Sustainable Development And Community

Responsible Stewardship

Responsible Stewardship encapsulates our approach to our employees, the environment and our business processes. It is how we manage risk and demonstrate compliance to legal requirements and best practice. It is a vital part of all phases of our project lifecycle - from the way we conduct environmental and social impact assessments, the operation of our health, safety and environmental management systems, our carbon footprint and our work on biodiversity management.

We have a multi-layered risk management framework to mitigate the risks we face in the course of our operations. Maintaining a robust risk management system is critical to the delivery of our objectives and the achievement of sustainable growth.

Oversight of risk management sits with the Board and the Directors who also have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the Group maintains a robust system of internal control.

The risk management framework plays a key role in the identification, analysis, mitigation and continual monitoring of the various risks that could affect the delivery of the strategic objectives set by the Board.

Details of our key board level committees supporting our risk mitigation framework are detailed in the corporate Governance section of our website.

Commitment to preventing bribery and fraud

Responsible Stewardship means ensuring we have effective and In accordance with the terms of our Code of Conduct we are committed to the elimination of fraud and bribery. We also comply with the UK Bribery Act and applicable money laundering regulations in each jurisdiction in which we operate and co‐operate fully with any investigation conducted by regulatory authorities involving potential money laundering by an employee, officer or Director of the Group. The Audit Committee reviews the actions taken by management in the elimination of fraudulent practices and to promote ethical working practices.

Vedanta Sustainability Assurance Programme (VSAP)

VSAP is our sustainability risk assuranc tool which we use to assess the compliance of all our businesses with the Framework and identify where gaps exist and to address the same. The assurance model has different modules, which cover environment, health, safety, community and human rights elements. It is now an annual process with clear tracking of results by the Sustainability Committee and the Executive Committee which in turn reports to Board.

Lisheen Mine Site Closure

Our Lisheen mine is an underground lead and zinc mine located in north Tipperary, Ireland. The mine has been operating since 1999 but is expected to close in 2015. As responsible stewards of the site, we aim to leave a positive legacy, both socially and environmentally.Achieving successful mine closure is a complex challenge, requiring the consideration of substantial environmental and geochemical information. The closure process must be effective, efficient and sustainable. The project is well underway,

with an extended programme of expert consultations and workshops to develop a closure plan framework. Further, a task force made up of local government representatives, Lisheen staff and members of governmental industrial development agencies is already working in partnership to manage the closure of the site and create new livelihood options for the community.The team has been progressively rehabilitating its tailings management facility. To date, approximately 34 hectares (45%) of the site have been rock-capped and 8.5 hectares fully rehabilitated and restored to agricultural pasture land, with technological support to prevent metal uptake by plants. We have made a commitment to the local community and to regulatory stakeholders to complete 60% of the cap for the main facility within the operational life of the mine, with the balance to be completed after the mine closes.Our commitment to Lisheen will extend far beyond its closure; we will monitor the site for an eight to 10-year period and maintain accountability for up to 30 years.

Health and safety management is a material issue for Vedanta and a systematic approach is essential to ensure consistency across the business. Our absolute focus is to eliminate fatalities and major injuries. To achieve this, we are committed to using internationally recognised standards on health and safety to create a zero harm environment for our employees. Our approach to safety is tailored according to the challenges posed by the operations linked to extraction and processing of resources, and the geographies in which they are situated. For example, fleet management and working at height are major risks for our operations above ground, whereas rock falls are a challenge for underground operations. Our approach to the occupational health of our workforce is structured within four areas: prevention, monitoring, support and recovery - tailored to each operating environment.

Health and Safety Risk Mitigation

To manage health and safety risks, a clear process is required to identify hazards and to manage these appropriately. As our operations evolve, our risk mitigation also evolves to reflect these changes. Our Sustainability Development report includes the most current approach we take to managing risk in our operations.

All our subsidiaries run on-site training that is appropriate to that site’s operations and contextual needs, such as the linguistic and literacy skills of employees and contractors in that area. Videos and infographics are used across our sites to create and reinforce safety messages. We take the same approach when managing the health of employees. For example, our operations in Africa have tailored programmes on HIV/AIDS, whereas some of our Indian sites focus more on malaria prevention.

A Safe Community

We ensure that our workforce safety practices are imbibed by our employees and contract workers. Contract workers account for 70% of Vedanta's workforce and contractors are obliged to submit their safety credentials in the tendering process. Once the contract is awarded, on-site training, support and supervision are given and post-contract a safety audit and evaluation is completed.

