Society

GRI 103-1, 103-2, 103-3, 413-1

For MRS, Social Responsibility translates into the commitment to carry out its activities in with ethics and transparency. Thus, it seeks to contribute to the sustainable development of society, to remain in compliance with applicable laws and to be consistent with international standards. MRS policies, programs and actions aimed at external stakeholders (with emphasis on the communities located around the railroad) reinforce the Company’s responsibility linket to the impacts of its presence.

In line with these values, MRS continuously promotes relationship actions with communities and local government representatives, aimed promoting closer ties with stakeholders and understanding their needs. Since 2012, MRS has adopted a relationship process called “Dialogue Methodology”, which aims to integrate initiatives and tools so that the most important issues for communities are properly assessed and treated, ensuring respectful coexistence and the sustainability of the business. The methodology includes holding occasional meetings with external stakeholders (Dialogue Committees), meetings with the attendance of managers (Regional Committees) and annual approximation events (Open Space).

MRS has positive and constant relations with all interface municipalities, in addition to maintaining in its structure areas dedicated to the relationship with Legislative Assemblies, National Congress, Municipal Councils, Local Public Administration Bodies, Communities and other private players, such as concessionaires and class entities. 

In 2020, the activities, which are part of the routine of General Institutional Relations Office, were deeply impacted by the restriction of travel and the need for social isolation imposed by the pandemic. Even so, 118 meetings classified as Dialogue Committees were held, in all the regions covered, including actions to face the social impacts of Covid-19. The relationship with the main community leaders and representatives of the governments remained strong, through contacts by phone, e-mail, messaging application and the official channels (0800 and Contact Us). However, the holding of events called “Open Space” was interrupted, due to the impossibility of complying with the determinations of social distance, recommended by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health.

It should be noted that MRS maintains a constant process of mapping, identifying and mitigating the impacts of its business on the communities, considering, above all, the records of complaints and demands formalized through its channels. The Company uses an indicator that considers the levels of service and resolution for monitoring results, which reached the level of 92% of completion of complaints and demands recorded in 2020. [1]


[1] The “Completion Index for Recorded Requests for Community Service Demands” indicator considers requests recorded in 2019 that were not completed in the same year (status in progress/not started) and calls recorded between 01/01/2020 and 09/30/2020. The process is carried out according to a specific management procedure and the completion of the demands follows the requirements established in a specific manual.


Close relationship with the public

GRI 413-2

MRS is committed to responding to 100% of recorded demands or complaints, conducting the analysis and treatment in four stages:

Relationship Channels
Complaints, suggestions or requests are received and recorded through direct contact by dialing 0800-9793-636, through “Contact Us” area on MRS website or through formal documents, such as letters from Government Agencies and Lawmakers (City Council).

Analysis
Complaints and demands are analyzed regionally and directed to the responsible areas within MRS.

Action
The responsible technical area is prompted for determining the best way to meet the needs or to propose mitigation measures. When necessary, occasional meetings are held with the claimants to understand the issues and propose shared solutions (Dialogue Committees).

Answer
MRS responds to all inquiries, by phone, e-mail or formal letter to applicants.

Considering the main themes addressed by the representatives of the communities and governments, as concerning the interface next to the railway, the issues related to the maintenance of the right of way area are the most recurrent, with emphasis on plant control, the removal of waste improperly discarded by the communities, the cleaning of drainage ditches, the recovery of fence walls, and the revitalization of level crossings for pedestrian and vehicle drivers. Issues related to noise, interruption of access, investments and other specific events related to the railway operation and its maintenance processes are also addressed, with the utmost attention, by means of Dialogue Committees and Regional Committees. 

Sensitive situations involving expropriation and displacement of populations are not routine and occur, occasionally, when there are risks to the communities or to the railway operation (rains, landslides, unauthorized interventions), invasion of areas of the railway or the right of way area, or execution of great works of public interest. Such cases are handled by a multidisciplinary group and, in 2021, a detailed procedure will be published for the best handling of these events. As an example of these negotiations, in 2020, MRS promoted a partnership with Ibirité (MG) local government for the displacement of families established in the right of way area of the railroad. The intervention was necessary due to risks to the safety of people after the occurrence of atypical rains. For the monitoring and identification of potential sensitive situations, MRS maintains a rain plan and a drought plan, with risk monitoring procedures to follow seasonalities.  GRI 201-2

