It has appointed Maria Luiza de Oliveira Pinto e Paiva as sustainability executive officer to head the division.
Pinto e Paiva is set to start on March 15, having held the same role from 2019 until this month at Brazilian pulp and paper company Suzano.
"With the growth of the ESG agenda and to continue delivering the results of the commitments made in its new pact with society, the board of directors has decided to establish an executive office exclusively for the sustainability theme," Vale said.
It said the sustainability area had undergone a profound restructuring over the past four years under Luiz Eduardo Osorio's leadership.
He would now focus on his role as executive director of institutional relations and communication, Vale said.
Major miners are showing an increasing commitment to ESG initiatives, with Rio Tinto recently undergoing a leadership overhaul following its destruction of culturally significant Juukan Gorge caves last year, Newmont establishing a Global Centre for Indigenous Community Relations and Albemarle boss Kent Masters signing the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion pledge last week.
Vale is due to release its 2020 financial results on February 25.
Its shares (BZ: VALE3) are near a five-year high reached in January, closing on Friday at BRL97.77 to capitalise it about BRL501 billion (US$93 billion).