SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNITY

Adding and Sharing Value

Our operations are predominantly in the developing economies of India and Africa. We believe that we can add and share value in order to facilitate the development of these societies and in the communities where we operate.

We create value through structured and collaborative engagement with our stakeholders, including for our employees, our host communities and broader society. This is done not only through the commodities that we produce but through the economic and social contributions we make across our global operations, particularly in the developing world.

Working with our stakeholders provides us with valuable insights that make a significant contribution towards strengthening our business. For example, our communities and host governments allow us to access finite resources, our shareholders and lenders enable us to access capital to grow the business, our employees help us in managing resources in a sustainable way, industry partners supply the thousands of products and services we need to operate our business and civil society representatives partner with us to deliver community programmes to millions of community members.

For more details on both financial and non financial value generation, please visit our Sustainable Development Report 2017-18.

We are committed to providing our employees with a safe and healthy work environment. In addition, by creating a culture which both engages and empowers, we enable them to realise their full potential while also meeting our business goals.

Our approach

Our Human Resources (HR) function provides a governance framework and promotes synergies across the Group through collaboration and the sharing of best practices. Our Group HR philosophy encompasses an inclusive approach that guides us in achieving our aim to be an industry-leading employer and applies across all our businesses:

  • Ensuring a philosophy of meritocracy;
  • Commitment to ensuring that all our workplaces are free from all forms of discrimination or any kind of harassment;
  • Complying with all applicable laws of the area where our operations exist;
  • Meeting all our responsibilities and HR obligations, as both a direct and indirect employer, and ensuring human rights are not violated;
  • Having effective internal systems and processes in place for talent management and engagement;
  • Creating a high performance culture – recognising and rewarding in a fair and equitable manner;
  • Striving to drive and achieve industry best practices in our social stewardship;
  • Ensuring smooth integration in terms of mergers and acquisitions, upholding and honouring all ongoing commitments and sharing best practices – with the aim of achieving internal alignment of processes and systems; and
  • Engaging with employees to encourage feedback and address concerns.

Our HR priorities

Our HR priorities have been selected to provide a consistent set of key people management priorities across all our subsidiary businesses. They ensure we have the right personnel in place to meet our business objectives as well as a talent pipeline for the future. In our Sustainable Development report, we report on our performance against these priorities, which are:

Our approach is focused on ensuring that we have the right person in the right role, along with clear succession planning, with a focus on critical positions. This is important in our industry where securing high-potential talent is a challenge because of high growth and competition for skilled personnel across the industry.

We also focus on effectively utilising and grooming the talent by appropriately rotating them across businesses for experience in new roles and to prepare them to take up various key positions in the future.

All employees participate in a reward-linked annual appraisal programme where performance is gauged against key performance indicators set during the goal setting process at the beginning of the year and is measured against a pre-determined five-point scale. Feedback and the identification of areas of improvement for further development are an integral part of this appraisal process.

Owing to the high proportion of our workforce who join Vedanta as new graduates, managing career progression and development is very important to the business, particularly to ensure talent retention. To manage a new recruit’s transition from ‘Campus to Corporate’, we have a structured orientation programme. For more established employees we have various additional programmes to enhance their engagement.

We also have programmes to assist employees in a smooth transition from work to retirement. These programmes include computer literacy, wealth management, tradesman skill-building, certificates and other diploma courses, retirement workshops and employee assistance programmes.

We provide a rewarding work environment, with a spirit of common purpose. Across our operations, employees participate in a wide variety of activities to create a sense of shared ownership and participation. This ranges from the formal training and work programmes we offer, to broader cultural, sporting, social and leisure activities for employees and their families.

Refer our Sustainable Development Report 2017-18 for detailed activities highlighting how we contribute or add value to our employees.

Running effective community investment programmes is core to our business operations and an important aspect of maintaining our licence to operate. We do this by helping communities to identify their priorities through participatory needs assessment programmes, and then work closely with them to design programmes that seek to make progress towards an overall improvement in the quality of life of the local communities.

Our approach

We develop our community programmes, aligned to the principles of our sustainability strategy, with two main considerations – the needs of the local people and that development plans are in line with the UN Millennium Development Goals (UNMDG).

To maximise outcomes we focus on seven key areas through our community investment activities. These have been chosen as a response to both local needs and direction from international development frameworks and are specifically tailored, taking into account relevant cultural backgrounds:

Our operations tend to be located in rural areas, where access to health, nutrition and sanitation facilities is scarce and local infrastructure and facilities are poor or non-existent. Our community health activities include the delivery of medical infrastructure through hospitals/health posts we run across the Group supported by medical outreach services, which include mobile health vans and medical outposts to give isolated rural communities access to medical services.

We have programmes to support access to clean water and increase awareness of the importance of sanitation, providing practical assistance in developing related infrastructure, such as toilets, garbage disposal facilities and waste recycling.

Our operations exist in rural poor locations where access to education is limited. The Vedanta Bal Chetna Anganwadi (VBCA) programme targets pre-school level education through the Integrated Child Development Scheme, run in partnership with the Indian Government. We also support a mid-day meal programme through eight centralised kitchens, aimed at improving the health status of children from Class I to VIII in Government-aided schools as well as encouraging regular attendance at school.

