Vale : Whistleblowing made easy

The Brazilian mining giant has an exceptional ‘make an allegation’ section

click to view

The feature

Ethics and Conduct Office is a main section in About Vale on the group’s global site (and also its Portuguese language Brazil site), and has a permanent link at the top of every page. ‘Make an allegation’ is one of three sections within it.

This has three tabbed pages: ‘Before making an allegation’, ‘How to make and who can make an allegation’, and ‘How is an allegation investigated?’ Each uses bullet points to lay out the steps needed. ‘How to make …’ links to further pages, including one with a form that includes ‘concern type’ (from sexual harassment to theft), as well as a field where the incident can be described. This and other pages are on a separate secure site,, that is run by a specialist third party. This site also has a ‘Follow up on a reported allegation’ page, where the complainant puts in a code to see what is happening.

The takeaway

Vale is clearly keen to distance itself from the corruption allegations that have swept Brazil. The high profile given to the Ethics and Conduct office link is unmatched on any corporate site we know. But the real strength lies in the careful way the allegation pages are laid out - good use of tabs and icons, simple language (with equal prominence to English and Portuguese), and clear instructions on what to do if you want to make a complaint.

Linking to a third party specialist makes sense. It should give potential whistleblowers comfort that their complaints will not be lost in internal bureaucracy, or that it will rebound on them. Usually we suggest that companies should keep everything on one site - this is a logical exception.
First published 31 October, 2018
< Back to Tips