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Responding department: Social Standards and International Engagement

Does your company have a publicly available commitment to respect human rights?

Yes.  Our Human Rights Policy [link] is a stand alone Policy. However, we have other policies that address human rights issues: Labor Social Responsibility Policy [link], Equal opportunity Policy [link], Prior Consultation principles, Human Rights clauses in contracts, Collective Bargaining Agreement.

How are human rights governed in your company?

The Human Rights responsility lies in the Vice Presidency for Public Affairs and Communications and the specific implementation of the Human Rights due diligence process is implemented by the Department of Social Standards and International Engagement.

How are human rights managed within your company?

Human rights are addressed through a due diligence process that includes: the implementation of the policy, risk and impact assessment, training, monitoring actions implemented in each company area to prevent impacts and avoid human rights abuses, complaints office to investigate and compensate whenever necessary. In 2010 we conduceted our first integrates SIA/HRIA and are planning to carry out a second assessment on 2015. In our business relationships we: include a self assessment aligned to AA8000, included human rights clauses, provide training and include contractors in complaints mechanism. On security issues we have a specific Voluntary Principles implementation model to prevent impacts which includes: socialization of Human Rights Policy to private and public security providers, risk/impact assessment, human rights clauses in contracts and agreements, permanent engagement to discuss issues, training on VP, human rights and indigenous customs and traditions, measure performance by using VP implementation indicators, promote dialogue sessions on security with community members, private/public security providers, company and local authorities, investigate all complaints through our Complaints Office.

What is the company’s approach to the engagement of stakeholders (including workers, and local communities impacted by the company’s activities), on human rights issues?

Cerrejón's approach, as defined our human rights policy seeks to respect the rights of employees, members of contractor companys and neighbor communities, with special focus on vulnerable populations icluding: children, women, disabled population, ethnic groups, minorities, and others. We seek to respect their rights by identifying, avoiding and mitigating possible impacts. We compensate/remedy whenever an impact occurs.

Priority human rights issues: What are some of the priority human rights issues for your company?

The company selected the following from a check list:

  • Health (including environmental health,workplace health & safety)
  • Workplace diversity / non-discrimination
  • Operations in conflict zones
  • Displacement and community relocation
  • Access to water
  • Freedom of association and trade union rights
  • Relations with security forces
  • Transparency in payments to governments / responsible tax practices
  • Children (including child labour)
  • Indigenous peoples

Actions on health

Examples of health management: we have a workplace health and safety management System dedicated to providing occupational health services to our workers. A team of 300 specialized professional implement this program. We control operational hazards by implementing protocols and tools, we have complementary health service and chemical risk management systems, carry out studies and support independent studies. In relation to community health we implement an Environmental management System that focuses on air and water quality monitoring and management system and solid waste management system. We comply with national Law and have defined stricter goals on air quality to ensure that communties health is not affected.

How are human rights commitments and information about how the company addresses its human rights impacts communicated, internally and externally?

We use the GRI to report on our human rights performance. We have started to work on an internal assurance system to determine the level of implementation of the five standards adopted by Cerrejón: IFC perfomance standards, UN Guiding Principles, Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, UN Global Compact and ICMM sustainability framework. We are evaluating the results from RAFI to determine how they can be incorporated in the local assurance system.

What provisions does your company have in place to ensure that grievances from workers and affected communities or individuals are heard, and can you provide examples of remedies provided?

Cerrejón participated in 2009 in Professor John Ruggie's pilot project to implement a rights-based grievance mechanism. The Complaints Office was launched in 2010 and since then we have been addressing complaints following the effectiveness criteria defined in the UN Guiding Principles.

The majority of complaints presented are classified under Community issues, most of them related to the killing of animals by the train that carries the coal from the mine to the port. Although we are not legally responsible, Cerrejón recognized after implementing the complaints office that this was an impact that affected the livelihood of communities and the relationship between the company and those impacted. We have defined compensation measures that follow specific criteria that seeks to respond to the issue, promote co-responsibility, discourage from recurring, etc.

Which external and collaborative human rights initiatives does your company participate in, and what is the nature of your involvement?

We are members of: the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights (GBI) since 2010, the UN Global Compact's Human Rights and Labour working group since 2011, founders of the UN Global Compatc's Latin American Regional Center (2010), members of the Colombian Energy and Mining Committee that implements VP [Voluntary Principles] in Colombia, members of the Avina led Dialogue Roundtable on Mining in Colombia.

Which are the key one, two or three elements of your approach to human rights that been developed or amended since June 2011? Please indicate if these actions were in response to the UN Guiding Principles.

Adjusted our Human Rights Policy after the endosersement of the UN Guiding Principles by the UN Human Rights Council. Carrying out our SIA/HRIA. Adjusted human rights training. Defined prior consultation principles Strengthened VP [Voluntary Principles] implementation.

What are some of the obstacles and challenges that your company encounters in implementing its human rights commitments?

State weakness in the region where we operate. Presence of illegal armed groups. Impact assessment criteria. Legacy issues High confrontation attitude and lack of dialogue based on evidence.