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Human Rights

Anticipating and preventing impacts on the human rights of the people foreseeably touched by our activities, particularly people in our supply chain and living near our operations.

GRI Indicators
412-103, 412-1

Human Rights

Companies have the potential to impact human rights both positively and negatively wherever they operate. As businesses are becoming increasingly globalized, they may operate in areas with higher risks to human rights or where economic and political conditions increase the likelihood of human rights issues and infractions. The risks to business of not respecting human rights are significant: projects can be delayed or cancelled, conflict can impact project or operating costs, reputations can suffer, and legal action can be taken.15

According to the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGP), businesses must refrain from violating human rights, wherever and however they do business. Companies must know their human rights impacts and take steps to improve them through due diligence, even if governments do not fulfill their own duties. In addition, companies must have processes that allow for communities to file grievances and allow them to participate in remedies.

Mining requires access to a variety of resources; therefore, there is a risk that companies can potentially infringe on a broad range of human rights, such as those related to water, land access, Indigenous Peoples, local communities, health and safety, and security. In recent years, ensuring greater alignment between business practices and human rights requirements has been a significant objective for the mining sector. Organizations such as the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) are fully supportive of the UNGP, and were deeply involved in the consultations that led to their development. 

Industry associations have also come together to advance key initiatives that are aligned with human rights objectives, such as the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), who has worked with all members, including Teck, to develop a common approach to advancing the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. As part of this work, MAC announced a new Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) Protocol in 2017 that requires members, including Teck, to reconfirm their commitments to respecting the rights of workers and not engaging in practices of forced or child labour, as defined in ILO Conventions 29, 138 and 182.

While Teck operates in jurisdictions that are characterized by stable political and economic conditions, we recognize that the potential remains for our activities to impact human rights. We are committed to improving systems for preventing human rights-related incidents, impacts and grievances. We are improving our reporting to align with the UNGP by providing more information on how our activities may impact human rights and how issues with relevant human rights aspects are being addressed.

(15) Doing Business with Respec for Human Rights: A Guidance Tool for Companies. SHIFT, Oxfam and Global Compact Network Netherlands. 2016.

Teck’s Approach to Human Rights

We recognize our obligation as a business under the United Nations Guiding Principles to respect human rights and remedy human rights impacts. Teck operates primarily in Canada, United States, Peru and Chile, which are relatively low-risk jurisdictions that are characterized by stable political and economic conditions and robust legal systems. However, despite operating in these low-risk jurisdictions, we are committed to improving our systems for preventing human rights-related impacts. Our disclosure is evolving in alignment with the United Nations Guiding Principles and we work to provide information on how our activities may impact human rights and how issues with human rights aspects are remedied and addressed.

The Board of Directors, through its Safety and Sustainability Committee, broadly oversees health, safety, environment and community policies, systems, performance and auditing, including implementation of our Health, Safety, Environment and Community (HSEC) Management Standards. 

The following senior leaders are involved in implementing the management of human rights:

  • The Senior Vice President, Sustainability and External Affairs reports directly to our CEO and is responsible for sustainability, health and safety, environment, community, and Indigenous affairs

  • The Vice President, Community and Government Relations leads activities related to social management and responsibility, community engagement and community investment

Teck’s Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) consists of senior leaders as outlined in Table 1 below. Due diligence processes with respect to human rights are conducted primarily by the Communities teams at each of our operations, projects and exploration sites. 

Table 1: Human Rights Working Group Members


Team at Teck

Member of HRWG

Hiring & Training Security Personnel & Protecting Assets

Risk, Security and Insurance

Director, Risk, Security & Loss Control

Ensuring Everybody goes Home Safe and Healthy Every Day

Health and Safety

Director, Health and Safety

Impacting and Managing Water


Director, Permitting And Closure

Supporting Employees, Working with Unions

Human Resources

HR Business Partner, Talent Management

Procuring Goods/Services

Legal & Operating Excellence

Corporate Counsel

Building Major Projects

Project Development Group

Director, Project Services

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Programming

Legal Counsel

Vice President General Counsel & Secretary, Spokane

Working with Communities

Community and Government Relations

Director, Social Management and Responsibility

Working with Indigenous Peoples

Corporate Counsel

Working with Communities and Indigenous Peoples

Director, Social Management and Responsibility, Chile

Supporting Employees, Working with Unions

Human Resources

Director, Human Resources, Chile

Internal Communication

Corporate Affairs

Manager, Internal Communications

Our Human Rights Policy outlines our commitment to respecting the rights of our employees, the communities in which we operate and others affected by our activities. Table 2 below provides additional details on Teck policies that addresses particular human rights components.

