Rio Tinto releases external review of workplace culture

Rio Tinto today released a comprehensive external study of its corporate culture, commissioned as part of its commitment to deliver lasting cultural change across its global operations.

The review, which was carried out by former Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, identified some worrying findings bullying, sexual harassment, racism and other forms of discrimination throughout the company.

The review is part of work undertaken by Rio Tinto’s Respect Everyday Task Force, which was launched in March 2021 to better understand, prevent and respond to harmful behavior in the workplace.

The eight-month study saw more than 10,000 people share their experiences, views and ideas via an online survey, as well as through more than 100 group listening sessions, 85 individual listening sessions confidential and nearly 140 individual written submissions.

The report, which features 26 detailed recommendations, will inform ongoing work to improve how the company prevents and responds to discrimination and unacceptable behavior in the workplace. Rio Tinto will implement all of the report’s recommendations, focusing on three key areas:

  • A commitment from company management to create safe, respectful and inclusive work environments to prevent harmful behavior and better support people in vulnerable situations. This includes increasing diversity within the company.

  • Ensure company camp and village facilities are safe and inclusive. This includes ensuring that the company applies the same safety and risk processes that it uses to prevent harm in operations to create a safe environment for all employees and contractors.

  • Make it as easy and safe as possible for all people to report unacceptable behavior, point out problems when they arise, and receive help. This includes introducing early intervention options and improving how the company responds to formal workplace complaints.

The actions are a response to the report’s findings which show over the past five years:

  • Bullying and sexism are systemic across all Rio Tinto worksites, with nearly half of people being bullied;

  • 28.2% of women and 6.7% of men have been victims of sexual harassment at work;

  • 21 women reported rape or sexual assault or attempted sexual assault;

  • Racism is common in a number of areas, with the survey indicating that people working in a country different from their country of birth experienced high rates of racism, and that 39.8% of men and 31.8% of women who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander in Australia have experienced racism.

The full report can be viewed here:

Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm said: “The findings of this report disturb me deeply and should disturb anyone who reads it. I sincerely apologize to every member of the team, past or present, who has suffered as a result of these behaviors. This is not the kind of company we want to be.

“I feel shame and enormous regret to have learned of the extent to which bullying, sexual harassment and racism occur at Rio Tinto.

“I am determined that by implementing appropriate actions to address the recommendations, and with the leadership team’s commitment to a safe, respectful and inclusive Rio Tinto in all areas, we will bring about positive and lasting change. and strengthen our long-term work culture.

“I am grateful to everyone who has come forward to share their experiences in this vital work.”

The report also revealed that there is a strong appetite for cultural change within the company, including at senior management level, and that there has been a visible shift in attitudes and behaviors over the of the last 12 months.

Elizabeth Broderick said: “This report is no reason to reduce confidence in Rio Tinto. By proactively commissioning this study, one of the largest of its kind in the resource industry, she demonstrates a very clear commitment to increased transparency, accountability and action. High levels of confidence among employees that a significant impact can be made in the next two years are an encouraging sign that change can happen.

“In my interactions with Rio Tinto’s leadership team, I have observed a strong desire for transformational change, as well as making positive contributions to the societal changes we need to see. However, there is clear recognition that new approaches are needed to solve these problems.

The report is based on research that shows that lasting cultural change can only happen by engaging with people who have been impacted by harmful behaviors, enabling them to share their stories and design solutions together. to prevent them from happening again.

It aimed to understand the prevalence of bullying, sexual harassment and racism within the company, to understand people’s individual experiences and to determine the most appropriate and effective prevention approaches.

About Elizabeth Broderick AO, Director, Elizabeth Broderick & Co

Elizabeth was Australia’s longest-serving Gender Discrimination Commissioner (2007-2015), is a founder and facilitator of the Champions of Change Coalition, an Adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney and an Independent Expert for the United Nations Working Group on discrimination against women and girls.

This announcement is authorized for market distribution by Steve Allen, Corporate Secretary of the Rio Tinto Group.

Shirlene J. Manley