At Rio Tinto, sustainable development is at the heart of everything we do. It is integral to our daily operations, to our legacy and to our future.
Our approach creates competitive advantage. It helps deliver better return for shareholders, cut operating costs, attract high calibre employees, reduce environmental impacts and provides more business opportunities.
Our sustainable development strategy, focused on environmental stewardship, social wellbeing, economic prosperity, and within our strong governance systems, provides the framework in which our business operates.
Respect for the environment is central to our approach to sustainable development. Wherever possible we prevent, or otherwise minimise, mitigate and remediate, harmful effects of the Group's operations on the environment.
We have developed and implemented a number of practical programmes covering the management of air quality, ecosystems services, biodiversity, climate change, energy, land, water, waste, and closure. These programmes include input from our local communities as well as from experts in these fields.
We aim to build enduring relationships with our stakeholders that are characterised by mutual respect, active partnership and long term commitment. The trust that is created by solidly based relationships reinforces Rio Tinto's ability to gain preferential access to resources.
For our people, we create workplaces in which employees are aligned with our values, strategy and direction; fully engaged in their roles and work; and able to give their best. We believe that diversity improves business outcomes, and strive to create an inclusive culture in which difference is recognised and valued. Safety is a priority at all our businesses. We believe that all injuries are preventable and our aim is for all employees to go home safe and healthy at the end of each day.
Mining and mineral operations can provide a strong base for the economic growth of a local area, a region, or a nation. We use our economic, social, environmental and technical expertise to harness these resources and create prosperity for our shareholders, employees, communities, governments and business partners.
Our direct economic contributions are measured by the sum of payments to suppliers and the value that they add. However, our true contribution is far greater than this figure when the secondary or "multiplier" effects of the contributions are included. This is because local and regional economies enjoy additional benefits when workers spend their wages, when governments spend revenues from taxes, and when local communities make use of infrastructure that we create for our operations.
Maintaining sound corporate governance and high ethical standards is as important to us as running our operations. We promote the rule of law and our own high standards wherever we are in the world, which includes prohibiting bribery and corruption in all forms. Our reputation for acting responsibly plays a critical role in our success as a business and our ability to generate shareholder value. That reputation stems from our four core values: Accountability, Respect, Teamwork and Integrity.
The way we work, our global code of business conduct, supported by our global policies, standards and guidance notes, in conjunction with the requirements of local law and our voluntary commitments, forms the basis of our governance systems.
Genuine engagement with internal and external stakeholders who are affected by, or have an interest in, what we do is a critical element of our successful business practice.
Sustainable development in India
Rio Tinto took the lead on promoting sustainable and responsible mining practices in India, by initiating the establishment of the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) Sustainable Mining Initiative. Together with FIMI, we held dialogue with multiple agencies to draft the principles of sustainable mining actions points to guide implementation on the ground.
Today, the Sustainable Mining Initiative has been adopted by ten leading mining companies in India, with Rio Tinto as the convener. The Sustainable Mining Initiative is aligned with the proposed Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act of 2011, which advocates for the mining industry to operate within a sustainable development framework.
Rio Tinto does not currently operate mines in India. However, we adhere to the following six principles of the Sustainable Mining Initiative in our other business interests in India:
- Integrate sustainable development considerations within the corporate decision-making process.
- Conduct businesses with ethical practices and sound systems of corporate governance.
- Implement risk management strategies based on valid data and sound science.
- Seek continual improvement in health and safety performance.
- Seek continual improvement of our environmental performance based on a precautionary approach.
- Uphold fundamental human rights and respect cultures, customs and values in dealings with employees and others who are affected by our activities.