17th July, 2015 – Business School Lausanne students from the MBA, Masters and Bachelor programs visited Vale, the Brazilian mining company in St. Prex, this afternoon. A warm greeting from Adriana Verdier, External Affairs Manager, and Nadine Blaser, Communications Manager, got us off to a good start.
Our students are diverse and multicultural and the initial introductions showed that the BSL team, including staff and faculty, come from 9 different countries, Italy, Canada, Austria, Zimbabwe, Sweden, Armenia, Switzerland, Ireland and the UK.
Vale – its mission and work
Initial introductions over, we then heard about Vale. Nadine and Adriana told us, first of all, about Vale’s mission “to transform natural resources into prosperity and sustainable development.” Good news as Vale is one of the biggest mining companies in the world and they operate on 5 continents. Vale mines iron ore, nickel, coal, copper, and fertilizers, to name but some of their products. We heard about the complexity of the mining industry, the need to do business correctly, the importance of working with communities, and the need to ensure buy in for projects which should bring value and create shared value for everyone. Adriana Verdier spoke about Vale’s social and environmental initiatives and how a company like Vale can help in the economic development of the countries where it operates.
Vale in Switzerland
Vale’s office in Switzerland was established in March, 2006, and it centralizes Vale’s commercial and strategic operations, mainly covering iron ore, nickel, copper and coal sales and marketing activities in Europe and North America.
Vale’s building is an interesting one we heard that it was awarded the Swiss ecological certificate ‘Minergie’, an official seal of quality assigned to new and renovated buildings with low energy consumption. The underground geothermal well allows for the refrigeration as well as the heating of the building by means of a thermal pump, and there are photo-voltaic solar and thermal panels producing part of the energy necessary.
Finally, Adriana Verdier and Nadine Blaser explained the importance of Vale’s involvement in Switzerland and globally. Vale partners with international associations and organizations like the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the UN Global Compact and with more national and local organizations such as Economiesuisse, and the CVCI. Their partnership with Trako, a nonprofit association for the development of judo classes in Swiss public schools, is extremely important for this company.
Many thanks for an interesting visit!
Mary Mayenfisch-Tobin, BCL, LL.M, Solicitor