We all want the aluminium in our phone or coffee pod, and the diamond in our ring, to be produced responsibly – from treating people fairly to using water efficiently. At Rio Tinto, we have a product stewardship strategy and programmes that guide our approach to managing regulatory and sustainability risks and opportunities in delivering our product to market. Our programmes address the regulatory requirements of both our host countries and end markets, as well as those that apply during transport.
We also work toward a responsible value chain in other ways.
We respect human rights in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This includes setting clear expectations of our suppliers, including supporting workers’ rights to belong to a union and to bargain collectively and preventing the use of child and forced labour.
We are taking steps to address the impact of climate change: we have reduced our emissions intensity footprint by almost 30% since 2008; today, 71% of the electricity used across the business is from low-carbon, renewable energy. As signatories of the Paris Pledge, which supported and endorsed the commitments and ambition outlined in the Paris Agreement, we are aiming for a substantial decarbonisation of our business by 2050 and working to define new emissions reduction targets from 2020. And in 2018, we became the only major mining company to exit fossil fuel production.
We also continue to innovate. In 2018, we announced a pioneering new technology partnership with Alcoa, with support from Apple and the governments of Canada and Quebec, to further develop carbon-free aluminium smelting technology – an industry first.
We also worked with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), other aluminium producers, users and stakeholders to launch the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative in 2012, with a commitment to maximise the contribution of aluminium to the development of a sustainable society. The ASI has established an independent, third party verification of the sustainability of the value chain, including the carbon content. In 2018, we became the first company to be certified under the ASI.
Over the past 30 years we have helped drive reform in the diamond industry, not only building the integrity of our own mining practices, but also supporting those we work with to do the same. As a founding member of the Responsible Jewellery Council, we support responsible and ethical social and environmental practices throughout the jewellery supply chain. Today, Rio Tinto diamonds are produced sustainably and managed carefully and responsibly.
Third Parties Centrally Monitored
Due Diligence Checks on Third Parties
Knowing Our Suppliers
Our Supplier Code of Conduct sets out our expectations of suppliers and their subsidiaries and subcontractors with respect to key issues, including human rights. It also makes clear that Rio Tinto may choose not to work with suppliers who do not meet our expectations.
Our “know your supplier” procedure enables us to understand legal, ethical and reputational risks of working with certain suppliers including regarding corruption and human rights. We use this with all new suppliers meeting the risk criteria for the procedure, and will roll it out in contract renewals. We have centralised monitoring for relevant third parties and where applicable, we keep a close eye on enforcement actions, sanctions-related alerts and significant changes in counterparty data.
Knowing Our Customers
We have centralised “know your customer” procedures to ensure we understand our customers. This includes identifying potential involvement in money laundering, fraud, sanctions breaches, corruption and other financial crimes. We are also exploring ways to integrate human rights, including modern slavery, more directly into our due diligence.
We also look for ways to proactively speak with our customers about sustainability issues. One of the ways we do this is by participating in whole of value chain initiatives – like the ASI.
We also support a risk-based approach to beneficial ownership disclosure, and strive to provide information about the identities of the owners of companies we work with in line with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative’s standards and expectations.
Leading all Facets of the Diamond Industry
Our diamonds are not just rare and beautiful – they have an honourable pedigree. We want our customers to be confident that the journey their diamond makes from the mine to the market is a worthy one: that landscapes and cultures are treated respectfully, local communities prosper; safe and fair working conditions are provided and that we deal transparently with our industry partners.
We’ve partnered with leading international organisations to ensure the integrity and reliability of the wider diamond industry too. We were a founding member and the first mining company to be certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council, which promotes responsible, ethical, social and environmental practices throughout the diamond, gold and platinum jewellery supply chain.
And we’ve taken an active leadership role in the World Diamond Council, which represents the diamond industry in the Kimberley Process and has established a mechanism for guaranteeing to consumers that diamonds are conflict free.
We were also a founding member of the Diamond Producers Association (DPA), the first organisation to represent diamond producers at an international level. The DPA supports the development of the diamond sector and works to maintain and improve consumer confidence in diamonds.