Table 2: Teck Policies Relevant to Human Rights Issues

Teck Policy

Human Right Covered within Policy

Health and Safety Policy

Right to Safe Working Conditions, Right to Health

Indigenous Peoples Policy

Right to Land and Livelihood

Water Policy

Right to Water, Right to Health

Human Rights Policy

Right to Access Remedy, Right to Health, Right to Life

Teck’s Expectations for Suppliers and Contractors

Right to Safe Working Conditions, Right to Work

Charter of Corporate Responsibility and Code of Sustainable Conduct

Right to Safe Working Conditions, Right to Work, Right to Freedom from Child Labour

Code of Ethics

Right to Safe Working Conditions, Right to Freedom from Discrimination

Teck works with numerous local, national and international organizations and programs to support human rights.

Teck has adopted the UN Guiding Principles Framework as a means to progressively identify and remedy human rights impacts as part of our work and report upon those activities. Underscoring these Principles is the UN Framework for Business and Human Rights, which identifies a duty of the state to protect human rights but equally a duty of business to respect those rights, and for both to ensure there is effective access to remedy.

Through our Social Management and Responsibility at Teck (SMART) Framework, we take a rights-based approach to relationships with communities and individuals, and work to ensure that all of Teck’s activities are evaluated based on actual and potential impacts. Protecting rights remains a core objective across Teck’s operations and we continue to evolve our approach to meet changing needs. 

Figure 1: Human Rights Management Framework 

In implementing this framework, Teck undertakes activities under the following three pillars.

Through the Human Rights Working Group, enterprise-level human rights risks are assessed on an ongoing basis. Policy and practice improvements are identified, pursued and monitored for implementation through this group. The Board of Directors and senior management regularly considers human rights impacts and risks associated with ongoing activities and material incidents.

All operations have implemented site-based feedback mechanisms that enable individuals or groups to report human rights concerns. Our feedback mechanisms allow for the identification of grievances with human rights relevancy and help our sites to systematically respond in a timely manner and report on human rights-related feedback. Teck continues to improve its feedback mechanisms through improved training and guidance, business process improvements, and technology solutions.

We conduct ongoing due diligence to ensure awareness of our Human Rights Policy is strong across our sites and operations. We also conduct training related to the policy for practitioners to ensure a rights-based approach to community engagement. 

Human Rights Management at Operations

Teck undertakes multidisciplinary human rights impact assessments with its operations to identify local issues of potential human rights risk. This practice informs the ongoing assessment of social risk and management actions as part of Teck’s SMART Framework. Through our Human Rights Working Group, Teck continues to focus corporate policy, guidance and best practice development on those issues most salient to the company.

Human Rights Management During Exploration

Prior to entering a country to conduct exploration activities, we assess a range of risks associated with operating in each jurisdiction, including those relating to: 

  • National security, including terrorism, social unrest, border conflict, religious conflict and ethnic conflict
  • Personal security, including kidnapping, extortion, hijacking and robbery
  • Personal health, including access to safe water, pollution levels, sanitation and disease

Based on the results of these assessments, a decision is made as to whether it is appropriate for us to pursue exploration activities in a given location. 

Human Rights Management During Projects 

Our approval process for new projects and major investments integrates human rights considerations from the start. As a result, human rights issues are taken into consideration during project design, evaluation and decision-making. 

Human Rights Management in Joint Ventures 

Teck has several joint venture partners, including Goldcorp in NuevaUnión, a joint venture in the Atacama Region of Chile combining the former El Morro and Relincho projects. Teck and Goldcorp are committed to ensuring that the project undertakes meaningful engagement with communities to better understand current human rights conditions and the risks and opportunities associated with human rights in the region.

Table 3: Human Rights External Audits



Items Audited


Mining Association of Canada: Towards Sustainable Mining audit

Community of Interest (COI) identification
Effective COI engagement and dialogue
COI response mechanism


International Council on Mining and Metals: Sustainability Report assurance

Total number of significant disputes relating to land use and the customary rights of local communities and Indigenous Peoples
Principle 3: Respect human rights and the interests, cultures, customs and values of employees and communities affected by our activities 

Following each of these audits, applicable management teams use the results to inform future actions and Teck’s five-year planning process. 

Our Performance in Human Rights in 2017

Updates to Human Rights Management Practices

In 2017, we worked to further embed the principles in our Human Rights Policy into our procedures and practices, such as social risk assessments, feedback/grievance management, and incident identification and management. We also piloted new training programs and conducted ongoing integration of the policy into project development frameworks. Through the Human Rights Working Group, we continued to ensure that Teck’s policies remained consistent with human rights objectives and that salient issues for the company were identified. Through ongoing engagement at the site level, we continued to identify opportunities to advance human rights values in the areas where we operate, as identified in collaboration with communities of interest. 

