoting cultural events.

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. You can read more about the programs in the Sustainability report for Brazil.