Sherritt began to implement the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (the Voluntary Principles, the VPs or the VPSHRs) in 2009 at its Ambatovy operation in Madagascar. In 2013, Sherritt was interested in joining the Voluntary Principles initiative and carried out a series of independent, external risk assessments on security and human rights at Ambatovy, at the OGP operations in Cuba, and at the Moa Joint Venture nickel operations in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Moa, Cuba. Following these assessments, Sherritt began developing a comprehensive management system to assist its operations in the identification and mitigation of human rights and security-related risks, in alignment with the expectations of the Voluntary Principles. Sherritt formally applied and was accepted to join the Voluntary Principles Association in 2014.
With Ambatovy deemed non-material, Sherritt’s focus for Voluntary Principles implementation will continue to be on Canada and Cuba, with the majority of the focus being on potential implementation in Cuba. Sherritt believes that Cuba’s state security provider, with which Sherritt’s joint ventures have had a relationship for over 25 years, already has good alignment with the requirements of the VPSHRs, and that the standard will provide an opportunity to demonstrate that position.
A Sherritt representative attended the VPs plenary in London in March 2019 and made a verification presentation, as per the member requirements of the Corporate Pillar.
In Canada, Sherritt recognizes that security and human rights–related risks are relatively low and good governance practices are relatively mature; therefore, few additional measures need to be put in place to ensure compliance with the Voluntary Principles. The external audit conducted in 2018 confirms that (details are provided in our 2018 Sustainability Report). We continue to undertake training at the Fort Site and to work in collaboration with the RCMP.
Application of the Voluntary Principles at the Company’s operations in Cuba requires a longer-term approach to familiarize Sherritt’s joint venture partners – which are state-owned enterprises – and other government stakeholders with the VPSHRs. In 2019, we continued to impress upon our joint venture partners the benefits of adopting the standards.