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The power of principles: The United Nation's Global Compact

It has been 15 years since the UN Global Compact was created as a strategic United Nation's (UN) initiative for companies that are committed to responsible business. Within the Global Compact there are 10 principles that specify the behaviour expected from signatories covering: human rightslabour, environment and anti-corruption

Anglo American has been a long-standing signatory and active member of the UN Global Compact, including many of its local networks.

Membership is a clear sign that we’ve made a strong commitment to our employees, suppliers, customers and host communities that we will operate within the principles – designed specifically to ensure organisations act ethically.

Human rights

Anglo American has long had a strong commitment to human rights. Respect for human rights informs our guiding values as a business, and our commitment is further expressed through our global projects and initiatives. We are also an active member of the UN Global Compact’s Human and Labour Rights Working Group.

A key article within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the right to protect your personal health and well-being.

At Barro Alto, Brazil, we have worked in collaboration with the local municipality and Reprolatina – an NGO partner dedicated to empowering women and improving the sexual and reproductive health of the disadvantaged populations of Latin America – to decrease vulnerabilities to unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, HIV/Aids, drug use, violence, sexual exploitation and other aspects of sexual and reproductive health.

Between 2010 and 2014, we invested $890,000 in the programme and by 2011, the number of adolescent pregnancies registered in Barro Alto had dropped to 40% of the total number of pregnancies registered in 2011, and by 2012 it had dropped further to 16%.


Taking a responsible approach to our environmental impact is a core part of Anglo American’s business. 

For example, Iron Ore Brazil has four main programmes to manage biodiversity at its Minas-Rio operation:

  • Scientific studies, in partnership with universities, on seedling production, top-soil management, seed storage, and rehabilitation. 
  • Fauna and flora monitoring, which has resulted in the discovery of three new species.
  • Collaboration with conservation NGO Fauna and Flora International to develop a biodiversity and ecosystem services policy, strategy and action plan.
  • The establishment of an ecological corridor, which is currently in pilot phase with 17 individual land owners.

You can find out more in our Sustainable Development Report 2014.


We support the ILO’s core labour rights, and require that our suppliers respect them too.  A key Global Compact principle for labour focuses on the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. 

By the end of 2014, 24% of our managers were women (2013: 23%), with 16% of our overall workforce being female (2013: 16%). Across our businesses, targets have been set to further increase female representation, both within the management population and the workforce as a whole. 

Anglo American embraces all forms of diversity and complies with relevant legal obligations wherever we operate. For example, in our South African operations, we continue to promote transformation in the workforce, with 60% of our management made up of historically disadvantaged South Africans.


One of the challenges a global company such as Anglo American can face with corruption, is how to promptly identify actions which could result in the misuse of entrusted power for personal or corporate gain. 

Our Business Integrity Policy reinforces the way in which we should work to avoid corrupt activities and we have implemented a programme of mandatory training and awareness sessions across all business units and functions to ensure our employees are aware of corruption risk and how to address situations that arise from time to time. 

Additionally, we use Speak Up – a confidential tool that can help employees to raise issues about corruption when the concern cannot be solved by their line managers or through HR.

Our efforts in all of these areas need to be continuous and thorough. And with the UN Global Compact, the path to success is made that much clearer. 

You can read more about the UN Global Compact here.

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