abrdn has recommended mining companies expand their health and safety mechanisms to protect the wellbeing of employees following incidents of sexual harassment and assault.
In April last year, the investment manager joined UK investment firm Sarasin & Partners in abstaining from approving Rio Tinto’s reports and accounts in light of the Broderick Report, which found systemic issues of bullying, sexual harassment, sexism and racism at the mining giant.
“If we do not see progress against the milestones set by the company, we will take further actions,” abrdn head of active ownership Andrew Mason said at the time.
Following engagement with some of its largest mining holdings, abrdn released a statement recommending these companies expand their health and safety mechanisms, including governance oversight, plus links to remuneration and monitoring and reporting to assure the psychological wellbeing of employees.
“Mining companies should use all the tools they have available to them,” Mason said.
“Many mining companies have demonstrated a strong track-record in improving health and safety, embedding aspects into all areas of their organizational cultures and business processes. Employees’ psychological wellbeing warrants a similar approach.”
The statement has been endorsed by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), which updated its mining principles last year. “Discrimination, harassment, and assault of any kind have no place in the mining industry or anywhere else in society. We recognize that the change starts with us,” ICMM president and CEO Rohitesh Dhawan said.
abrdn’s engagement has also been endorsed by mining CEOs at Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, BHP, Codelco, Gold Fields, OZ Minerals, Rio Tinto, South32 and Vale.