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Case study: How Valcambi promotes and protects human rights

Valcambi is a Swiss-based world-leading precious metals refiner, seeking to be the global leader in gold refining and manufacturing recognised for creating sustainable value and a better gold industry for all. Respect for human rights is a top priority of Valcambi  Tweet This!, and a commitment that extends beyond having a policy on human rights embedded in its Code of Conduct.

This case study is based on the 2019 Sustainability Report by Valcambi published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Valcambi seeks to make sure that its commitment to respecting human rights is exemplified by its actions and those of each employee, supplier and business partner. In order to promote and protect human rights Valcambi took action to:

  • promote compliance
  • conduct due diligence

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2019 Sustainability Report Valcambi identified a range of material issues, such as governance and ethics, sustainability development in mining communities, product traceability, climate change. Among these, promoting and protecting human rights stands out as a key material issue for Valcambi.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards           

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Valcambi engages with:  

To identify and prioritise material topics Valcambi engaged with its stakeholders through the following channels:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Shareholders ·      Periodic meetings
Board

 

·      Periodic meetings

·      Monthly reporting on business progress

Management ·      Periodic meetings
Employees

 

·      Quarterly report

·      Communications on notice-boards

·      Meetings with union representatives

·      Code of Conduct

·      Coordination meetings

·      Company events

·      Work climate survey

·      Website / Sustainability Report

Customers

 

 

·      Periodic customer satisfaction surveys

·      Ongoing communication

·      Interactions through industry associations

·      Client onboarding process (due diligence)

·      KYC (Know Your Client Process)

·      Website / Sustainability Report

Suppliers

 

 

·      Client onboarding process (due diligence)

·      KYC (Know Your Client Process)

·      KYP (Know Your Product Process)

·      Website, e-mail, telephone

·      Suppliers’ evaluation process

·      Code of Conduct

Competitors

 

·      Meetings with industry associations

·      Website

Local and national institutions, authorities ·      Monthly communication

·      Information meetings

Local communities ·      Website / Sustainability Report
Public services

 

·      Regular communication

·      Website

Trade and industry associations ·      Periodic meetings

 

NGOs national and international ·      Meetings

·      Website / Sustainability Report

Media ·      Meetings

·      Website (news) / Sustainability Report

What actions were taken by Valcambi to promote and protect human rights?

In its 2019 Sustainability Report Valcambi reports that it took the following actions for promoting and protecting human rights:

  • Promoting compliance
  • Valcambi frames its commitment to human rights in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business (ILO) and Human Rights, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-affected and High Risk Areas. Valcambi also complies with the GRI Standards and upholds the framework set by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and with relevant sector standards such as the LBMA Gold Guidance and the Responsible Jewellery Council Code of Practice and Chain of Custody Standard. Valcambi’s Compliance Officer is responsible for overseeing and managing all aspects related to human rights. He/she ensures that management and employees act in compliance with the rules and regulations of regulatory agencies and are aware of any potential risks of dealing with potential and current business partners.
  • Conducting due diligence
  • Human Rights due diligence is systematic for Valcambi when selecting a counterparty and Valcambi asks all of them to confirm their commitment to not tolerate any form of child labour. Valcambi actively cooperates with international organisations to support projects that aim to respect and support human rights. In particular, before sourcing from ASM, Valcambi conducts enhanced due diligence with a special focus on checking that there is no child labour and exposure of young workers to hazardous work and forced or compulsory labour. Valcambi looks not only at the situation on the mining site itself, but also in the mining communities surrounding the mine. Valcambi systematically conducts on-site visits to ensure the respect of human rights. In doing so, Valcambi not only complies but goes beyond the OECD Due Diligence Guidance, Fairtrade and Fairmined standards for gold and associated precious metals from artisanal mining.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 408-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of child labor

2) Disclosure 409-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of forced or compulsory labor

 

Disclosure 408-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of child labor corresponds to:

Disclosure 409-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of forced or compulsory labor corresponds to:

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.



FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE

By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

Most importantly, you will gain the knowledge to use the GRI Standards, project manage your own first-class sustainability report and:

  • Identify your most important impacts on the Environment, Economy and Society
  • Begin taking solid, focused, all-round sustainability action ASAP

 

References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Valcambi, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

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