Inclusive Development International and Human Rights Watch wrote today to the Australia-based Aluminum Stewardship Initiative (ASI) to propose revisions to its Performance Standard and auditing process. ASI is a multi-stakeholder initiative that was formed in 2015 to “recognize and collaboratively foster responsible production, sourcing and stewardship of aluminum. ” It is currently undertaking a public consultation on the review of its 2017 Performance Standard and Guidance, Chain of Custody Standard and Guidance, and Assurance Manual.
The joint submission welcomes ASI’s increased focus on human rights due diligence, while proposing changes to ensure that the new due diligence requirements adequately capture the full range of potential human rights abuses linked to bauxite mining, including impacts on communities’ land and property rights and the rights to adequate housing, food and water, and the right to a healthy environment.
It recommends that ASI strengthen the protections in its Performance Standard for mining-affected communities, including by clearly articulating communities’ right to benefit from natural resource exploitation and by providing more guidance on the rights of communities that are economically displaced as a result of losing land to mining.
The submission highlights difficulties affected communities could face in participating in, and influencing, the ASI certification process, and recommends that the assurance process provide more detail on how affected communities can participate in audits, and ensure communities have access to complete versions of audit reports.
Inclusive Development International and Human Rights Watch believe that companies implicated in serious human rights abuses should not only be denied certification for facilities linked to those abuses but should also be required to address those abuses or face a publicly announced suspension of their ASI membership.
Finally it argues that ASI should not admit companies implicated in serious human rights abuses, whether those abuses occur at ASI certified facilities or otherwise. Where a member controls a facility that is implicated in abuses (whether certified or otherwise), the member should be required to develop and implement a time-bound corrective action plan that provides a meaningful remedy to affected communities or face a suspension of membership.