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International Example – Rio Tinto’s successes and future goals

Rio Tinto, a global business for mineral and metal production, is an example of international companies striving for higher levels of diversity and equality in the work place.

Rio Tinto has established diversity as one of the company’s core values. They assert, simply put, that diversity improves business outcomes. Employing over 77,000 employees in over 40 countries, Rio Tinto has strived to create an environment that is not only welcoming, but celebrates differences.

For Rio Tinto, diversity and inclusion involve a number of principles. First and foremost, diversity must be embraced and factors such as age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation are irrelevant. Secondly, inclusion leads to a wide variety of skills, experiences, thoughts and working styles that directly benefits the company. Furthermore, Rio Tinto strives to create a flexible organization that can accommodate the various needs of its employees.

These goals are not only extremely important to the company’s success, but they require specific plans and programs in order to implement. Rio Tinto has addressed this by establishing “five lever to drive action” within the company. These levers include: governance models, policies, practices and targets, leadership and cultural competence, stakeholder relationships, and education and communication. 

In addition to establishing higher levels of inclusion in terms of race and ethnicity, Rio Tinto has made large strides in increasing gender diversity. The company states that one of its most important goals for 2011 was to “improve the representation of women in senior management roles and the pipeline of female talent.” Specifically, the company seeks to reach a level where women make up 20% of the workforce. This number would create an 8% increase from a 12% female workforce in 2009.

Rio Tinto essentially represents a global company that is actively making changes towards higher levels of inclusion and diversity. They assert that “By bringing together men and women from diverse backgrounds and giving each person the opportunity to contribute their skills, experience and perspectives, we believe that we are best able to develop innovative solutions to challenges and deliver sustainable value for Rio Tinto and its stakeholders.“

Both national and international organizations can look to Rio Tinto as an example of proactive behaviors and programs that strive to strengthen diversity in the workplace.

Source: "Diversity ." 2010 Annual Report . Rio Tinto. 12 Feb. 2012 <>.

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