Sustainable development is the heart of our business and I continue to ensure it, Says Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal

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Vedanta Resources hosts second annual sustainable development day 

India CSR News Network

MUMBAI/LONDON:  “Sustainable development is at the heart of our business and I continue to ensure it is a priority for the company and its subsidiaries.”, Anil Agarwal, Chairman, Vedanta Resources Plc said while addressing Sustainable Development Day celebration in London on 24 June 2016.

In opening remarks he said, “We have made substantial progress on our sustainability journey, thanks to the efforts of our management team and everyone who works at Vedanta, and I am committed to the goal of zero harm, zero discharge and zero waste.”

Vedanta Resources Plc (Vedanta, together with its subsidiaries) hosted a Sustainable Development Day in London on 24 June 2016, which was the 2nd edition and is now an annual event. Vedanta invited analysts, investor and key industry body members to the event for an update on the company’s sustainable development activities and an open discussion with the management team.

Anil Agarwal also spoke about his personal commitment to sustainable development and described some of the company’s recent initiatives in this area. Agarwal discussed community engagement, including his recent visits to the company’s zinc and aluminium operations, and emphasized Vedanta’s commitment to complete transparency, responsible advocacy and mutual respect, including free prior informed consent to access natural resources and the need for ongoing dialogue with all stakeholders.

Tom Albanese, Chief Executive Officer, spoke about the approach on sustainability risks embedded within the overall business risks and the key focus areas and interventions of the company to mitigate the risks. Phillip Turner, Group Head of Health, Safety and Environment, described the group’s perspective and initiatives underway to embed a culture of safety at Vedanta, both on the ground and at senior management levels, to accelerate its journey towards zero harm.  Vedanta is committed towards reducing its environmental footprint with an immediate focus towards land, water and waste management and a longer term horizon towards carbon, energy and biodiversity.

Roma Balwani, President, Group Sustainability, CSR and Communications, shared an update on enabling social license to operate. She mentioned the efforts in the last year which has resulted in transparent dialogue and two way engagement, robust grievance processes and how crucial it is to dialogue and engage with community and other stakeholders which builds trust and harmony. She echoed Vedanta’s philosophy to act as equal opportunity employer, respecting and preserving the culture and heritage of local communities including socially vulnerable groups, to follow principles of Good Faith Negotiation, Informed Consultation and Participation and Free Prior Information and Consultation. Vedanta aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals and Modern Slavery Act and is rolling out a uniform framework for their implementation.

Euan Macdonald, Non-Executive director and Chairman of Vedanta’s Sustainability Committee, spoke about the Committee’s achievements during his three years of leadership and the initiative of Vedanta towards achieving its goal of “Zero Harm”. Katya Zotova, Non-Executive director and member of the Sustainability Committee, explained that safety and stakeholder engagement would be priorities for the Committee going forward.

Ahead of the event, Vedanta had sought views from participants on the sustainable development issues they were most interested in hearing about. Following the presentations, Vedanta management in London, Delhi and Johannesburg provided an update on the overall approach and update on the stakeholder’s area of interest topics like Climate Change, Environment Management, safety- Fatality prevention, Community relations and Human rights.

Vedanta hosted its first Sustainable Development Day in London on 1 July 2015, when Vedanta’s 2014 -2015 Sustainability Report was unveiled. In the last year, Vedanta has implemented and put forward behavior based and technical program like implementation of safety standards, job risk assessment and training workshops among other initiatives. The significant improvements in adoption of best practices in resource management via diversity and site closure practices at Lisheen along with being declared as one of the top ten most sustainable companies in India with CII Sustainable Plus Label are testament to the focus and improvement towards measurable sustainability.

In the last year, Vedanta has pioneered the first of its kind corporate partnership in India, with the Ministry of Women and Child Development India, for modernizing the Anganwadis (child care centres) with the project NandGhar. Vedanta’s business units have commenced social impact project by adopting and monitoring one village close to the location to understand the progress on Vedanta CSR interventions for child welfare and women empowerment which create positive impact and create a conducive environment which is also measurable.

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