While continuing to maintain high expectations from contractors, Vedanta's Hindustan Zinc Limited and Sterlite Copper have reached out to the families of the contract workers through the initiative 'Bridging Community Through Safety'. Safety officers visit the families to share experiences of workplace safety, personal health and safety, offer a free home safety audit and distribute emergency instruction pamphlets and safety kits.

Thirty households were educated during 2014, with families reporting improved confidence in taking responsibility for personal safety and health.

Our approach to the occupational health of our workforce is structured within four areas: prevention, monitoring, support and recovery.

All units maintain a health management system that minimises, as far as is reasonably practical, the hazards and risks of their operations to employees and contract workers.

We invest in technologically advanced processes that reduce possible exposure levels, workplace monitoring, including pollution control equipment, effluent treatment and the proper storage of hazardous chemicals.


We provide first aid and occupational health training to employees and contractors along with site-specific personal protective equipment (PPE) and protective clothing. A number of health and wellness programmes and support services, including respiratory health and hearing conservation programmes, eye health checks, ergonomic surveys and the promotion of healthy lifestyles (including smoking prevention, exercise, yoga and weight loss); various company publications and activities are also provided.


Health management begins with a pre employment medical check, followed by periodical medical check-ups with on-site medical professionals to monitor occupational exposur limits and disease, as appropriate. Round the year periodic tests to ascertain the Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) in the work environment (for example, noise, dust and heat), and studies of illumination levels, heat stress and manual handling are undertaken.

Support and Recovery

All our businesses are well equipped with occupational health centres to treat illness and injuries in our workforce. Medical insurance is provided to 100% of our full-time employees whereas contract employees are covered by either Employee State Insurance (ESI) or through Group insurance/workmen’s compensation.

Further Specific stress management programmes are offered to groups of employee identified as being at risk, such as our drivers and shop floor operators who are exposed to high-noise areas.

We offer training and instruction on healthy lifestyles and disease prevention and treatment, with localised programmes for specific diseases such as HIV and malaria. Health and wellness facilities, including on-site fitness centres, are provided and our weekly health tips by email at some of our businesses have also proved to be very popular.

Community health

We understand our obligation to the families of our workforce and the communities that surround our operations. Accordingly, we offer them a wide range of on-site and out-reach health and disease prevention and treatment programmes.

Healthy Miner

Safeguarding the health and wellbeing of the miners is a key priority for Vedanta. Even before an employee (whether permanent or on contract) undertakes work, they undergo a pre-employment medical check, and free health examinations are available throughout their career.

At Lisheen mine, Ireland, health and well-being programmes include: screening for heart disease, cholestrol, body mass index and artery conditions; ergonomic surveys; and the promotion of healthy lifestyles (including smoking prevention, exercise and weight loss). Lisheen's award-winning on-site canteen serves low-fat, low-salt foods and fresh fruit, while physiotherapy classes run all week.

At Vedanta's Hindustan Zinc Limited mines and smelters in India, occupational health centres offer audiometric tests, spirometry, opthalmology and chest X-rays, as well as toxic elements profile testing to check for any presence of arsenic, cadmium, mercury, cobalt, lead or chromium.

During the year 14,711 employees received medical examinations and no cases of occupational diseases were reported.

HZL's commitment to health extends beyond employees to their families and the wider community. The centres run special campaigns on stress management, bone density and hypertension for both employees and dependents. In the villages surrounding the zinc mines, monthly health check-ups have benefited approximately 18,000 people, while 4,000 people attended HZL medical camps in FY 2014-15.

As a diversified natural resources company, we understand that the nature of our operations has implications for the environment in different ways - through the emission of particulates, wastes generated in mining, refining and smelting processes, water consumption and changes in land use.

As part of continual improvement, we plan to obtain ISO 14001 certification at all our units and as of now 40 out of 45 units are ISO 14001 certified. The ISO 14001 accreditation helps us to regularly review the Environmental Management System, with programmes in place to mitigate the identified environmental impacts of our products and services. Our Environmental Technical Standard encapsulates our approach, where all our operations are obliged to avoid if possible, or otherwise minimise, adverse impacts on the environment from our operations through effective management systems and processes that work towards continuous improvement of our environmental performance. Plants have installed fugitive dust control systems like dry fog systems, water spray systems, bag filters, scrubbers systems, etc for controlling dust in various dry bulk material handling areas for prevention of the air pollution

Environmental incidents

We strive for zero environmental incidents at all our operations and have a robust internal process for managing any that do occur, including a rating system according to their severity. All businesses monitor report and investigate any incident with the aim to apply lessons learned to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents, and share any learning's across our operations. At the majority of our operations, environmental incident analyses are discussed in monthly operational reviews.

