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Range of human rights abuses by extractive companies allegedly tied to European financial institutions: companies respond to Facing Finance report

Dirty-Profits-6-cover-image

"The global extractives industry is heavily involved in some of the worst labour, environmental and human rights violations. The rights of communities, farmers and indigenous people are being trampled in the push for ever more extraction. Indeed all businesses must respect and contribute to the society where they operate, and investors too have a critical role to play, particularly in the current mining upturn.

In Dirty Profits 6 Facing Finance shows how extractive companies have dealt with human rights and environmental violations shown in Dirty Profits reports since 2012, as well as how selected European banks have reacted to these violations in their provision of finance over time."

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited 10 extractive companies and 10 banks mentioned in the report to respond - the following 18 companies responded:

  • Anglo American
  • Barrick Gold
  • BHP Billiton
  • Eni SpA
  • Glencore
  • Goldcorp
  • Rio Tinto
  • Vale
  • Barclays
  • BNP Paribas
  • Credit Agricole
  • Credit Suisse
  • Deutsche Bank
  • DZ Bank
  • HSBC
  • ING
  • Rabobank
  • UBS

Gazprom and Grupo Mexico did not respond.

Concerns are related to human rights impacts including labour rights, environmental pollution, indigenous rights, land rights, intimidation of project opponents, and violence including rape and murder by security forces at project sites.

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Company response
16 July 2018

Rio Tinto response

"Rio Tinto has long-recognised the importance of human rights. We respect and support human rights consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, wherever we operate. We have our own Human rights policy and procedures and have made voluntary commitments to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the UN Global Compact and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. Our human rights approach is consistent with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Where our standards and procedures are stricter than local laws, we seek to apply our own standards. We integrate human rights considerations in our business processes..."

Download the full document here

Company response
16 July 2018

UBS response

“UBS applies a comprehensive environmental and social risk (ESR) policy framework to all its activities. The framework is publicly and transparently described in our ESR policy framework document available on https://www.ubs.com/global/en/about_ubs/ubs-and-society/download-center/2017.html  

We appreciate feedback by stakeholders on our ESR policies and processes, including via reports by non-governmental organizations. We regard, however, the approach & methodology used in the Dirty Profits report as flawed and we informed the authors of the report accordingly.”

Download the full document here

Company response
16 July 2018

Vale response

Author: Vale (Brazil)

[Please note Vale had already provided a response to Dirty Profits report 2018 in September 2017 and asked the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre to use it also here]
"Vale Response to 'Letter from Facing Finance regarding the Dirty Profits report 2018', 15 September 2017
...Dear Mrs. Lesley Burdock, Vale strongly disagrees with the content of the Dirty Profits Reports 2012 and 2013. The reports don't portray Vale´s Human Rights and Sustainability policies...La Morada, Peru Vale concluded...the process of devolution of this area to the Government of Peru...Moatize Mine, Mozambique...Vale is in compliance with the Resettlement Plan...agreed with, and approved by the Mozambican Authorities...Vale develops actions that not only guarantee livelihoods, but also actions that improve the quality of life of these populations... Rio Colorado Mine, Argentina...the company undertook a series of assessments for the final location of the Salt Storage Facility...Carajás Railroad, Brazil Vale seeks to maintain a respectful relationship and carry out actions that avoid, mitigate or compensate possible impacts of its operations on these populations... Samarco Mineração, Fundão Dam, Brazil Vale has responded to the emergency and continues to monitor and support all human rights remedy processes and environmental recovery of the Samarco accident...[T]he Samarco accident was a terrible, dramatic and unprecedented event in 73 years of Vale's existence...[F]rom the first day...[,]...Vale and its employees have been committed with the emergency response and...with the human rights remediation and environmental recovery...[T]he shareholders of Samarco, BHP Billiton and Vale...[,]...immediately launched a series of social, environmental and economic remediation and mitigation actions. An agreement with federal and state authorities was established...: Reparation ...[;]...Environmental compensation...[;]...Creation of the Renova Foundation to manage the socioenvironmental and socio economic programs...[;]...Implementation deadline of 15 years, renewable until all the programs have been implemented...[;]...Establishment of advisory committees with the participation of technical specialists, regulators and representatives of the communities...[;]...R$ 4.4 bi in the first three years (2016-2018) to guarantee the progress of the reparation and compensation actions...[;]...R$ 0.8-1.6 bi per year from 2019 to 2021...[;]...R$ 240 million per year over 15 years...[;]...Additional payment of 500 million to fund sanitation initiatives from 2016 to 2018...[V]ale...will continue to support Samarco in all that is necessary to minimize victims' pain and environmental damage...[and]... repudiates any and all forms of disrespect for human rights... Mina do Pico, Brazil...Because of alleged irregular outsourcing, as well as the submission of workers to the condition analogous to slavery, the ministry filed infringement proceedings against Vale. These tax assessments were all challenged by Vale. The classification of these irregularities as "labour analogous to slavery" is not appropriate...Onça Puma Nickel mine, Brazil Vale clarifies that..[it]...is regularly licensed...

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