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Organization Name

Lafarge

Case Story Title

Tackling HIV/AIDS in Africa

Case Story Date

2004/03/02

Issues Addressed

  • Principle 1 - Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights
  • Principle 6 - Eliminate discrimination in respect of employment and occupation
  • HIV/AIDS

Case Story Category

Partnership Project

Countries of Impact

Cameroon, South Africa, Tanzania, United Republic of, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Case Description

HIV/AIDS: causes of concern for the company

Lafarge is new to Africa. Today, the company is present in countries with high HIV rates. For example, Lafarge operates in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Zambia where respectively 33.7%, 20.1% and 19% of the adult population are HIV positive.

In 2002, Lafarge joined the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS. This choice was taken to contribute to the fight against the pandemic. Lafarge considers HIV/AIDS as a business issue and recognises the economic impact of the disease on its market, its productivity and particularly on its human resources.

The Lafarge approach

In 2002, Lafarge set up a pilot project in its Africa Region.

In 2003, Lafarge published its Group HIV/AIDS Guidelines, which emphasize non discrimination and confidentiality. These guidelines echo the Group Public Health Guidelines where the company affirms that “public health is primarily the responsibility of government”, but also that Lafarge will act in case of urgent need especially if “the contribution of the company is a component and a support of sustainable local initiatives coming from the community”. These guidelines were discussed with external partners: unions (the International Federation of Building and the Wood Workers and World Federation of Building and Woodworkers Unions), NGO (Care), companies (Private Investors for Africa members), international organisations (Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS).

Lafarge Africa Region has also created a Road Map based on the local best practices. The experience of other member companies of the PIA (Private Investors for Africa) was also taken into account. Lafarge Africa Health Committee includes company local managers, a NGO representative (Care), a medical advisor and a corporate representative.

Lafarge is now working on extending its workplace program to the local communities in the framework of Public Private Partnerships with the:

• GBC and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in Cameroon
• GTZ (German Technical Cooperation), in Tanzania
• USAID (United States Agency for International Development), in Uganda
• DFID (the United Kingdom Department for International Development), in Zambia (ZHABS project)Results and lessons learned

About 80% of our 7,000 employees in Sub-Saharan Africa have access to regular information and prevention programs including free condom distribution and peer educator training. 30% of our employees took part in an anonymous and voluntary testing campaign and about the half of them know their status. Finally, about 15% of our employees can have access to free antiretroviral drugs. There's still a lot to do and Lafarge is making its best efforts to extend access to these three parts of a comprehensive program: prevention, VCT (voluntary counselling & testing), treatment.

The keys to the success were a multipartnership approach. The local Lafarge subsidiaries have built strong links with most of the company stakeholders: the unions, the NGOs, the CBOs (community based organisations), the public authorities, the medical sector and the private sector. Also, by working with the international/bilateral organisations and the local public authorities it is possible to identify and implement new solutions to fight the pandemic. Lafarge believes that the Public Private Partnerships are a unique opportunity to achieve this goal.

Finally, Lafarge has taken the lead in the business community, especially in France. In 2004, Bertrand Collomb, the company Chairman, became the Vice-Chairman of the GBC. This commitment makes every single Lafarge employee concerned by HIV/AIDS, not only in Sub-Saharan Africa but all over the world.

Useful links

• Lafarge Sustainability Report 2002 our focus on HIV/AIDS p.51-53: http://www.lafarge.com

• The GBC website is a unique information source on the experience of more than 140 global companies committed in the fight against HIV/AIDS: http://www.businessfightsaids.org

• Lafarge HIV/AIDS case study on the Global Health Initiative website (an initiative of the World Economic Forum):
http://www.weforum.org/site/homepublic.nsf/Content/Global+Health+Initiative

• NGO partner, Care France: http://www.carefrance.org

• MSO, medical adviser for the Africa region:
http://www.mso-uk.com

Authors

Unknown authors

Contact Person

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