MRS presence on social media is also important in the relationship with the community. Throughout 2020, external communication actions had an important impact. Adding publications in all social networks, the following reach was recorded by theme:

Safety:
1,399,540 views

Community:
412,485 views

Sustainability:
126,502 views

As a strategy of approaching and relating to communities and governments, MRS promotes numerous actions with a social focus involving municipal governments, donations to social institutions and residents’ associations, as well as sponsorship of social and cultural and sports projects. Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, 58 initiatives were carried out in 31 cities in the states of Minas Gerais, Rio Janeiro and São Paulo, which enabled the creation of new leisure areas, community squares and gardens, application of grass, installation of lighting points on public roads, revitalization of fencing walls, refurbishment of sports courts, in addition to several other initiatives to increase the levels of safety and the quality of the shared environment. 57 dumps were also installed at points located close to the railroad aiming, above all, to contribute to improve the behavior of the communities as to the destination of residues, preventing the improper disposal in the right of way area.

Social, cultural and sports projects maintained by MRS are encouraged by federal laws and are carried out in communities adjacent to the railways, in compliance with the Company’s guidelines and applicable legal requirements. In 2020, the total transfer of funds reached R$ 7.8 million, covering 22 projects and 18 Municipal Councils for the Rights of the Elderly and Children and Adolescents. As a result of the apprecation policy of the Historic Railway Heritage, the conclusion of the Campo Grande Station Restoration (Santo André – SP) and the beginning of the restoration works of the Barra do Piraí Railway Station (RJ) stand out. Through PRONON and PRONAS laws, MRS made contributions to cancer treatment and assistance to people with disabilities for two projects.

Project proponents, community representatives or government agencies can register their projects and initiatives for analysis in the Sustainability tab in MRS website.

The Company mantains an Environmental Education Program  (EEP) including various activities focused on raising awareness among communities bordering the railroad amd through actions such as lectures, door-to-door activities, distribution of printed materials and educational blitz. In 2020, the technical team responsible for the program carried out a diagnosis of the cities crossed by MRS network and analyzed the major urban conflicts between the railway operation and the community in these locations. Based on the result, awareness-raising actions were carried out with the community, respecting all the protocols required in the pandemic, without the crowding of people.

  • Pinheiral (RJ): In order to minimize the urban conflict in the city, a railway safety action was held with truck drivers in Parque Maira  under the program called “Letter to the Driver” which aims to raise awareness among adult drivers through the railway safety message designed and written by children from the city schools. In addition, MRS Magazine (accessible by QR Code and physical media, with historical, social and environmental content, developed for the city of Pinheiral) was disseminated by sound car. The magazine can be accessed in.
  • Barra do Piraí (RJ): The Safe Driving campaign consisted in dialoguing with the community about the risks when passing through a level crossing, offering warnings and safety tips to students and instructors from the four driving schools in the city.  For this purpose, educational materials were distributed in health units accredited by DETRAN and in driving schools.
  • An awareness campaign was carried out using a crashed vehicle on top of a tow truck, which covered all the points mapped as critical for railroad accidents. The vehicle had a banner on the back with a message of reflection for the drivers, motorbikers, and pedestrians of the city, accompanied by a sound car transmitting a safety message.

In 2020, actions to prevent accidents, directly carried out in the communities, in face-to-face activities, were deeply hindered by the pandemic scenario and the need to adopt measures of social distancing. The main strategy adopted by MRS was to carry out digital campaigns and newsletters, through social media and messaging applications. Actions focused in communities with the highest occurrence of accidents involved a total amount of 6,200 people, including adults, children and adolescents, covering 20 municipalities. MRS also carried out actions for the support on the fight against the social impacts caused by the pandemic. Learn more in Covid-19 impacts.

GRI 102-12, 102-13

MRS is a member of ANTF (National Association of Railway Transporters), a national non-profit entity created to defend and promote the development and improvement of rail freight transportation in the country, since its privatization process by the Federal Government in 1996.


Currently, ANTF represents the railway operators responsible for transporting cargo in 12 networks granted to the private sector, which cover 29,320 km and where billions of tons are annually transported. ANTF constantly communicates with the technical and management areas of ANTT and DNIT (National Department of Infrastructure and Transportation), actively participating in discussions and public participation processes promoted by sectorial bodies, so as to defend the interests of its members.


