Glencore : Answering criticism openly

'Ask Glencore' is an example of a trend for companies to be more open about controversies on digital channels.

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The feature

The Anglo-Swiss mining and trading company has an 'Ask Glencore' section, linked prominently from the utility menu at the top of its global corporate website.

'Ask Glencore' is a set of FAQs organized by countries of operation - Democratic Republic of the Congo, Colombia, etc - and by issue, such as 'payments to governments' and 'labour conditions allegations'.  

Each page within the section has a series of direct questions and answers in click-to-expand menus. See for example, the questions in 'Peru' - 'How do you manage water at Antapaccay?', 'Have independent water studies been done?', and 'How do you engage with unions?'

There is a prominent search box on the section landing page, with the heading, 'What are you looking for?' but this was not working when we tested it today (it was working when we checked the site six months ago). 

The page invites visitors to get in touch through social media or the main site contact page, if they do not find an answer to their questions.

The takeaway

Addressing company controversies visibly, comprehensively and directly on digital channels is something we have rewarded for many years in the Index of Online Excellence. We have noted in our 2020 Index, published on September 30th, that more companies are taking an open approach to difficult issues. This being driven by increasing demands for transparency from influential stakeholders such as investors, employees and community activists. 

'Ask Glencore' is best practice for a number of reasons - it is constantly in view in the utility menu (these kinds of features are sometimes tucked away several levels down in the media section), questions are welcoming and direct, and the answers are informative. Some of the pages have embedded video, which adds interest and credibility; see for example 'Engagement with Swiss residents in Colombia' in the 'Switzerland' sub-section.
First published 14 October, 2020
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