Our ongoing program of site-level Human Rights Impact and Assessments (HRIAs) act as a form of deep-dive verification. These assessments use a comprehensive, systematic and United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UN Guiding Principles)-aligned HRIA methodology to identify and prioritize each operation’s human rights risks and impacts. In many cases, risks and impacts already have been identified via the site’s SD Risk Register Process, management systems and grievance mechanisms. However, the application of a specific human rights ‘lens’ means these site-level HRIAs are able to:
- Supplement these results with hidden or unreported risks and impacts that are not otherwise being captured (including through direct engagement with affected and potentially affected rights holders)
- Use a structured framework to prioritize identified risks and impacts using the specific criteria set out in the UN Guiding Principles (e.g. scope, scale and remediability)
- Deliver additional analytical insight into identified risks and impacts from a human rights perspective
As such, site-level HRIAs help us test our established management systems for effectiveness in identifying, mitigating and remediating human rights risks and impacts.
Our Human Rights Dashboard reflects the extent of our potential human rights risks and impacts and thus the scope of our HRIA methodology. Each dashboard topic is mapped to recognized international human rights to support a comprehensive, rights-driven approach that is organized in a way that is accessible to our internal and external stakeholders. Certain dashboard topics (like artisanal mining and indigenous peoples) may not be relevant at certain operating locations.
A variety of factors are considered when prioritizing sites for specific human rights due diligence. We consider which sites have a higher human rights risk profile, as well as whether a site has recently undergone / has potential for significant operational change, stakeholder feedback and other practical considerations regarding implementation.
The first step in our HRIA process is to conduct a desk-based assessment of human rights risks and impacts using:
- Verisk Maplecroft’s proprietary country-level Human Rights Risk Indices
- Third-party sources, including the media and civil society
- Operational Sustainable Development (SD) Risk Registers, grievance mechanisms, health and safety reports, environmental reports, ICMM assurance report, 5-Year Community Engagement and Development Plan and other relevant sources
- A HRIA Self-Assessment Questionnaire completed by senior personnel at both corporate and site levels
This desk-based assessment informs planning for and implementation of fieldwork. Extensive direct engagement in the field is core to our site-level HRIA process. Consultants from Verisk Maplecroft spend approximately two weeks visiting the operation and surrounding communities. During this time, they engage with a cross section of actually or potentially affected rights holders (or those with insight into the same) in and around the site and surrounding communities. Key criteria for identifying stakeholders to engage as part of our site-level HRIAs include the following:
- The likelihood that a stakeholder's human rights might be undermined by our business activities and/or relationships (as well as the potential severity of such an impact)
- The severity of impacts linked to our business and / or relationships that have undermined a stakeholder's human rights
- The specific vulnerability of certain stakeholders to negative human rights impacts linked to our business and / or relationships
- The degree to which a stakeholder is either unwilling or unable to use conventional grievance mechanisms (whether public or linked to the company) to raise human rights concerns
- The degree to which stakeholders are able to provide insight into the existence and / or nature of any negative human rights impacts our business and / or relationships have on themselves, their communities and / or third parties
Employees, suppliers / contractors, community members and third parties are asked (by reference to the dashboard topics) about any negative impacts associated with the operation. Interviews are conducted on both an individual and collective basis in locations and ways that encourage transparent and constructive discussions. With the exception of our own managers, who offer their professional analysis of the site’s human rights risks and impacts, interviewees are offered anonymity before engagement. Engagement is focused on a living list of stakeholders that evolves throughout the engagement, due to stakeholder recommendations and the identification of new lines of inquiry. Interviews are conducted in the applicable local language (sometimes with translation support).
