Implementing improvements: Measures 2016
Continuing the dialog: Discussions with NGOs and interest groups
At the instigation of BASF, the annual GBI Conference on Human Rights, the Global Business Initiative, took place in Johannesburg in May 2016. Following this conference, BASF held a multi-stakeholder workshop with numerous interest groups in South Africa. This workshop served as a starting point for discussions and collaboration among the key players in the mining industry, including regional operators and NGOs. The insights gained at this workshop were vital in outlining to the mining industry how to better address many societal challenges that exist in South Africa.
The situation in South Africa is extremely multifaceted and cannot be solved in the short term by one institution alone. Only when all the involved parties work together can improvements be achieved for the local population.
In September 2016, a follow-up meeting took place with Lonmin, other mine operators and the Seriti Institute. In December 2016, BASF brought together key operators of platinum mines and other players in the platinum value chain in Johannesburg, South Africa. In both meetings, the design of concerted approaches to improve living and working conditions beyond the social and work plans were the focus.
In addition, BASF representatives not only met locally with Lonmin’s management, but also with employee representatives, mine workers, union representatives, local stakeholders and South African representatives of non-governmental organizations, such as the Bench Marks Foundation or the Center for Applied Legal Studies.
We were therefore able to obtain a personal impression of the living and working conditions. We looked at the housing conditions, public institutions, such as schools and hospitals, exchanged views with the population and also visited two of the widows in their homes. We have also inspected the underground working conditions.
In December 2016, we brought together key operators of platinum mines and other players in the platinum value chain in Johannesburg, South Africa, in order to discuss how the mining industry in South Africa can achieve visible improvements. We initiated and organized this dialog event. Almost all regional operators of platinum mines, numerous platinum buyers, including automotive OEMs and automotive manufacturers, as well as mining and human rights experts took part in the meeting. We proposed to start up a sector initiative and that the platinum mine operators develop a common approach to improve the living and working conditions of all the people throughout the platinum mining belt in a long-term and sustainable manner and thus ensure a permanently responsible supply chain of raw materials for their customers.
The approach is twofold: First, Mines commit to comprehensive audit schemes that include – in addition to strict environmental, health and safety norms – human rights and social factors (e.g., the “Together for Sustainability” chemical initiative’s mining standard “eTfS” that has been developed by BASF). Second, the initiative seeks to explore collaboration on best practices in effective community engagement and development, bringing together views from relevant actors from companies, public institutions and communities (incl. NGOs).