Progress on Human Rights Management

Teck is focused on ensuring that human rights perspectives are integrated into our broader social management practices. We believe that awareness and active management of human rights-relevant issues should be aligned with our broader approaches to managing social performance across the business. Our efforts on human rights are focused in three areas:

Embedding Due Diligence: We proactively identify areas of highest human rights risk through regular internal and external reporting so we can prevent adverse impacts from occurring. This includes conducting human rights assessments at our operations over the past four years. In 2017, we integrated human rights considerations into Health, Safety, Environment and Community (HSEC) risk assessment tools and carried out training with key HSEC staff (approximately 40 people) in Vancouver and Santiago on identifying actual and potential human rights impacts that could occur during community engagement. 

As part of our work to embed human rights-related due diligence into our activities, we undertook the following activities in 2017 at two of our operations:

  • At Carmen de Andacollo Operations, we undertook an in-depth review of our grievance mechanism processes, which is a key component for alignment with the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights. Areas for improvement were identified, such as timeliness of responses; actions to begin improving these processes will occur in 2018.
  • Highland Valley Copper Operations continued to implement their social management system, which includes in-depth reviews of their feedback mechanism.

Teck’s human rights due diligence practices are also integrated into multiple departments company-wide. For example, in 2017, we undertook exposure risk assessments at all operations to ensure the right to health of our employees and we conducted gender intelligence training to ensure our employees’ rights to non-discrimination.

Resolving Feedback and Incidents: We focus on identifying human rights issues, resolving them and learning from those events. In 2017, we focused on integrating human rights considerations into existing feedback and incident identification and reporting processes. We also made improvements to our stakeholder engagement tracking tool, which is focused on improving the ability of community practitioners to track and assess the effectiveness of responses. 

Governance, Policy and Reporting: We promote Teck’s Human Rights Policy across the company through integration with other policies and into communication and training for employees, mainly as part of onboarding. In 2017, Teck’s Human Rights Working Group continued to identify and improve our internal business policies and practices where human rights aspects may be relevant. Human rights-related issues and responses are increasingly integrated into enterprise risk management, including reporting on incidents and feedback to the Risk Management Committee and the Safety and Sustainability Committee of the Board. 

Our Salient Human Rights Issues

As part of the UNGP, we determine and report on our most significant or salient human rights issues. A company’s salient human rights issues are those human rights that represent the most significant impact through the company’s activities or business relationships. Below is a summary of the human rights issues that were salient to Teck in 2017, based on human rights assessments conducted over the last four years. In 2018, we will undertake a saliency impact review and disclose the outcome in line with the UNGP requirements. 

Table 36: Human Rights Issues that are Salient to Teck(1)

Salient Issues Category

Associated Rights


Freedom of association, assembly and collective bargaining(2)
Right to safe and healthy working conditions(3)
Right to not be subjected to slavery, servitude or forced labour (specific to supply chains)(4)
Right to work(5)
Right to non-discrimination(6)


Right to clean water and sanitation(7)
Right to health(8)

Land and Livelihoods

Right to land(9)
Right to work(10)
Right to take part in cultural life(8)

Personal Security

Right not to be subjected to torture and the right to liberty and security of person(11)
Freedom of association and right to protest, speech and expression(11)

(1) In addition to the protection of all human rights, Indigenous Peoples also hold a unique set of group rights called Indigenous rights.
(2) The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), International Labour Organization Core Conventions (ILO)
(9) UDHR (privacy and property), ICCPR (no forced eviction), ICESCR (no forced eviction)
(11) ICCPR

Human Rights Incidents

The severity of community incidents is rated by Teck on a five-level scale where Level 1 is minor and Level 5 is very significant. No significant community incidents (Level 4 or higher) were reported in 2017.

Outlook for Human Rights

In all of our activities, Teck remains committed to respecting and observing human rights and to aligning our practices with the UNGP. In 2018, we will continue to integrate human rights into Teck’s social management practices. In particular, through continued evaluation of human rights impacts and integration into risk assessment activities, we will further embed due diligence activities to prevent adverse events. We will enhance our knowledge of salient impacts through structured analysis with the Human Rights Working Group and through updating human rights assessments at our operations. We will ensure appropriate management and remedy of negative feedback and significant incidents, through improving our feedback mechanisms and the reporting and management of incidents. Finally, we will drive continued improvements to human rights-related governance, policy and reporting across the organization through training for practitioners, ongoing reporting to senior management on human rights risks, and through collaboration with industry partners such as ICMM.

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Teck is a diversified resource company committed to responsible mining and mineral development with business units focused on copper, zinc, steelmaking coal and energy.