Responsible sourcing and supply

Our Purpose as a company is to responsibly source the commodities that advance everyday life. Responsible sourcing is our commitment to take into account social, ethical and environmental considerations with regards to our products and supply chains and when managing our relationships with suppliers. 

Through our policies, standards and processes, including our Responsible Sourcing Policy and Supplier Code of Conduct, we respect human rights in accordance with the United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and the UN Global Compact

Our approach

Responsible sourcing, or supply chain responsibility, is our commitment to take into account social, ethical and environmental considerations when managing our relationships with suppliers, as well as to conduct due diligence on their supply chains and mitigation of human rights risks. 

Our responsible sourcing strategy considers production, sourcing of metals and minerals and procuring goods and services. Our policy and standards framework captures our commitments and expectations. 

We work collaboratively with experts, industry consortia, our peers and customers to understand fully the properties and potential impacts of our products throughout their supply chains and lifecycles.

Supply chain due diligence

Our customers are increasingly seeking assurance that their own supply chains do not have any links to human rights abuses. 

Our Supplier Code of Conduct set out our expectations for responsible sourcing and supply chain due diligence throughout the commodity value chain for our clients.

Our Supplier Code of Conduct apply to any individual, organisation or company that provides, sells or leases materials directly to Glencore companies, including goods and services. The Standards form the base of our robust risk-based supply chain due diligence (SCDD) programme, which aligns with the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development’s Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas (OECD DDG) 

We are incorporating the Supplier Code of Conduct, by reference, into all of our supplier contracts.

Our approach supports the identification, prevention and mitigation of potentially adverse impacts that could negatively affect people, environment or company reputation. It ensures the responsible and ethical sourcing and production of the minerals and metals that we bring to market, as well as meeting external expectations and complying with regulations. 

Our marketing teams supply and source commodities from the industrial assets that we fully or partly own, as well as from third-party suppliers. 

Our industrial assets work closely with our marketing teams, with our traders regularly visiting industrial sites. We promote cooperative networks within the Glencore Group to ensure we incorporate lifecycle management into all phases of production and sales. Our traders meet with our customers regularly to share advice on process safety and best practice.

It is an ongoing process to identify and address actual or potential risks in order to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts in our supply chain. We tailor the SCDD programme to work collaboratively with our suppliers to evaluate their business practices and support the realisation of the expectations set out in our Supplier Code of Conduct. 

Our SCDD for minerals and metals volumes seeks to confirm that our suppliers operate in accordance with our Supplier Code of Conduct, as well as to confirm our suppliers do not knowingly tolerate, contribute to or profit from any of the OECD DDG ANNEX II risks. If a high level of risk is identified, we work with the supplier to determine appropriate corrective action until both parties agree the desired outcome has been achieved within an agreed timeframe.

Responsible procurement

We are committed to purchasing products and services from suppliers that operate in a manner that is responsible, transparent and respects the human rights of all. 

Our industrial assets are implementing systems and processes to ensure they are working with responsible suppliers.

We require all suppliers that have potentially high risks of human rights-related impacts within their supply chain to complete a self-assessment based on our Supplier Standards. If self-assessment identifies issues or unacceptable levels of risk, we agree with the affected supplier, appropriate corrective actions and risk mitigation measures. We monitor progress and track implementation of performance KPIs.

Transportation and distribution

Our products move through the hands of many service providers, such as warehouses, land freight and shipping lines. 

As each stage can have an impact on quality, we have quality controls at specific stages of the supply chain, especially loading and discharge locations. These controls form the backbone of our quality assurance programmes. Independent assessors or qualified Glencore people conduct the assurance, which an internationally accredited inspection organisation signs off.

We inform our workers, transporters and customers of the possible hazards of our products and which safety precautions they need to follow when handling, storing and transporting our product to prevent physical, personal and environmental harm. We provide this information in material safety data sheets, which we update regularly and send to our customers.

We maintain over 7,000 safety datasheets covering all our products, including variants for different countries and legal entities. The datasheets reflect the classifications developed by industry associations and consortia; they provide information on the precautions workers should take during handling, as well as responsible storage and distribution.

They are available in all 24 official EU languages, plus others such as Mandarin, Japanese and Korean where appropriate.

We follow the UN globally harmonised system for classification and labelling of chemicals (GHS), the EU REACh regulations on the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals, and the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) Responsible Gold guidance.

We participate in the REACh consortia related to the metals we produce; these include the consortia for zinc, cadmium, sulphuric acid, lead and precious metals. We also engage with external and internal stakeholders on this evolving topic.

We have strong relationships with a number of industry organisations. Our participation allow us to engage with our peers and downstream users of our products, as well as providing an opportunity to contribute to the development of industry standards. 

