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Supplier relations    

Supply chains are one of the most strategic and intricate parts of a large-scale enterprise such as ours. Our relationship with suppliers across the value chain — from our mine operations to the railways transporting our commodities — plays a vital role in the success of our business by ensuring timely delivery of high-quality materials and services while managing health, safety, and human rights risks. Supplier relationships also provide opportunities to enhance value creation for society, especially in the regions where we operate. 

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 Our approach  

In 2022, Vale did business with approximately 8,000 suppliers. Of these, 18% were classified as ESG-critical, representing roughly 25% of our supplier spend. These suppliers span across a wide range of segments including oil and fuel, construction, equipment, maintenance, consulting, food, spare parts, and repairs.  

Vale promotes human rights compliance at every stage of our relationship with suppliers, from initial selection and onboarding to contract management, supplier development, and training, in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Environmental, health, and safety considerations are also addressed in our engagement with suppliers, and we have standards and processes in place for risk monitoring, mitigation, and elimination. These are integrated into our enterprise management system, called the Vale Production System (VPS). 

Photographer: Ricardo Teles

Policies and Documents

Our approach to supplier relations is underpinned by ethics and integrity principles. These principles are formalized in standards and policies that provide suppliers with guidance on Vale’s non-negotiable requirements for responsible operations, including our:   
At, a dedicated supplier section presents key information for supplier onboarding and contract management. 

Responsible Sourcing  

In 2022, our Procurement department launched a Responsible Sourcing Program including measures to enhance our environmental, social, and economic performance in supply chain management. 

The first step was building an ESG Criticality Matrix for the supply chain. This matrix was developed by segmenting our supplier base in Brazil and analyzing the different procurement categories on environmental, social, and governance risks, in accordance with ISO 20400 – Sustainable Procurement.  

In building the matrix, we analyzed suppliers with active contracts in Brazil, amounting to around 8,000 suppliers and 35,000 contracts, representing half of our global supplier base. Suppliers were classified based on their potential impacts and ESG risk levels.  

In 2022, 18% of these suppliers were classified in the ESG matrix as critical. Among these, 53% were prioritized, totaling 845 suppliers assessed. Out of these assessments, 31.6% led to the development of action plans to align their practices with our standards. 

Photographer: Ricardo Teles

Mobilized contractors  

In 2022, Vale had approximately 150,000 contractors working in various roles — from mining operations through office facilities to transportation services and IT support. When working on Vale’s premises, these workers are referred to as “mobilized contractors.” They are issued ID badges and are included in a number of our internal processes. 

These workers play a crucial role in our success, and we are committed to ensuring their safety, well-being, and benefits are equivalent to those of our own employees.  

Our Contractor Assessment Center (NACT) is responsible for monitoring labor relations and the health and safety of these workers. Monthly checks include reviews of social security payments for all workers. Contractors are also entitled to health insurance. 

During the course of a contract, we perform due diligence assessments on aspects that include human rights and health and safety in facilities such as accommodations, dorms, changing rooms, cafeterias, transportation, etc., as well as mandatory documentation and training on aspects such as sustainability, human rights, and diversity. 

Risk and impact assessment   

A responsible business model requires close oversight throughout the supplier journey, from onboarding to the end of the contract and demobilization. Before entering a business relationship with Vale, all our suppliers undergo due diligence based on publicly available information, consistent with their scope of supply. This due diligence is conducted as part of Vale's Ethics & Compliance Program and covers information related to health and safety, the environment, human rights, and supplier integrity. In Brazil, we also monitor the federal slave labor blacklist and legal environmental requirements, and conduct on-site audits in specific cases. 

Upon onboarding, suppliers commit to providing dignified working conditions, combating child labor and child sexual exploitation, respecting freedom of association and collective bargaining, as well as anti-corruption and health and safety requirements. We also encourage suppliers to implement compliance programs and enforce the same guidelines within their own supply chains.  

