Sherritt began to implement the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (the Voluntary Principles or the VPSHRs) in 2009 at its Ambatovy operation in Madagascar. In 2013, Sherritt became 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 in 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 to, and was accepted to join, the Voluntary Principles Initiative in 2014. Sherritt also played a key role in developing and implementing the VPSHR-aligned Child Rights and Security Checklist and Handbook in 2017 and 2018, in a process co-led by UNICEF Canada and Global Affairs Canada.
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 20 years, already has good alignment with the requirements of the VPSHRs, and that the standard will provide an opportunity to demonstrate that position.
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. For details, visit Sherritt’s 2018 Annual Report to the Voluntary Principles Initiative, and subsequent annual updates. 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. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Sherritt could not further discussions and socialization of the VPSHRs with its Cuban partners in 2020.
In 2020, Sherritt continued promoting awareness of the VPSHRs by participating in VPSHR-related meetings and reviews with member companies and governments. At the site level, Sherritt security officers continued to communicate the importance of complying with the Voluntary Principles to our security personnel and private security contractors.
Additionally, in 2020 Sherritt obtained an independent OECD-aligned assessment of its responsible sourcing policies and due diligence management systems, including its policies and standards on security and human rights. The assessment did not identify any gaps with Sherritt’s Human Rights Policy or security management systems.
For more information on our work on the VPSHRs, please visit Sherritt’s 2020 Annual Update Report.