We also assist adult literacy centres, distribute education kits and provide proactive support and encouragement for educational enrolment and achievement. Skills development training is offered in a wide range of marketable trades and we encourage development of small business enterprises and entrepreneurship.

Opportunities for developing a sustainable livelihood are often non-existent in rural developing communities, restricting self-dependency and sufficiency. On farms, we distribute high-yield seeds, provide education and training in fruit and vegetable cultivation and in animal rearing practices, breed selection and animal vaccinations.

We offer a range of technical assistance through partners, including adopting the new scientific technologies such as compost pits and drip irrigation systems. We also focus on non-farm interventions for rural youth to create economic opportunity.

Rural women can play a key role in supporting their households by generating incomes and improving the overall well-being of the communities they live in. Our main activity in working to empower women is through our support for over 1,200 women’s Self Help Groups (SHGs).

These SHGs bring women together to develop skills and create various income-generating micro businesses. As economic opportunities are very limited in isolated, rural villages, SHGs not only give women a chance to contribute towards the income of their families but also give them the opportunity to socialise and share concerns and experiences with other women outside the home, leading to the overall empowerment of women.

Many areas of our operations often lack basic amenities and infrastructure. Our community asset creation programme facilitates the building and development of infrastructure projects in partnership with national and local governments. This includes the building of schools in rural and remote locations. Facilities are built on a needs basis in discussion with the community and have included community halls, roads, health and education facilities.

Restoring and improving natural systems helps improve the biological balance of a locality and reduce rural poverty. Integrating agriculture with land-water management and eco-system conservation is an essential part of our rural livelihood generation schemes, at both a community and an individual level. Watershed management, vegetable plot development, cattle breed improvement and cash crop farming are some of the key initiatives we undertake in the farming sector.

The Integrated Village Development Programme aims to achieve the holistic development of villages. The plan covers infrastructure support and the health, education, environmental, livelihood, energy and human resources needs of local people. It also encourages local people to participate in the collective management of their resources.

Delivering our programmes

Guided by the 'Public-Private-People-Partnership' (4Ps) model, the majority of our initiatives are carried out in collaboration with external partners, who bring relevant expertise. Our partners include governments, local and international organisations and institutions, including universities, schools and hospitals. A consistent feature of our projects is our aim that they can be handed over to the community.

To manage both our community relationships and community investment programmes, we have a dedicated team of over 180 corporate social responsibility personnel. These individuals are crucial to driving and managing local engagement and act as a point of contact for community members.

We discuss this year's community activities in more detail in our Sustainable Development report.

Our employees and communities are the stakeholders who are most directly and continuously impacted by our activities. Below, we have outlined the four additional stakeholders who are also very important to our business.

Our operations rely on a broad range of suppliers, and we enable the growth of existing businesses and the development of new supplier businesses along with the corresponding local economic and social benefits. This is particularly the case in India and Africa, where we have the majority of our operations.

For our customers, who are predominantly large industrial downstream producers, our resources are crucial to their success and growth; we work closely with them on product development and provide additional technical support to ensure they are achieving maximum value from our products.

Although we are primary producers and therefore have limited control over the full lifecycle of our products after they are delivered to our customers, we are committed to the values of product stewardship. This is manifested most directly in our commitment to the highest technological standards and processes and adherence to international commodity trading standards.

In addition to our suppliers and customers, we add value to our industry peers by participating in a range of projects to advance and grow our sector as well as arranging and attending a range of industry forums.

The greatest source of value we add to our host governments is through the taxes, royalties and various other payments we make to exchequers as well as the role we play in assisting governments to develop their resources and meet their countries' resource requirements.

Through investment in employment of local people, and secondary/indirect employment through supporting industries we also stimulate economic activity for our host countries and assist them to achieve local and regional development goals, often in close partnership. Our community investment programmes, particularly those that centre on infrastructure development in education, health and sanitation, are important to governments because of the contribution they make to the sustainable development of many local communities.

We partner with a wide range of civil society organisations to deliver community development programmes. We offer our civil society partners technical expertise across a range of disciplines as well as expert personnel, who are familiar with local conditions and requirements, enabling our civil society partners to more effectively meet their goals, particularly those related to the sustainable development of communities in developing regions. We discuss these partnerships in more detail in the Communities section of our Sustainable Development Report.

Access to finance enables us to expand and grow our business, facilitating the broader value we can offer across all our stakeholder groups – correspondingly we are committed to deliver progressive returns for our shareholders and lenders. This remains core to the business growth strategy, as we discuss in our Annual Report.

We recognise the importance of our shareholders and we regularly engage with them so they understand our approach and strategy. In regard to our lenders, the majority are aligned to the Equator Principles and IFC standards and our business relationship with them is more than purely financial. Lender interest in sustainability has developed over recent years, with specialist teams driving socially responsible investments. We engage with these technical experts on a regular basis through site visits, responding to requests for information in a timely way and providing regular presentations and meetings. Accordingly, we have a clear understanding of their expectations, which includes adherence to best-practice health, safety and environmental management and broader issues of human rights and community and stakeholder engagement.

Refer our Sustainable Development Report 2017-18 for detailed activities highlighting how we contribute or add value to our other stakeholders - Industry, Civil society, host government, shareholders and lenders.