Human rights

Elkem’s operations cover challenging markets such as China, Malaysia, Korea, India, South Africa, Russia, Brazil, Mexico and Paraguay. Human rights issues are often deeply embedded in the local culture and can only be mitigated by engaging with stakeholders, governments and local communities. Elkem is committed to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We also respect and follow the requirements of the UK Modern Slavery Act and the French Duty of Vigilance Law. Compliance with these principles require Elkem to identify and assess the human rights risks and impact of our operations and our supply chain.

We will continually work to ensure the individual's right to privacy and personal dignity, promoting equality for all people and do not accept discrimination based on skin colour, race, nationality, social background, disability, sexual orientation, political or religious conviction, gender or age. Elkem does not tolerate any form of harassment or physical/mental abuse in the form of words or action. This commitment is stipulated in all our governing documents and all Elkem employees are required to sign a copy of the code of conduct stating that they will adhere to these principles.

Relevant Elkem policies on human rights include:

Human rights impact assessment (HRIA)

Our policies on human rights express our commitment to human rights and how we work to protect human rights in Elkem and in the supply chain. Human rights, and especially workers’ rights, have always been a top priority for Elkem, and an integral part of our EHS audits. More information on our policies regarding child and forced labor can be found in the attractive employer pages.

As we grow and enter into new and challenging markets, we see the need to take on a more systematic approach to our human rights strategy. We have therefore initiated a Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA), where we work to identify Elkem’s actual impact and the risk of impact on human rights throughout our value chain.

Elkem recognises that human rights impact is constantly evolving. We are therefore committed to update our impact assessment on a regular basis, or whenever external factors or Elkem’s operations require it, for instance where we enter new markets, develop new products or acquire new business entities.

Human rights priorities

Based on the HRIA, we will identify Elkem’s human rights priorities and launch a human rights action plan. In 2020, we are also launching a human rights training programme and developing a compliance monitoring programme on human rights.

Grievance mechanisms

In accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, Elkem is committed to remedy situations where Elkem’s activities have caused or contributed to adverse human rights impacts. If something is not right, Elkem wants to know about it. That is why we have set up an external Speak up channel that allows for anonymous reporting and engaging with stakeholders. The Speak up channel is available to external stakeholders through the Elkem webpage.

How we respond to adverse events

Even with the best practices, a business may cause or contribute to an unforeseen adverse human rights impact that was not foreseen or which it was unable to prevent. In such events, Elkem will do its outmost to prevent or mitigate the impact:

  • Where Elkem causes an adverse human rights impact, we take the necessary steps to cease or prevent the impact.
  • Where Elkem contributes to an adverse human rights impact, we take the necessary steps to cease or prevent our contribution and use our leverage to remediate any impact to the extent possible. Whenever we have leverage to prevent or mitigate the adverse impact, we exercise it.
  • Where we have no leverage, we terminate the relationship. When necessary, we consult externally with credible, independent experts, including governments, civil society, national human right