Problematic Platinum

REPORT | 29 October 2013
Photo: Thapelo Lekgowa.

The platinum mining industry in South Africa is associated with severe risks for adverse human rights impacts. Swedish companies with ties to the industry fail to adequately disclose how these risks are addressed and mitigated.

The local communities in close proximity to the mines in South Africa lack, to a large extent, access to water and sanitation, or adequate housing. The mineworkers are constantly exposed to hazardous working conditions, and there is widespread dissatisfaction over low wage standards. In the report Problematic Platinum – The responsibility of Swedish corporations in South Africa, Swedwatch looks at how Scania, Volvo, Atlas Copco and Sandvik address these risks. The Swedish companies have a responsibility, as suppliers to the South African mining industry or buyers of platinum, to respect human rights throughout their entire value chain.

According to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights each and every company has a responsibility to mitigate human rights risks throughout their operations, and openly disclose how these issues are addressed. The report shows that the Swedish companies fail to adequately communicate how risks for adverse human rights impacts, within the platinum industry in South Africa, are identified and mitigated. The Swedish companies need to engage more actively in these issues and openly communicate their efforts.

Made in collaboration with: Church of Sweden, The Africa Groups of Sweden