As the world’s leading steel company, with operations in more than 60 countries, we have a responsibility to respect the human rights of all those we do business with. This not only includes rightsholders that work within our sites and offices (SD outcome 1), but also those beyond our walls. Among these are local communities (SD outcome 8), with whom we share the use of natural resources; we must also be aware of the possible and perceived consequences that our operations and transactions may have throughout our supply chains, in the businesses of our suppliers and contractors (SD outcome 7). Doing this requires integrating a human rights mindset into all management practices.
We want to ensure that human rights standards are incorporated in all of our operations, and that relevant employees receive up to date training on human rights, in line with our human rights policy, Community Relations Procedure and other international commitments.
Human rights are integral to our approach to sustainable development across all ten outcomes, and governs how we behave towards our employees, contractors, suppliers, and the communities in which we work.
Policy: Our human rights policy, first developed in 2010, is reviewed regularly in line with evolving international standards such as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the UK Modern Slavery Act. Our current policy was approved by the Board of Directors in June 2017. It draws on the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Bill of Human Rights, the core Conventions of the International Labour Organization, and the UN Global Compact. It also aims to incorporate the UN SDG 8’s focus on decent working conditions, including target 8.7 on eradicating modern slavery. The policy includes commitments to workers, local communities and business partners and covers health and safety, labour rights, the rights of indigenous people and our approach to resettlement of communities when this is necessary.
Training: We require all employees in appropriate functions to undergo human rights training every three years. In 2018, 94.1% of the Company’s relevant workforce had completed up-to-date human rights training, up from 66% in 2017. We provide our stakeholders – including employees, contractors, and community members – with the facility to raise a grievance of any kind through a confidential grievance mechanism at site level, or through whistleblowing lines at country level. We also have a central whistleblowing channel.
Due diligence: In 2018, we continued to deepen our understanding of the relevant risks in our supply chain by strengthening our supply chain risk management and audit processes. The most salient human rights risk was identified in the raw materials part of our supply chain and this is also the focus of interest for our customers.
Audits: We have actively contributed to the development of ResponsibleSteel™, a third-party certification standard, as well as several mining certification standards. We are working to ensure that our sites and our supply chain uphold these standards, reflecting international human rights, environmental and governance standards, and in 2019 began preparation for certification of sites against the ResponsibleSteel™ standard by third parties.