Driving Sustainability through Community Outreach in the Salar

Driving Sustainability through Community Outreach in the Salar

Albemarle operates in some of the most beautiful, ecologically sensitive areas in the world. As such, sustainability serves as the cornerstone of our community and stakeholder engagement efforts. We acknowledge that our social license to operate is contingent on the trust and reputation that comes with engagement. 

Albemarle employee and Mirta Solis Cenzano, President of the Atacameña Indigenous Community of Catarpe

A good example of our community relations outreach efforts are our operations in Chile — specifically in the Salar de Atacama (Salar). Albemarle has successfully operated in this environmentally sensitive area for 40 years. Our company strategy is to grow by investing in our lithium business with Chile as a key supplier of our product offering. That makes employing sustainable, environmentally sensitive processes mandatory and maintaining a strong relationship with Chile critical. One of the ways we do this is through our voluntary agreements with local indigenous groups including with the Council of Atacameños Peoples (CPA), which represents 18 indigenous communities that live around the Salar. These agreements are based on UN Declaration of Human Rights principles and principles encompassed in the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (ILO Convention 169), which recognize Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination. Under the CPA agreement, which is in effect through 2043, we contribute 3.5% of our Chilean revenue to the CPA. Resources provided by Albemarle under the framework of the agreement support community development. 

"I am very satisfied with what the company, Albemarle, has done in terms of approaching the communities, in beginning these conversations and in achieving these agreements, because I believe that, as a result, life has indeed been changing for us," said Mirta Solis Cenzano, President of the Atacameña Indigenous Community of Catarpe. "The quality of life of the communities has increased, by making it possible to carry out these types of projects, by making it possible to have social programs, by making it possible to contribute to agriculture. It has been very, very important." Watch the video below to learn more. 

As a leader in the lithium market, we strive to lead the way when it comes to community outreach and engagement. Knowledge-sharing and ongoing engagement with key stakeholders enabled us to establish long-term agreements founded in transparent dialogue. These agreements among Albemarle and the communities in Chile are initiated and executed voluntarily by Albemarle and are not required by the Chilean government. We do it because it is the right thing to do. To learn more about our approach to community engagement and sustainability, access our 2019 Sustainability Report and our Global Community Relations and Indigenous Peoples Policy.