MRS is part of all ANTF Committees and Working Groups, and is therefore involved in all matters relevant to the railway sector and the company’s business. The Regulation and Institutional Relations General Management monitors all processes relevant to the company in sectorial bodies, ensuring internal analysis and treatment of all pertinent matters, with effective participation for strategic decisions for its business.

As a public rail freight transport service concessionaire, MRS has a series of obligations to the granting authority and is subject to regulation, supervision and inspection by ANTT (National Land Transport Agency). It must comply with and meet all applicable rules for an appropriate public service provision, which includes fostering for the physical integrity of the assets associated to the concession, maintaining operating and conservation conditions, as well as ensuring the operational safety of its railway assets.

MRS maintains constant dialogue with ANTT, its technical and management staff, based on transparency, respect and technical approaches. The Agency supervises and/or regulates activities and services provided for passenger and cargo safety, as well as implements the policies established by the Ministry of Infrastructure, preserving the right of all parties so that there is no conflict of interests, imperfect competition or economic infraction in the transport sector.

ANTT conducts all affairs pertaining the regulated entities and may request different information from concessionaires, as well as institute administrative proceedings for technical analysis of claims submitted.  The Agency is also responsible for supervising the provision of rail freight transport services, the assets and operating conditions of each concessionaire, through field and remote inspections, according to the annual inspection schedule disclosed to concessionaires. Similarly, it establishes the rules and guidelines applicable to railroads in the exercise of its normative and regulatory power.

The targets set under the Concession Agreement signed by MRS with the granting authority are related to accidents and production (learn more in Health and Safety Management section).

Every five-year period, contractual target indicators are agreed upon, and values are annually approved or adjusted for the following year.  The accident target has an indicator based on the number of events per million trains multiplied by kilometers traveled, while the production target is defined by railway stretches, calculated by railway corridor, after normative amendments by ANTT, and defined based on the TKU indicator (Useful Ton x Kilometer).

Service monitoring by ANTT is carried out by SAFF (Rail Transport Monitoring and Inspection System), which receives basic information from all concessionaires for management and control by ANTT of performance of their grants. This system serves as a source of information for ANTT annual and management reports, published on its website.

MRS reports information on a monthly basis, such as transportation flows, production per section, number of accidents, fuel consumption and other data related to the activities conducted by the concessionaire, using several modules that are part of SAFF.

DNIT (National Department of Transport Infrastructure) is responsible for the maintenance, expansion, construction, inspection and development of technical studies to solve problems related to road, rail and waterway modes.  MRS relationship with the body is guided by transparency, respect and technical approaches; the company maintains constant contact with DNIT, its technical and executive staff.

After the railway network privatization process, with the subsequent extinction of RFFSA (Rede Ferroviária Federal S.A.), in 2008, by means of Law 11.483/2007, the ownership of leased railway assets was transferred to DNIT.  Therefore, DNIT is responsible for managing railway assets, formed by operating and non-operating assets. MRS is responsible for ensuring the appropriate condition of the leased public assets, which includes eventual requests for the untying of assets from its Lease Agreement, following the rules and routines of the Technical Cooperation Agreement, signed between ANTT and DNIT.

DNIT also performs works on the railway network under its responsibility, especially in order to eliminate conflicts between railways and urban roads.  For cases including works on the network managed by MRS and which require assessment of technical and operational safety standards, the concessionaire provides the necessary support for project implementation and may even support demands from the city receiving the investment.

Among the responsibilities of the Ministry of Infrastructure are preparing, coordinating and supervising the national rail transport policy, acting as the public policymaker for joint operation of stakeholders seeking development of the country’s infrastructure.  MRS relationship with the Ministry is guided by transparency, respect and technical approaches; the company maintains constant dialogue its technical and executive staff.

Specifically in relation to investments in rail transport, the PPI (Investment Partnership Program) has already qualified eight projects, including the early extension of the MRS concession. Thus, in March 2015, the Company started the process of early extension of its Concession Agreement, and has maintained a constant relationship with the technical areas of the Ministry of Infrastructure to understand the Government’s strategy regarding the definition of investments resulting from the public policy.

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Complements of GRI indicators