Vedanta's internal rating system for incidents categorises them according to their severity and is also used by all the businesses, with the Vedanta Sustainability Committee reviewing Category 4 and Category 5 incidents (the highest categories) on a quarterly basis and all incidents (Category 1 - 5) are reviewed on a monthly basis.


Our operations exist in areas of varying degrees of water stress. Consequently, we take our water consumption and management extremely seriously. Our group water policy commits us to recognising the social, economic and environmental value of water and the increasing global concern of water scarcity. We strive to minimise the amount of fresh water we consume by reusing as much water as possible in our processes.

We use water in mining, smelting, refining and power plant operations from sources like ground water, surface water, rainfall and the municipality. None of the natural water sources are being affected by our water withdrawal as water withdrawal in all of our operations is less than 5% of capacity of the source. Also, none of the water sources is designated as a protected area either nationally or internationally.


Inherently, mining operations can affect local ecology. Our biodiversity policy commits us to minimise and mitigate biodiversity risks throughout our operations and we strive to avoid adverse impacts on natural habitats. We plan the management of our land use in a manner that allows biodiversity conservation to be integrated throughout our projects' life cycle, including decommissioning, closure and rehabilitation.

Our aim is to achieve a minimum of No Net Loss (NNL) of biodiversity and Net Positive Gain (NPG) of biodiversity (incase any critical habitat is present) at all our operations.We apply the UN Environment Programme’s Integrated BiodiversityAssessment Tool (IBAT) to screen for risk, followed by site-specificassessments to identify sensitive habitats, important bird areasand key biodiversity hot spots. The results of risk screening andassessments are applied to develop Biodiversity Management Plans(BMPs) for all our main sites (see graphic below). The intention is tohave a full suite of BMPs in place by 2015-16.

Energy and Climate Change

Meeting growing energy demands while also limiting carbon emissions is a global challenge. As we are an energy intensive industry – it is important that we carefully consider our approach to energy use, including our use oftechnology to maximise efficiencies. Our Energy and Carbon Policy commits ouroperations to adopt and maintain global bestpractices in carbon and energy management and minimise greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

We are aware of the opportunities that energy management and climate change present and understand the business case for theseinitiatives, which can include efficiency savings based on a combination of new technology andadvancing our business processes. In order togive rigour to our energy programmes, plantsare upgrading existing business managementsystems to allow accreditation to the energystandard ISO 50001.

Air quality

We closely monitor the extent of any impact that our operations have on air quality and the effects and implications that this may have on employees, the communities local to our operations, and the broader environment. We are committed to using processes and technology that minimises any particulate release.We require all our operations to apply air quality prevention and mitigation measures where measured (in the case of operational activities) or predicted (in the case of new projects). Air emissions monitoring include both Ambient Air Quality Monitoring (AAQM) as well as stack emissions monitoring.


Mining and resource production results in waste production and how we manage and reduce our waste is an important measure of how successful we are in managing our business sustainably.

Our Resource Use and Waste Management Standard commits our operations to minimise resource use across the lifecycle of each site as well as requiring sites to demonstrate a commitment to apply the waste management hierarchy principles. The Resource Use and Waste Management Standard ensures that our operations apply the principles of the Waste Hierarchy in the design and implementation of all of its operations. Accordingly, priority is given to avoidance and minimisation of waste generation followed by recovery, reuse and recycling. The least preferred option is disposal (landfill or incineration). Opportunities to eliminate, reduce, reuse, recycle and recover waste, wherever practicable, are identified and implemented.

Re-purposing Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste such as oil, residual sludge and scrubber ‘cake’ is an unwanted by–product of many of our processes, including our operations at Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper. Determined to recycle 100% of its waste -scrubber cake, the smelting business innovated a method to convert it into gypsum, a mineral used to manufacture cement and plasterboard, which has a rising value in global commodity markets.

As the scrubber cake contains the right balance of chemicals to produce gypsum, following approval from the India Central Pollution Control Board, it invested approximately US$33.3 million in state–of–the–art technology to neutralise and re–purpose its cake.

Metal dust is now restricted from entering lime scrubbers at its primary and secondary smelters, while a 'bag-house' and flue gas desulphurisation remove noxious sulphur dioxide and dust from the air. Residual 'bleed' is taken to a plant for poly-electrolyte treatment. The final product is gypsum. The investment has reduced hazardous waste by 40%.