Vale Releases 3rd Annual Sustainable Development Report

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2nd July 2010, 02:35pm - Views: 602

Vale launches its third anual sustainability report

Vale's 2009 Sustainability Report, which features the highest levels of

transparency, in line with GRI standards, demonstrates the company's

commitment to sustainable development

In recent years, Vale has steadily increased its level of transparency in

communicating sustainability information. In its first Sustainability Report in

2007, 51 indicators were reported, with an additional 22 the following year.

These efforts recently led the company's 2008 Sustainability Report to win the

GRI Readers Choice Award in the Civil Society category. This award is given to

the organization whose report receives the highest number of votes from civil

society, which includes labor unions, public institutions, academics, specialists,

citizens in general and the media. Vale's first two reports were also considered

to be Notable Communications on Progress (COPs) ¹ by the United Nations

Global Compact.

In its third sustainability report, which relates to 2009, Vale achieved an A+

application level, according to the GRI ² methodology, with 86 indicators

reported. For the 2007 and 2008 reports, the application level obtained was

B+. This means that Vale's report, which sets out information on the

company's economic, social and environmental performance, has achieved the

highest level of transparency as defined by the GRI.

The A+ application level takes into account all information provided on the

company's profile and management, essential performance indicators and

Mining and Metals Sector Supplement data. The level also indicates that the

sustainability report was externally checked by an independent entity, in our

case Ernst & Young, which verified the report based on ICMM (International

Council on Mining and Metals) as well as GRI guidelines.

According to Vale's environment and sustainable development director, Vânia

Somavilla, "This report represents a watershed, given that we have achieved

the A+ transparency level in our third sustainability report. This important

advance reflects our alignment with global initiatives to which we are

signatories, such as the United National Global Compact and the International

Council on Mining and Metals."

The report also followed the principle of materiality (relevance), which involved

consulting different stakeholders in order to discover what information they

wanted to see provided in the report. Our stakeholders considered the

following information to be the most important (in decreasing order of

importance): jobs and labor relations; minimization of environmental impacts;

business performance; ethical business practices; environmental conservation;

safety and work accidents; regional legacies; the supply chain; staff training

and development; and communications and engagement.

Environmental actions, technology and the supply chain

In 2009, Vale made it a priority to take action to tackle the challenge of

climate change. Together with the Ethos Institute and the Sustainable Amazon

Forum, the company led the writing and delivery of an open letter on climate

change to the Brazilian government. The letter presented 30 major Brazilian

companies' voluntary commitments to support global efforts to reduce the

impacts of climate change, including the preparation of greenhouse gas

inventories and engagement with government and civil society to contribute to

discussions on public policy in the field. Vale also signed the Copenhagen

Communiqué, a statement issued by global business leaders in support of an

agreement on climate change issues.

Another initiative that warrants highlighting is the creation of the Vale Fund for

Sustainable Development, a non-profit entity that aims to promote sustainable

development, balancing preservation and conservation of the environment with

improvements in socioeconomic conditions in developing countries. Among

other ventures, the fund has established a partnership with Amazon research

institute Imazon to improve the deforestation monitoring system in the

Amazon region. The fund has been given an initial sum of US$26 million to

invest over the next three years.

Every year, Vale produces a greenhouse gas inventory. In 2009, the

company's total direct emissions were 12.1 million tons of CO2 equivalent,

22% down on the previous year's figure. Indirect emissions added up to

around 800,000 tons of CO2 equivalent, 40% less than in 2008. According to

the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), in 2009 Vale once more registered the

lowest intensity of emissions per unit of revenue among major mining

companies, with 522 tons of CO2 equivalent emitted for each US$1 million of


Also last year, we began a preliminary diagnosis of emissions produced within

our supply chain, using a progressive approach, with the aim of incorporating

them in our inventory. Our suppliers' emissions totaled 0.6 million tons of CO2


In 2009, 76% of the water used in the company's operations was reused: of

the 1.2 billion m3 we required, 288 million m3 was taken from nature and the

rest was accounted for by recycled water.

In order to develop and support research projects in mining, steelmaking,

energy, eco-efficiency and biodiversity, last year the Vale Technology Institute

(ITV) entered into partnerships with the state research promotion foundations

of Minas Gerais (Fapemig), Pará (Fapespa) and São Paulo (Fapesp). The

partnerships will support research proposals in a variety of areas, such as

reuse of wastes, new processes for producing biofuels and conservation of


For our business to become truly sustainable, it is essential for this concept to

be present throughout our supply chain. Vale has been working to contract

local suppliers with the aim of boosting the economies of the remote regions

where it operates. The Inove Program, which trains regional suppliers to help

them meet market demands, has been strengthened. Around 400 companies

took part in distance courses and 169 benefited from a credit line. 2009 also

saw the launch of our Suppliers' Code of Conduct, which has the aim of

spreading the principles of ethical conduct followed by Vale in its commercial

relations with companies supplying goods and services.

