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Respect for human rights is critical to the sustainability of our business. We take our human rights obligations seriously and demonstrate this by committing to operate in a manner consistent with the United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the 10 UN Global Compact principles. 

Our commitment to operating to the highest standards of business integrity in relation to human rights and our strategy of focusing on the development of large, long-life operations bestows on us both an opportunity to make a positive contribution to the realisation of a wide range of human rights and a responsibility to respect human rights and mitigate human rights related risks.

Our approach

Within our operations, we contribute to the realisation of human rights through our rigorous approach to workplace health, safety and labour conditions, ensuring security activities are consistent with the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, while also respecting the land tenure rights of landowners and the rights of communities that live near our operations. Read more.

Human rights governance and management

Governance oversight of BHP’s human rights performance is the responsibility of the Board’s Sustainability Committee as part of its mandate for monitoring health, safety, environment and community performance. Each of our operations assigns accountability for compliance with our mandatory human rights performance requirements to appropriate senior managers and leaders. Read more.

Human rights in our supply chain

The human rights commitments in our Code of Business Conduct apply to our contractors and suppliers (where under relevant contractual obligation). Our Requirements for Supply standard (PDF 108 kb) sets minimum mandatory health, safety, environment, community and business conduct requirements for all BHP suppliers. These include zero tolerance requirements in relation to the following:

  • Child labour
    • Children must not be hired to work before completing their compulsory education (as determined by applicable local laws). Notwithstanding local requirements, the minimum age for entry into employment must not be younger than 15 years of age.
  • Forced or compulsory labour
    • The supplier must affirm there is no forced, bonded or involuntary labour.
  • Freedom of association
    • The supplier must:
      • adopt an open attitude towards the legitimate activities of trade unions;
      • allow their workers’ representatives to carry out their legitimate representative functions in the workplace and not be discriminated against.
  • Living wage
    • Wages and benefits paid for a standard working week must satisfy, at a minimum, national legal standards or local industry benchmarks, whichever is higher. In nation states where no minimum wage legislation exists, the supplier must seek to establish a living wage that provides an adequate standard of living for all its employees and their dependants.
  • Non-discrimination and diversity
    • The supplier must:
      • provide a work environment in which everyone is treated fairly and cultural, ethnic, religious or other
      • diversity factors such as gender are respected;
      • offer employment on the basis of merit;
      • not base decisions regarding employment on attributes unrelated to job performance (including but not limited to, race, colour, gender, religion, personal associations, national origin, age, disability, political beliefs, marital status, sexual orientation and family responsibilities).
    • Decisions relating to suppliers, customers, contractors and other stakeholders must also be based on merit.
  • Workplace health and safety
    • The supplier must provide:
      • safe and healthy working facilities and appropriate precautionary measures to protect employees from work-related hazards and anticipated dangers in the workplace;
      • workers with regular and recorded health and safety training;
      • clean and safe accommodation that meets the basic needs of the workers (where provision is applicable).
    • The supplier must:
      • follow all relevant legislation, regulations and directives in the countries in which the contract activities are undertaken to provide a safe and healthy workplace;
      • implement systems for the prevention of occupational injury and illness, including standards for fire safety; emergency preparedness and response plans; occupational or industrial hygiene standards;
      • appropriate lighting and ventilation; machinery safeguarding; reporting and investigation of occupational injuries and illness; reasonable access to potable water;
      • assign responsibility for health and safety to a management representative.
  • Community interaction
    • The supplier, and in turn its employees, must treat members of the community with dignity and respect. They must not impact on the health, safety or wellbeing of members of the community by engaging in activities such as threatening behaviour, violence, sexual exploitation or abuse, or verbal or psychological harassment or abuse.
  • Treatment of employees
    • The supplier must create and maintain an environment that treats all employees with dignity and respect and must not use any threats of violence, sexual exploitation or abuse, or verbal or psychological harassment or abuse.

UK Modern Slavery Act Statement

The United Kingdom Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires companies carrying on a business in the UK which supply goods or services and have a total annual turnover of £36 million or more, to publish an annual statement describing the steps it has taken to ensure that slavery and human trafficking are not occurring in its supply chains or in any parts of its own business.

BHP’s Statement for FY2016 follows:

BHP Statement: Modern Slavery Act 2015 (UK) (PDF 90 kb)

Our performance

We publicly report in relation to our human rights annual performance and areas of focus in the Realising and respecting human rights, Operating with ethics and integrity, Actively supporting communities and Engaging with Indigenous peoples chapters of our Sustainability Report (PDF 3.5 MB).

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