Human rights

We are committed to respecting human rights in line with the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We uphold the dignity, fundamental freedoms and human rights of our people, communities and others potentially affected by our activities. 

Our ambition is to uphold and promote respect for human rights within the Group and throughout our value chain to enable people’s basic rights and freedoms. We aim to:

  • avoid causing, or contributing to adverse human rights impacts;
  • prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts linked to our operations, products or services through our business relationships; and
  • make a positive contribution to the advancement of human rights of all people, including vulnerable groups. In the event that we cause or contribute to an adverse impact on human rights, we provide for, or cooperate in, processes to enable appropriate remedy.

Our approach

We demonstrate respect for human rights and seek to manage human rights risks at each stage of our business and, for industrial assets, at every stage of the project life cycle from exploration through to closure. 

We seek to apply relevant international standards to understand, control and mitigate our impacts. 

We are committed to implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We uphold the UN Declaration of Human Rights  and the International Labour Organization Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

We support the UN Global Compact and follow the principles set out in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. 

We operate in accordance with the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (Voluntary Principles), International Finance Corporation’s Standard 5 and ICMM’s Position Statement on Indigenous Peoples and Mining.  

We articulate these commitments in our Code of Conduct and Group policies, including our Group Human Rights Policy and Social Performance Policy.

Case study: Resettling communities in Colombia

Embedding and managing respect for human rights across our business?

We respect human rights everywhere we operate. We uphold the human rights of our people, local communities, and broader society including vulnerable groups such as women, children, Indigenous people and victims of conflict, and others potentially affected by our activities.

Our Board HSEC Committee oversees the implementation of our Group Human Rights Policy

We require our assets, at a minimum, to:

  • Identify and assess risks of human rights impacts
  • Develop controls to prevent, mitigate or remediate adverse human rights impacts
  • Engage and consult with affected groups to enable  their meaningful participation in decisions affecting them
  • Set up and maintain effective grievance and/or complaints mechanisms
  • Provide or participate in effective remediation if they have caused or contributed to an adverse human rights impact, giving particular attention to vulnerable and previously disadvantaged groups
  • Take steps to ensure business partners demonstrate respect for human rights
  • Set up monitoring and review processes to meet the requirements of the Group Human Rights Policy
  • Implement risk controls and corrective actions where relevant to continually improve  human rights performance

Assets implement  Group polices to ensure local cultures, challenges and opportunities are reflected while meeting Glencore’s expectations. All our employees have a role to play in respecting human rights, as outlined in our Code of Conduct.

We report complaints, grievances and serious incidents relating to human rights to the Board HSEC Committee.

Our salient risks

Our salient risks assessment considers risks to people. Our material topic assessment considers both impact to business and impact to rightsholders. As a result, our salient risks and our material topics do not align perfectly. 

We identified six salient human rights risks across the Group: labour rights, safety, health, security, inequality and water.


Enabling complaints and grievances

We aim to avoid causing, or contributing to adverse human rights impacts; to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts linked to our operations, products or services through our business relationships; and to make a positive contribution to the advancement of human rights of all people, including vulnerable groups. 

We investigate human rights incidents to understand causes and contributing factors, and we take remedial actions to avoid them being repeated. 

All our operations are required to have in place local-level complaints and grievance processes that are legitimate, accessible, predictable, equitable, transparent, rights-compatible, a source of continuous learning, and based on engagement and dialogue. 

In line with the UN Guiding Principles effectiveness criteria, we require our assets to ensure local people are aware of the mechanism and can access it easily. 

Channels for communication include dedicated phone lines, complaints registers in public places, SMS hotlines and offices in local towns where people can visit in person. Where necessary, assets record complaints with a witness present. 

A risk assessment determines the sophistication and formality of each type of mechanism, covering elements such as existing legal frameworks in the local region and that asset’s existing or future impact on its host communities.

Our Raising Concerns platform is available to all stakeholders, including employees and contractors, and includes a 24/7 confidential reporting line. We continually monitor these processes to identify improvement opportunities.

We require our assets to investigate all complaints. Concerns received through these mechanisms are reported to senior operational and departmental management and to the Board HSEC Committee on a quarterly basis. 

We encourage people to raise concerns with us without fear of recrimination. Our commitment is to investigate the concerns and take necessary actions to promote respect for human rights. 

Working with security providers

We work with security providers in accordance with the Voluntary Principles and our own Security Standard. 

We require our assets to conduct risk assessments for conflict and security concerns.  All assets that will utilise security providers must align their practices with the Voluntary Principles. This includes engaging private and public security providers on our expectations for the conduct of personnel deployed at our assets and agreeing a mechanism for incident investigation and escalation. It is our preference to document these expectations in a Memorandum of Understanding.

We expect all security personnel to complete locally appropriate training to improve their understanding of human rights and our expectations for their conduct. Training will typically address issues such as use of force, use of equipment and conduct in situations of public unrest.

Assets are required to manage processes for stakeholders to express concerns related to security activities.  The mechanisms may include regular meetings between security management and communities, existing complaints and grievance mechanisms, or dedicated hotlines or mailboxes for security issues. We review and investigate all complaints; where they concern the conduct of public security officers deployed on our concessions, we escalate these with the relevant chain of command. Assets consult with other companies, government officials and wider civil society to share their experiences with private security firms.
When we identify higher security risks, we screen our security contractors’ human rights performance and their ability to comply with our Policy. We also reference the Voluntary Principles in contracts or memoranda of understanding with security providers.

We detail the standards we expect of all our suppliers in our Supplier Standards. Our standards align with ICMM principles and international standards, the ILO conventions and the UNGPs. We also monitor private security providers to ensure they operate in a manner consistent with our standards.

When we enter into joint ventures where we are not the operator, we seek to influence our business partners to adopt similar policies and procedures to those of Glencore wherever possible.

Avoiding resettlement wherever possible

We seek to avoid resettlement wherever possible. When unavoidable, we follow the principles of IFC Performance Standard 5: Land Acquisition and Involuntary Resettlement. 

Throughout resettlement, our priority is to ensure that all affected stakeholders have full participation. Following any resettlement, through ongoing monitoring, we seek to ensure the communities involved can maintain productive livelihoods.

Forced and child labour

We recognise the risks of forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and other labour standards violations within our supply chains. We are committed to preventing the occurrence of modern slavery and human trafficking in our operations and supply chains. 

We publish an annual Modern Slavery Statement  that aligns with the UK and Australian governments' reporting requirements. Our statement sets out our approach and the steps taken to prevent slavery in our organisation and supply chain.

The International Labour Organization estimates there are 152 million victims of child labour worldwide. Almost half of them, it states, work in hazardous conditions. The prevalence of child labour is particularly concerning in Africa, where 71 million of these victims are located. Statistically speaking, one in every five children in Africa is engaged in child labour. At Glencore, we are actively investing in ways to combat this. Read more

Listen to David Brocas, Lead Cobalt Trader, explain the zero tolerance approach we have towards child labour

Principles we follow
UN Global compact
Principle 1

businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights

Principle 2

make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses

UN Sustainable Development Goals
Reduced inequalities
Peace, justice and strong institutions
Partnerships for the goals