You can read our complete sustainability report in Portuguese and English at

Other key figures

Corporate governance

As part of the continuing process of globalizing our internal policies and

regulations, in 2009 we approved 15 new documents of global scope.

These include our Sustainable Development Policy, Business Security

Policy, Health, Safety and Environment Rules, and Human Rights Policy,

which reaffirms Vale's commitment to this issue of worldwide interest.



Vale ended 2009 with 140,600 direct employees and contractors, 78% in


Despite experiencing a significant reduction in demand, we strove to

maintain our greatest store of knowledge and production capacity: our

employees. In order to position ourselves successfully at a time of

economic crisis, we implemented creative means of reducing costs whilst

retaining employees. As a result, our workforce fell by 3.5% from 2008

to 2009, compared with a reduction in iron ore output of 22%.

In 2009, women continued to account for 10% of Vale's workforce,

broadly in line with the global mining sector. Of Vale's female workers,

53% worked as technicians, 39% as specialists (university degree level),

4% were supervisors and 4% worked at management level.

Local development

In 2009, Vale spent US$200.9 million on social initiatives, 13% less than

in 2008, due to the cost-reduction strategy adopted in response to the

global recession. This reduction was smaller than the company's drop in

revenue and output.

Around 16% of this social investment was allocated to infrastructure

projects. One of the Vale Foundation's goals is to contribute to reducing

deficits in urban infrastructure and housing in the areas where the

company operates. The Vale Foundation helps municipal governments to

produce technical plans that are then submitted to the federal and state

governments for funding. As of December 2009, 72 plans had been

produced or were in the process of being produced, benefiting 40

municipalities in the states of Pará, Maranhão, Espírito Santo and Minas


The Vale Foundation has continued to establish new "knowledge stations"


human and economic development centers that are managed jointly by

Vale, public authorities and civil society. The objective is to help improve

the quality of life and contribute to integrated, sustainable development

in local communities, leaving a legacy of systematized and

institutionalized knowledge for the regions and municipalities where we

are present. Approximately 30,000 young people will benefit from the 18

knowledge stations to be built by 2012 in the states of Maranhão, Minas

Gerais, Espírito Santo, Pará, Sergipe and Rio de Janeiro.

Also in 2009, the Vale Foundation launched the Brasil Vale Ouro

program, which is designed to select and train athletes in judo,

swimming and athletics in the towns and cities where the company

operates. The program, which operates at knowledge stations,

represents Vale's contribution to elite sport.

Health and safety

The rate of accidents leading to time off work fell 33% from 2008 to

2009 (from 1.5 to 1.0 accidents per 1 million man-hours worked).

Despite our efforts to manage risks and a significant fall in our accident

rates, we regret to say that there were nine fatalities in 2009 at our

operations involving Vale employees and contractors and three fatalities

suffered by transport service providers on highways.

In 2009, we managed to reach implementation of more than 72% of our

"Critical Activities Requirements," fundamental tools to reducing accident

rates within our Brazilian operations, beating our target of 70%.

Vale has been working to encourage the members of its supply chain to

adopt safety measures.

Environment and biodiversity

In 2009, Vale spent US$580 million on environmental projects, 14.5%

less than in 2008. This reduction was largely due to temporary

shutdowns at some operations as a means of dealing with the economic

crisis. Most of the investment was allocated to the following areas:

acquiring and installing environmental control equipment; environmental

geotechnical maintenance and ensuring the safety of tailings dams and

slag heaps; reforestation and restoration of degraded areas as part of

the Vale Reforestation program; and agreements with a number of state

governments in Brazil.

Conservation Environment Vale 4 image

In 2009, Vale produced 436,000 tons of waste (10% of which was

hazardous), 10% less than in 2008. Almost all of the waste was send to

landfills (58%) or recycled (33%).

In 2009, taking into account restoration and reforestation activities

carried out voluntarily on leased land and other land owned by third

parties (land that is not related to our mining operations), we exceeded a

ratio of one hectare recovered/planted for each hectare affected by our

mining operations throughout the world, in line with the commitment we

made in the previous year's report.

Rio de Janeiro, 29th June 2010.


Established in 1997, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is a network of sustainability

specialists who have developed a structure to prepare reports on sustainability that is the most

widely used internationally.


A COP is a report to stakeholders about the signatory's progress in implementing the ten

principles of the United Nations Global Compact.

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