These interviews help us:
- Verify the initial desktop assessment of human rights risks and impacts
- Capture less "visible" risks and impacts (e.g. where rights holders were unable or unwilling to use sites’ established grievance mechanisms or to raise issues with third parties)
- Gain insight into broader human rights dynamics that are less focused on specific incidents or complaints likely to be recorded in the sites’ established grievance mechanisms – and as such provide a richer picture of risks and issues
- Understand the specific impacts associated with identifiable vulnerable groups, such as women, children, minority groups and the very poor
- Identify any misperceptions among stakeholders
Direct input from rights holders also helps us test the effectiveness of our established human rights-relevant management systems in identifying and addressing human rights risks and impacts.
The but for test is applied in relation to the identification of human rights impacts caused by, contributed to by, or otherwise linked to the site, its activities or its business partners (i.e. But for the existence of the site, its activities and relationships, would the impact have taken place or been as severe?). Alleged impacts are included in the assessment even if there is uncertainty regarding the supporting facts and / or the causative relationship.
We include a parallel exercise to identify the degree to which the site(s) positively maintains and / or advances human rights within their areas of influence. While understanding that positive human rights impacts cannot offset negative impacts, this exercise provides a more comprehensive view of our overall human rights performance.
Following completion of the assessment, Verisk Maplecroft presents the findings to the site management team and members of the corporate Human Rights Working Group. The results also are reported to both the SD Leadership Team and the Corporate Responsibility Committee of the Board of Directors.
Please refer to the Cerro Verde HRIA and New Mexico Operations HRIA sections for recent examples.
Integrating Findings and Taking Action
After completion of an HRIA, operations use the HRIA results to update their SD Risk Registers.
Site-level HRIA reports include recommendations on priority areas for investigation and / or action. These recommendations are reviewed by site management in collaboration with the Corporate SD team. Where HRIAs identify ‘gaps’ in a site’s established human rights-relevant management systems, operations personnel work with cross-functional teams to develop HRIA Action Plans. HRIA Action Plans support continuous improvement of existing systems and processes. Where necessary, they establish new measures to investigate, prevent, mitigate and/or remedy human rights risks and impacts. Refer to the Cerro Verde HRIA section for examples.
We are enhancing our process for integrating HRIA Action Plans into and tracking progress within the site’s existing SD Risk Register Process. Early in 2019, we reviewed our HRIA Action Plan process and developed guidance to assist operations subject to an HRIA implement the process. The main update to the HRIA Action Plan form was the addition of a desired outcome field, where sites are asked to indicate the desired outcome associated with each action item (e.g. what would indicate when the action item would be ‘complete’). Desired outcomes can be measured using qualitative or quantitative indicators. Such indicators are intended to help sites better assess the effectiveness of action item implementation and whether or not the actions taken have produced the desired results. The updated form and associated guidance will be rolled out in 2019. The corporate SD Department and senior, multi-disciplinary experts coordinate with site personnel so that prioritization processes are consistent with corporate procedures and provide associated guidance.
We report on our human rights programs and due diligence (i.e. HRIAs) in the human rights section of our annual Working Toward Sustainable Development Reports. This is in addition to content describing our approach toward managing our Sustainability Focus Areas, as well as relevant performance outcomes. We also organize periodic international stakeholder calls and make presentations via multi-stakeholder forums, during which we provide updates on our human rights programs and report on our site-level HRIAs. This takes place in the context of our broader program of ongoing Stakeholder Engagement.
At a local level, the means by which we communicate our human rights performance varies by site and geographic/social context. Refer to the Cerro Verde HRIA section, the New Mexico Operations HRIA section and our Annual Reports to the Voluntary Principles Plenary in Reports and Documents for recent examples.
Furthermore, we set company-wide performance targets to support key objectives, including in areas prioritized in our SD Risk Register. This includes a target of incurring zero gross human rights violations at our operations caused by our employees or contractors as well as a target of incurring zero fatalities. Refer to Performance Targets for the full list of our targets and our 2018 performance.
PHOTO DESCRIPTION: Field work for the Cerro Verde HRIA included extensive, on-the-ground engagement with 142 stakeholders in and around our Cerro Verde mine, including the city of Arequipa and its surrounding communities.