Community & Human Rights
It is important to Heritage that relationships with neighbours and local communities are conducted sensitively and with mutual respect.
We recognise that active and enduring partnerships are a central and fundamental element of our business. We therefore aim to promote the sharing of economic benefit created by our activities through the conduct of our community relationships.
The support of host communities, governments and other stakeholders is crucial in the achievement of our long-term business objectives. If managed incorrectly we could potentially:
- alienate communities, leading to conflict and disruption; and
- create a culture of dependency upon our Company or create conflict between communities and governments.
Managed correctly, we can work together with local communities to generate shared long-term prosperity, some of which will stem from required health and education initiatives.
To ensure that we maintain healthy relationships with local communities and governments we:
- promote sharing of economic benefits created by our activities through the conduct of community relationships and are firmly committed to upholding principles set out in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
- enter into long-term sustainable community projects requested by local communities;
- seek to ensure access to land is secured using approaches that are sensitive to local concerns and values;
- generate socio-economic benefits that address long-term local needs; and
- provide opportunities for local suppliers when there is often a significant gap between the highly technical requirements of the industry and the level of skills available locally.
We view stakeholder engagement as an integral part of our business model. The success of projects in the different parts of the world is dependent on relationships with governments, local authorities and local communities.
A natural part of a new project development involves consultation with local communities as well as government authorities, to identify ways in which our expertise can be best applied. Our licence to operate in any area is dependent on being viewed as a positive force by those most directly affected by our operations and therefore it is in our interest to consult stakeholders and find ways to be a trusted and useful partner.
We believe that by partnering with other organisations such as NGOs, governments (local and national) and other companies, we reduce the risk of creating dependency, encourage dialogue and manage expectations. It is our intention to improve conditions in the vicinity of our operations and we try to invest in sustainable projects where local communities have a sense of ownership, thus increasing their long-term effects. However, in terms of having the greatest impact, we believe this is best achieved through helping countries realise their natural resource potential to create shared economic wealth for everyone.
Sponsorship of individuals to schools and universities has been a feature of the Heritage CSR policy as this has benefits that reach out into the longer term for the communities. We also provide healthcare and other social welfare schemes where appropriate.