Supplier performance is evaluated throughout the entire contract, and we periodically assess suppliers on social, environmental, humanitarian, performance, and governmental relationship aspects:  


Supplier monitoring    

Initiative  Description Frequency 
Local labor obligations  
Monitoring supplier contracts in Brazil on labor-related matters, minimizing exposure to risks involving safety, overwork, and labor claims.  
Forced labor blacklist  
Cross-checking our vendor list against a public forced labor blacklist published by the Brazilian Ministry of Labor and Employment. 
Public sanctions list 
Cross-checking Vale’s active vendor list with the public sanctions list from the Brazilian Federal Government’s Transparency Portal.  
Carbon emissions management program  
Monitoring and engaging key suppliers in managing their emissions as part of the CDP Supply Chain program. 
Tracking public sanctions (global sanctioned entities and countries policy, POL-0025-G) 
This policy applies to Vale and our wholly-owned subsidiaries and is replicated by our direct and indirect subsidiaries in Brazil and other jurisdictions in accordance with their bylaws and applicable legislation.  
Supplier Performance Index (IDF) 
An index that tracks our suppliers’ performance on five metrics: technical quality; environmental protection; health and safety; respect for employees; and continuous improvement.  


Vale operates a Whistleblowing Channel as part of our Ethics & Compliance Program. This channel can be accessed by any person, both within and outside the organization, to report any suspected or confirmed violations of our Code of Conduct. Learn more here.  

Vale’s anti-corruption practices include specific policies for our supply chain, such as our Global Anti-Corruption Manual, which translates Vale’s Global Anti-Corruption Policy for suppliers and contractors. For further information about these practices, see our Ethics & Compliance Program

Photographer: Ricardo Teles

Since 2019, Vale has conducted human rights due diligence throughout the supplier journey, from onboarding to contract management. To enhance due diligence and mitigate risks, we are now internationalizing this process while focusing our efforts on risk and impact mitigation. Some of the critical issues related to our supply chain include:  

  • Degrading working conditions and modern slavery;  

  • Child labor; 

  • Sexual exploitation of children and adolescents; 

  • Workplace and sexual harassment. 

When classifying our suppliers on human rights risks, we consider, among other aspects, the supplier’s industry and location. We mitigate these risks through training, self-assessment questionnaires, document inspections, and on-site inspections. When necessary, we request that suppliers develop an action plan to address identified weaknesses.  

Between 2019 and 2022, we conducted over 110 human rights inspections of suppliers in Brazil.  

For further information, click here.  

Responsible sourcing of base metals 

Vale Base Metals, a subsidiary established to consolidate our production operations in this segment, is committed to ensuring responsible sourcing and supply of base metals and minerals. It achieves this by applying effective risk management across the value chains for metals such as nickel, copper, cobalt, platinum, palladium, ruthenium, rhodium, iridium, gold, and silver.  

Vale Base Metals will not tolerate or profit from human rights violations or support of non-state armed groups and may end relationships with any upstream supplier linked to such activities. The company is committed to managing the risks outlined in the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas (OECD Guidance), including financing of conflict, human rights abuses, bribery, and fraudulent misrepresentation of the origin of minerals, money laundering, and public or private security forces.  

To ensure compliance with Vale's supplier expectations, additional Due Diligence requirements include: 

  • Conducting third party due diligence on all third parties before entering any business relationship; 

  • Performing annual due diligence on mineral and basic metals suppliers and conducting annual risk assessments in alignment with OECD guidelines; 

  • Third-party audits to assess risk management within the supply chains; 

  • Continued support for the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) through its membership in the International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM); 

  • Publicly reporting on base metals due diligence activities; 

  • Training of employees and contractors involved in procurement and handling of these materials in our processes to manage risks; 

  • Ensuring that the public and contractors are aware of and understand how to access Vale’s reporting mechanism for raising concerns or complaints. 

For further details, see ourResponsible Sourcing Policy Statement for Base Metals Minerals and Metals



As part of our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in alignment with the Paris Agreement, Vale has set a target to reduce its indirect emissions (Scope 3) by 33% — indirect emissions include both upstream emissions from suppliers and downstream emissions from customers. In support of this target, we actively engage our suppliers in managing their emissions and reducing environmental impacts for us to collectively achieve this objective.  

Since 2011, Vale has worked to raise supplier awareness about climate change and engage them in improving their emission management. In addition to being a contractual requirement, suppliers are required to complete an annual GHG questionnaire. Emissions-critical suppliers are also invited to participate in the CDP Supply Chain Program, which assesses aspects including health and safety, the environment, human rights, and integrity. Within the CDP platform, management data, governance practices, and key performance indicators are analyzed to identify risks and opportunities for emissions reduction. 

In 2022, over 400 suppliers responded to the questionnaire on the CDP platform. Around 90% of suppliers have responded on a recurring basis, allowing us to assess their progress and coordinate actions to advance a low-carbon economy.  
To learn more about Vale’s emissions reduction initiatives and targets, visit our Climate Change page.