Working with the Cobalt Institute

Glencore is one of the world’s leading producers and marketer of cobalt, a metal in rising demand due to its use in batteries for electric vehicles and portable electronics. 

We produce cobalt mainly as a by-product of copper mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as well as from nickel mining in Australia and Canada.

Early in 2019, we worked with the Cobalt Institute on its Cobalt Industry Responsible Assessment Framework (CIRAF). This framework strengthens the ability of cobalt producers and buyers to assess, mitigate and report on responsible production and sourcing risks in their operations and supply chain. 

The CIRAF also enables a more coherent and consistent approach to cobalt due diligence and reporting by the cobalt industry.

Glencore has supported the development of the CIRAF programme from the outset. In 2019, we piloted its self-assessment tool. Piloting the programme gave us the opportunity to asses our policies and systems against the CIRAF and multiple external expectations, as well as allowing us to gauge our responsible sourcing and operation practices.

We will report on our efforts regarding the risks identified by the CIRAF and utilise the CIRAF to develop more focused reporting on ethical practices in the cobalt supply chain.

Site audits with the Responsible Minerals Initiative

We are a member of the Responsible Minerals Initiative RMI). The RMI is a respected resource for its 380 member companies, who seek to address responsible mineral sourcing issues in their supply chains. The RMI brings together many of our major customers.

We worked with the RMI to pilot the Cobalt Refiner Due Diligence Standard using the  Responsible Minerals Assurance Process (RMAP) at both our Murrin Murrin nickel asset in Australia and our Kamoto Copper Company (KCC) copper asset in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The RMAP is an independent third-party assessments of smelter and refinery management systems and sourcing practices. 

RMAP standards meet the requirements of the OECD DDG, the Regulation (EU) 2017/821 of the European Parliament and the U.S. Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. 

Both Murrin Murrin and KCC achieved conformance status with the pilot standard and have since maintained conformance with the active Cobalt Refiner Due Diligence Standard and are publicly listed on the RMI Cobalt Refiners List. Murrin Murrin’s public due diligence report is available here and the KCC Public Due Diligence report is available here (see ‘Archive’ list).

Fair Cobalt Alliance (FCA)

In 2020, we became members of the Fair Cobalt Alliance  (FCA). 

The FCA’s mission is to transform positively artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and work towards eliminating child and forced labour, as well as other dangerous practices. Through its partners in the DRC, the FCA aims to tackle long-standing challenges within the ASM sector. Its objectives include achieving a child-labour free Kolwezi, supporting the professionalisation of ASM through the adoption of responsible mining practices, and identifying and supporting alternative livelihoods to help increase incomes and reduce poverty.

We are already committed to working with our local communities and other stakeholders in the DRC to address the endemic poverty in this region that is the underlying cause of ASM. Glencore, through our support of the FCA, will support legitimate ASM cooperatives in their endeavours to transform their practices and align with international human rights practices, especially in the prevention of child labour.

Engaging in blockchain networks

Traceability is an important enabler for the promotion of responsible practices in supply chains, and blockchain technology offers an effective platform for this. 

During 2019, we became one of seven leading mining and metals companies to join forces to accelerate responsible sourcing of raw materials with the World Economic Forum. The Mining and Metals Blockchain Initiative will explore the building of a blockchain platform to address transparency, the tracking and tracing of materials, the reporting of carbon emissions or increasing efficiency.

The initiative aims to be a neutral enabler for the industry, addressing the lack of standardisation and improving efficiency and trust between upstream and downstream partners.

In 2021, we joined the metals and mining companies CMOC and Eurasian Resources Group, as well as the battery material supplier Umicore, to pilot ReISource, a solution to trace responsibly produced cobalt from the mine to the electric car. A global EV pioneer and one of the world’s leading battery makers are also part of the pilot. Tested in real operating conditions, from upstream cobalt production facilities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to downstream electric vehicle production sites, the pilot will run until the end of 2021, with the roll-out of the final solution expected in 2022.

Ongoing engagement with the London Metal Exchange

In 2019, we engaged with the London Metal Exchange (LME) ahead of the launch of its responsible sourcing requirements, which align with the OECD DDG. 

The approach looks at the supply chain’s transparency and custody. The LME expects refineries to establish frameworks that comply with this requirement by mid-2022. 

The LME also requires registered brands to undergo a number of assessments, including independent third-party audits of supply chain due diligence and ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001/ ISO 45001 certifications, or equivalent, by the end of 2023.

Principles we follow

UN Global Compact
UN Global Compact
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Principle 1
Principle 1

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

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Principle 2
Principle 2

make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses

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Principle 8
Principle 8

Responsible Production

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Principle 9
Principle 9

Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

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Principle 12
Principle 12

Responsible Consumptionand Production

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Human rights
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