We support competition and do not engage in anti-competitive behaviour. We are committed to full compliance with competition laws; active engagement and cooperation with competition authorities; and the enforcement of competition laws against third parties who act in an anti-competitive manner towards BHP.
Most countries where we operate have developed competition laws, also known as antitrust or anti-monopoly laws. These laws are designed to stop a range of practices that restrain trade or restrict free and fair competition, such as price fixing, market sharing, bid rigging or abuses of a dominant position.
Breach of competition laws can result in serious consequences for the Company and our employees, including fines and imprisonment. We regard any breach of competition laws as a serious breach of Our Code which may lead to disciplinary action.
Our expectations of youIn all dealings with BHP’s competitors (including competing joint venture partners), customers, suppliers, you must conduct yourself in a manner that does not breach, or appear to breach, competition laws as outlined in Our Requirements for Business Conduct.
You should contact Legal or Ethics and Compliance:
- before exchanging competitively sensitive information, directly or indirectly, with a competitor;
- before joining a trade association involving competitors;
- when potentially inappropriate contact is initiated by a competitor;
- when considering new cooperation arrangements with a competitor, including joint production, joint procurement, joint marketing, and shared logistics;
- when a complaint is made about the competitive behaviour of BHP;
- when you suspect a third party is acting in an anti-competitive manner towards BHP;
- if you are contacted by a competition authority.
Where BHP is the victim of anti-competitive behaviour, it can lead to unnecessary additional costs for the Company (for example, through paying higher prices to suppliers who have engaged in bid rigging) and reduced productivity (for example, where supplies of a product used by BHP are being collectively limited by our suppliers).
If you suspect anti-competitive behaviour by an employee, contractor or third party, you must report it immediately.
Our expectations of others who work with usAnyone who works with us is expected to comply with competition laws in respect to all interactions both with and on behalf of BHP.
Where to go for help
- Ethics and Compliance
- Your line leader or 2Up leader
Tools and resources
- Maintain BHP’s independence in dealings with third parties, including in relation to pricing, marketing and selling.
- Consider the appearance and implications of interacting with a competitor, whether in a business or personal setting.
- Avoid any action which could imply illegal coordination with competitors.
- Ensure that written communications are clear and accurate.
- Obtain approval from the Chief Compliance Officer before submitting any information on behalf of the Company to a competition authority.
- Comply with joint venture ring fencing protocols.
- Consult Legal or Ethics and Compliance before accusing a third party of anti-competitive behaviour.
- Agree to fix, raise, lower or stabilise prices of goods sold or purchased, including in relation to recruitment activities, such as employee salaries and benefits.
- Agree other competitive terms such as pricing formulae, discounts, margins, rebates, commissions or credit terms.
- Limit production or agree to reduce or limit production capacity.
- Rig a bid or otherwise illegally coordinate bidding or tendering activities.
- Allocate markets, customers, suppliers or geographic territories.
- Boycott any customer or supplier.
- Obstruct a competition authority by providing false or misleading information, concealing or destroying documents or alerting any third party to the fact of a competition law investigation.
Example questions and answers
Competitor conversationsQuestion: At a social gathering, a competitor complains to me about one of our vendors. He states that his company will never use the vendor again and recommends that BHP does the same. We have had a similar negative experience, can we agree with the competitor’s recommendation?
Show AnswerThe competitor’s recommendation raises a potential collective boycott issue, and you should not agree with it. In engaging with competitors, avoid expressly or implicitly agreeing not to deal with a particular supplier or customer, regardless of whether you are having the discussion in a business, social or other context. In this scenario, the risk can be avoided by stating that BHP independently evaluates and takes decisions regarding its vendors. Alternatively, indicate that you do not wish to discuss the topic. If the competitor persists, you should walk away and report the incident to EthicsPoint, your line leader, Legal or Ethics and Compliance.
Sensitive informationQuestion: A human resources representative for a toy manufacturer contacts me and explains that her department proposes to implement a finance employee retention initiative. She requests that I send her details of the salaries and benefits BHP provides to its Finance employees for each of the current and next financial years. She intends to incorporate this information into her benchmarking for the new initiative. Can I provide the information requested?
Show AnswerNo. The toy manufacturer is a competitor of BHP for the recruitment and retention of finance talent. The exchange of competitively sensitive information with a competitor, particularly forward-looking information such as next year’s salaries and benefits, will breach competition laws in many countries. However, competition authorities recognise that benchmarking can be beneficial and have pro-competitive effects when properly managed. If you are considering conducting or contributing to a benchmarking exercise that involves competitively sensitive information, you must first speak to Legal or Ethics and Compliance.