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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

Why was Human Rights a Material Topic in 2016?

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. Activities that have the highest likelihood of impact on human rights are referred to as salient issues. In recent years, ensuring alignment with human rights has been a significant objective for the mining sector as a key aspect of sustainable development. Organizations such as the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) are fully supportive of the UN Guiding Principles, 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 who has worked with all members, including Teck, to develop a common approach to aligning with the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, which was approved and announced in early 2017.


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 make rights more difficult to protect. The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights were created in 2011 to provide clarity on the responsibilities of companies and duties of governments to uphold and protect human rights. According to the Guiding Principles, 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.

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

Performance Highlights

Improved Awareness

and tracking of potential human rights impacts in our social risk assessment
and social incident reporting guidelines.

Our Targets and Commitments

As a responsible company operating globally, we are committed to respecting and observing all human rights, as articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the ILO Core Conventions.

In addition, we are committed to Principles 1 and 2 of the UN Global Compact, meaning we actively support and respect the protection of human rights and avoid complicity in human rights abuses.

To demonstrate these commitments, Teck has increased its disclosure in this area and will move towards improved reporting against the UN Guiding Principles in the 2017 Sustainability Report.

We are committed to engaging with our communities of interest on our human rights impacts and to reporting on our performance.

How Does Teck Manage Human Rights?

We are committed to respecting the rights of our employees, the communities in which we operate, and others affected by our activities through the life cycle of our products and operations. Furthermore, we work to advance human rights values in the areas where we operate in collaboration with communities of interest. We put special emphasis on the rights of vulnerable groups that may be impacted by our activities and operations, including Indigenous Peoples, women and children.

At the highest level, we are guided by our Charter of Corporate Responsibility, Code of Ethics and Code of Sustainable Conduct. Our policies on Human Rights, Human Resources, Security, Materials Stewardship and Supply Chain outline our commitments. Our Health, Safety, Environment and Community Management Standards frame how the policies, codes and charters are applied.

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. Our management of human rights is guided by this policy and supported by company-wide codes, charters and standards as outlined above. Our due diligence processes with respect to human rights, and compliance with the Human Rights Policy, are overseen by our Senior Vice President, Commercial and Legal Affairs and are managed by our Communities team and through a Human Rights Working Group consisting of senior members of our corporate management teams. Training on the Human Rights Policy is provided to key staff as required, and we maintain a risk register that incorporates the assessment of human rights impacts.

Our Social Management and Responsibility at Teck (SMART) Framework, social risk assessments and several other tools guide our corporate and operational implementation of the Human Rights Policy. Through training, we ensure our people have the skills they need to use these tools. Finally, we report our performance in respecting human rights internally and externally. 

Figure 20: Human Rights Management Framework 

Integration in Feedback Mechanism and Grievance Reporting

As part of our Human Rights Policy implementation and our sustainability strategy, all operations developed and implemented site-based feedback mechanisms. Our feedback mechanisms allow for the identification of grievances with human rights relevancy and help our sites systematically respond in a time-bound manner and report out on human rights-related feedback. For more information about our feedback mechanism, see the Community Engagement page.  

As part of our regular risk processes, we conduct assessments for a range of social risks. Social risk assessments identify potential and actual risks and opportunities that companies and communities can pose on one another. Our operations complete risk registers, which take into account considerations of communities. Social risk assessments have been completed at each of our operations. They include analysis of the risk of potential regulatory delay due to social risk. They also evaluate our performance to date on sharing benefits with COIs relevant to our operations. These can include the assessment of risks relating to:

  • Lost opportunity to hire locally (women/Indigenous Peoples)
  • Erosion of community trust, due to increased environmental incidents
  • Community rights around water, land and biodiversity
  • Indigenous rights and permitting delays

The social risk assessment process is supplemented by Human Rights Assessments that engage multi-disciplinary groups at each operation, including the General Manager and employees from the Environment, Communities and Human Resources departments, and are overseen by a Human Rights Working Group. 

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 Project Corridor, a joint venture in the Atacama Region of Chile combining the former El Morro and Relincho projects. In 2015, Teck and Goldcorp committed to ensuring that Project Corridor undertakes meaningful engagement with communities to better understand current human rights conditions and the risks and opportunities associated with human rights in the region.


As part of our efforts to fulfill our duties under the United Nations Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework, commonly known as the Ruggie Framework, our Human Rights Policy is consistent with UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

These require us to respect human rights and, where relevant, address human rights grievances. This includes carrying out due diligence with respect to those potential and actual human rights impacts relating both to our business activities and to our business relationships. In addition, we are committed to Principles 1 and 2 of the United Nations Global Compact, meaning we actively support and respect the protection of human rights and avoid complicity in human rights abuses.

As part of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, companies are required to determine and report on their 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.

Table 39: 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


Right to land(9)

Right to work(10)

Right to take part in cultural life(11)

Personal Security

Right not to be subjected to torture and the right to liberty and security of person(12)

Freedom of association and right to protest, speech and expression(12)

(1)In addition to the protection of all human rights, Indigenous Peoples also hold a unique set of group rights called Indigenous rights. This means that, in practice as well as being a human right for Teck to respect, there may be further collective rights for Teck to uphold and respect in regard to 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)

Beginning in 2017, Teck’s Human Rights Working Group will review and update our salient Human Rights issues on an annual basis.

What Was Our Performance in Human Rights in 2016?

In 2016, Teck worked to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to respecting and observing human rights, actively supporting and respecting the protection of human rights, avoiding complicity in human rights abuses, engaging with our communities of interest on our human rights impacts, and reporting on our performance.

Updates to Human Rights Management Practices

In 2016, we continued to review procedures and policies across the organization to ensure conformance with our Human Rights Policy. With respect to our suppliers and service providers, we updated our Expectations for Suppliers and Contractors to integrate stipulations to ensure respect for human rights such as fair working conditions, non-discrimination and the abolition of child labour.

In our Exploration teams, we introduced a dedicated Communities Policy that specifically sets expectations related to human rights performance at all exploration sites and assists with prioritization of exploration activities. In our management of major projects, we further integrated human rights aspects into Teck’s project delivery framework to ensure best practices are used during their development.

We also piloted a social risk assessment that encouraged greater evaluation and analysis of the likely impact of our activities on human rights. This assessment increased our understanding of potential human rights impacts and, in some cases, appropriate remedies. We also undertook a review of site feedback/grievance mechanisms and associated reporting to identify potential areas of improvement related to human rights. Finally, we introduced social incident reporting procedures, which provides initial guidelines for the reporting of incidents with potential human rights impacts. 

Progress on Human Rights Management

We had no human rights grievances identified by complainants or incidents in 2016. In 2017 and beyond, our reporting on grievances will consider a wider scope in terms of classifying human rights issues. This change in reporting is in our effort to improve alignment with the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework.

Outlook for Human Rights

In all of our activities, Teck remains committed to respecting and observing human rights, and to more closely aligning our practices with the UN Guiding Principles. In 2017, we will work 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 management. We will also advance implementation of key improvements in areas such as exploration and project development. In 2017, through the Human Rights Working Group, we will identify opportunities to advance human rights values in the areas where we operate, as identified in collaboration with communities of interest.

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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.