Our approach

Our approach

We produce minerals and metals that are essential to human progress.

For Rio Tinto, contributing to sustainable development is about producing the materials the world needs in a responsible way. This means sharing the benefits our business creates and minimising any negative impacts on people, communities and the environment.

We are committed to operating our business responsibly with respect for the safety and health of our people, our communities and the risks and responsibilities associated with the local and global environment.

Partnerships help us and our industry work through the challenges we face.

Through partnership agreements, we work with affected communities to share the wealth our operations create and direct funds where they’re needed most.

Our contribution to sustainable development in action

Not only are our people proud to work for Rio Tinto, but they’re also proud to supply the critical metals and minerals that are required by modern society. That’s what Rio Tinto is about.

J-S Jacques, chief executive


We participate in industry organisations such as the International Council on Mining & Metals (ICMM), and global initiatives such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, to help drive change and set sustainability standards that reflect societal expectations and challenges. We also work in partnership with non-government organisations to help us better understand and meet the needs of stakeholders.

And we look beyond our business and industry to pioneer smarter, more sustainable ways to run our business. We use technology to help reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We’re also pioneers in other areas, such as in our commercial operations, how we partner with communities and the way we prevent fatalities.

Providing tools for our teams on the ground

Our approach to sustainable development is guided by our global code of business conduct, The way we work, and is reinforced by our policies on health, safety, environment and communities, diversity and inclusion, human rights, product stewardship, transparency and business integrity.

We use a range of tools, procedures and management systems to ensure our projects, operations and expansions are appropriately planned and implemented to maximise our contribution to sustainable development.

Rio Tinto’s Sustainability Committee oversees, on behalf of the board, the management processes, standards and strategies that are designed to manage key risks, and achieve compliance with our responsibilities and commitments. The Committee also ensures our approach is consistent with Rio Tinto’s vision and values.

Group executive, Health, Safety & Environment, Joanne Farrell, discusses why sustainable development is so important

Many people see all mining companies as the same, so one challenge – but an opportunity too – is for us to set ourselves apart, and have a performance record that clearly distinguishes us from other mining companies.

Joanne Farrell, Group executive, Health, Safety & Environment

Our contribution in action

Across our Group, there are many examples of our contribution in action – from our oldest to our newest sites. These include:

Joanne Farrell talks about our sustainable development performance in 2016

Download the full
2016 Sustainable
development report

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