Hydro's third-party grievance mechanism “Canal Direto” is now fully implemented in Brazil. The purpose is to provide an improved and more accessible channel for complaints and feedback from local stakeholders.
The grievance mechanism is important to protect the rights of individuals and groups affected by Hydro's operations by enabling local stakeholders to express concerns, complaints, compliments and suggestions directly to the operations. Grievances may be of any kind, including social and environmental issues.
The implementation of the new system will help Hydro to address stakeholder concerns more effectively. The new system replaces grievance mechanisms already in existence at the various operations, in order to improve functionality, monitoring, integration, and local knowledge of the mechanism.
“The grievance mechanism will improve our ability to maintain good dialogue with local communities and to better understand the concerns of our neighbors,” says Hans Eide Aarre, head of Corporate Social Responsibility in Bauxite & Alumina in Hydro Brazil.
Different channels for engagement
Grievances can be registered through several channels, such as a toll-free direct telephone number, email and an online form. Dedicated specially trained field workers will also be able to receive inquiries directly from stakeholders who might not have access to electronic channels.
Inquiries may be submitted anonymously if desired. Grievances will be received centrally at Hydro’s regional administrative center in Belém and forwarded to relevant personnel at the various sites to ensure qualified responses.
Aarre explains how Hydro Brazil plans to get the mechanism known among local stakeholders: “A large information campaign is under way – flyers will be distributed and Canal Direto will be announced on billboards, on the local radio station and newspaper. The mechanism will also be highlighted in Hydro’s local newsletter to the communities, Canal Aberto, which is distributed locally in the communities, churches, community centers and stores.”
More proactive stakeholder management
The new system will support an even more proactive stakeholder management in Hydro.
“This is a very important tool for Hydro. The integration and improvement of the system will allow Hydro to monitor larger areas, to enhance our understanding of our improvement potentials and to easier detect the impacts of our actions,” Aarre says.
The system could be used in more of Hydro’s operations. Hydro sites in other countries mainly have other local grievance mechanisms in place, but the Brazilian system will work as a pilot for a systematic implementation in all of Hydro.