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Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies

SDG16 calls for major reductions in all forms of violence, an end to abuse and torture of children, the promotion of the rule of law at all levels, and a reduction of illicit financial and arms flows.

Corruption, human rights abuses, bribery, tax evasion and conflict all undermine inclusive and peaceful societies. Sustainable development depends on building more effective access to justice and institutions that contribute to transparent rule of law and protection of human rights. It is also supported by a free press, high standards of corporate and institutional accountability and a zero-tolerance approach to bribery and corruption. Securing peaceful societies also involves reducing violence and conflict, protecting children, protecting women’s rights, and broadening the opportunities for people to participate in social, political and economic life.

How is this relevant to mining and metals?

Mining companies can contribute to peaceful societies by respecting human rights, providing access to information, supporting representative decision-making, working to avoid company-community conflict and carefully managing their security approaches to ensure they decrease rather than increase the likelihood of conflict. In addition, where disputes arise with communities or allegations of wrong-doing emerge, companies should provide effective access to remedy. Companies can also commit to transparency across the scope of their activities that impact society, from transparency of mineral revenues and payments to transparency in commitments made to local communities. Mining companies can help strengthen accountable and transparent institutions by actively combating mining-related illicit financial flows through disclosure and reporting.

What companies need to know to manage impacts or make a positive contribution:

  1. the prevalence and reasons behind conflicts within countries of operation and how the activities may exacerbate conflict

  2. how to apply the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, in particular the conduct of due diligence and provision of local level remedy for complaints and grievances

  3. the prevalence of corruption in countries of operation.

Industry action may involve:

  • conducting transfer pricing of intra-company transactions via arms-length rule
  • actively participating in the EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) to support efforts to enhance governance of natural resources
  • engaging in collaborative cross-sectoral  initiatives and efforts to address corruption
  • extending human rights and anti-corruption practices to contractors and suppliers
  • listening and responding to stakeholder concerns, and establish formal and accessible complaint and grievance mechanisms
  • conducting regular and early human rights due diligence, that explicitly incorporates vulnerable groups into risk assessments
  • adopting robust anti-corruption policies and implementing effective control systems
  • where appropriate, participating in certification schemes to increase product traceability.