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International delegation visits Umicore plant in the Philippines

On 11-12 February, representatives from Umicore and global union IndustriALL visited the Umicore plant in Subic Bay. Umicore and IndustriALL have been cooperating on a regular basis since 2007 within the framework of the International Sustainability Development Agreement.

In 2007 Umicore was the first Belgian-based company to sign the International Sustainability Development Agreement with key international trade unions. Today, the agreement is still part of Umicore’s ongoing commitment to supporting and upholding principles on human rights, working conditions and environmental management. Around 100 companies around the world have signed similar agreements.

Joint activities by Umicore and IndustriALL include a yearly review of Umicore’s performance with a special focus on the company’s sustainable development key performance indicators. They have also organised a series of visits to Umicore industrial operations. The recent visit to Subic Bay follows on from previous events in Shanghai (China), Guarulhos (Brazil), Port Elizabeth (South Africa), Tulsa (USA) and Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

During the two-day visit Tony Wong, General Manager of Umicore Subic, and his team presented the plant’s operations. The presentation focused particularly on working conditions, safety and hygiene, environment and engagement with the local community. A tour of the plant and meetings with local union representatives allowed the delegation to confirm that Umicore is fully meeting the commitments defined in the global agreement.

On the second day the visitors were joined by Gudrun Cartuyvels representing Trias, a Belgian NGO which supports more than a million entrepreneurs in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Umicore and Trias were paired some years ago by the organisation Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs, of which Umicore is a founding member. Since August 2012 Umicore has been supporting a Trias project in Manila which provides micro-entrepreneurs with much-needed training and funding. The scheme helps people in the Philippines to set up businesses, create local employment and build better lives without depending on foreign aid.

Mr. Kemal Ozkan, Assistant General Secretary at IndustriALL, concluded: “I am pleased to see that our global agreement principles are being implemented at all the Umicore sites we have visited. To feel the same level of commitment to sustainability in the field as on the corporate level in Brussels, is a clear sign of a true engagement of all."