Hydro and Amnesty International Norway sign cooperation agreement

March 19, 2002, 09:00 CET

Hydro's president and CEO Eivind Reiten signed a cooperation agreement with Amnesty International on Tuesday 19 March. The framework of the agreement is NOK 1 million, with a time frame of one year. Both parties, however, consider this to be the start of what could become a long and close collaboration.

Hydro's purpose in signing this agreement is to increase the company's knowledge of human rights. Amnesty will contribute its expertise in the form of internal courses on human rights in general for Hydro employees, to begin with at management level. Training programs focusing on specific countries and problem areas will also be developed.

An essential factor in the cooperation agreement is that both parties operate independently, with a shared goal of increasing awareness of human rights. Amnesty will therefore take part in dialogues and debates in connection with present and future human rights challenges for Hydro. With operations in over 70 countries where perceptions of and approaches to handling of human rights vary, Hydro wished to be prepared in the best possible way.

"We in Hydro want to support the countries we operate in not only through the results from our business operations, but also in other ways. We have decided to invest in three social areas - education, human rights and health. These are essential factors in social development with the aim of improving living standards for the majority of people. We invest through cooperation agreements with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that operate within these areas," says Rolf Lunheim, who is head of Hydro's Corporate Social Responsibility unit.

"One example is the HIV/AIDS information campaign that Hydro's wholly-owned subsidiary in South Africa has started. A sharper focus on human rights is also in line with our involvement in the UN Global Compact. Here employee rights are mentioned in particular, which will also be reflected in Hydro's revised human resources regulations. Our corporate directive on corporate social responsibility expresses general support of universal human rights," says Lunheim.

In the world of finance also there is increasing focus on social values. This is reflected through a number of stock exchange indexes of companies that can document high standards within ethics, environment and human rights. Hydro is registered on two such indexes: Dow Jones Sustainability Index and FTSE4Good.

Amnesty International is world-wide human rights organization with over one million members in 140 countries. The organization is independent of any government, business organization, political conviction or religious faith. At the heart of Amnesty's work is the belief that all people are entitled to life, freedom and personal safety; no one shall be exposed to torture or other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment; everyone is entitled to freedom of thought, opinion, religion and expression. No one shall be subject to discrimination on the grounds of their belief, color, gender, ethnic origin, language, sexual orientation or religion.

Hydro's press release (PDF 41 KB) 
Amnesty International