At Rio Tinto, we are committed to operating our business in a way that delivers lasting benefit to the communities and environments where we work, as well as to our shareholders and employees.
Metals and minerals are the foundation of global development. They are integral to the infrastructure and technologies that enable societies to advance and improve. In homes, offices and cities, there are thousands of products that originate from a mine.
Yet while our products are essential to modern life, we operate in a complex, interconnected world. Issues such as climate change, local employment, biodiversity and regional development present both risk and opportunity to our business.
Our principles help us manage these risks – and take advantage of the opportunities. In so doing, we maximise our contribution to sustainable development.
Creating mutual value by sharing risk. We can only build value if we work collaboratively with all of our stakeholders. This means managing risks and opportunities together and aligning our interests and the needs and motivations of the communities that host us. By doing this, we do more than just create jobs. We stimulate economic growth and enable local education and skills development. We also spread the benefits of investments in infrastructure – from new roads to clean drinking water. At the Argyle diamond mine in Australia, for example, it is now over ten years since we signed a groundbreaking agreement that gives Traditional Owners an active role in how the mine is run. Among the benefits it brings, the agreement includes protections for Indigenous heritage sites, and training and employment programmes to ensure Traditional Owners have real opportunities to compete for site-based contracts.
Collaborating to create trust. This means being honest about our impacts and clear on our contributions. Rio Tinto is a founding member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and has played an active role in this global standard since 2003. The EITI promotes open and accountable management of natural resources, to ensure that the fruits of our activity benefit the many, not the few. We lead the industry in being transparent about the taxes and royalties we pay – publishing an annual Taxes paid report since 2010.
Leading through innovation. We constantly look for smarter, safer and more sustainable ways to manage every stage of our business cycle, from exploration through to rehabilitation. Our Pilbara iron ore operations have set world-class standards for efficient, automated mining operations to improve productivity. At our decommissioned smelter site in Anglesey, UK, a new biomass power station will provide the energy for food production, including hydroponics and aquaculture, while other parts of the site have been earmarked for tourism development.
Rio Tinto’s values of respect, integrity, teamwork and accountability support these sustainable development principles. Our code of conduct, The way we work, puts them into practice. It holds everyone at Rio Tinto – and its subsidiaries and related companies – to clear and strong principles relating to the workplace, human rights, communities, the environment and business integrity. We are proud of our values and the commitment that our people around the world show to them.
Ultimately, as one of the world’s largest mining and metals companies, we understand that having a sustainable business depends on our ability to deliver long-term value to everyone our activities touch. This means seeing the challenges of sustainability as opportunities to continuously improve the way we work.