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Interacting with governments

BHP maintains ethical relationships with governments and their agencies, officials and personnel. Our ability to conduct business is directly affected by government decision-making and it is important we have open and constructive relationships with government.

BHP's Code of Conduct is based on Our Charter values. The Code represents our commitment to uphold ethical business practices and meet or exceed applicable legal requirements. We believe that exercising consistent and proper business conduct creates loyalty and trust with our stakeholders.

The Code outlines our approach to corporate participation in political activities. It prohibits attending a political fundraising event or activity on behalf of BHP or during work hours. We maintain a position of impartiality with respect to party politics and do not make political contributions or expenditure/donations for political purposes to any political party, politician, elected official or candidate for public office in any country.

In keeping with local and international anti-corruption laws, we prohibit authorising, offering, giving or promising anything of value directly or indirectly (via a third party) to a government official to influence official action, or to anyone to encourage them to perform their work disloyally or otherwise improperly. We also prohibit facilitation payments, which are payments to government officials for routine government actions. We require third parties acting on our behalf to operate to BHP standards and not violate anti-corruption laws.

In furtherance of the Code, BHP has multiple governing documents known as Our Requirements standards that outline the mandatory minimum standards we expect of those who work for or on behalf of BHP in relation to all key aspects of company operations. Compliance with the Our Requirements standards is subject to rolling internal audit processes.

In particular, our mandatory minimum performance requirements for communications and external engagement provides for consistency in BHP government relations activities. Contact with government is managed centrally to enable company-wide engagement and policy alignment. The Corporate Affairs function must be consulted before anyone engages with government or communicates externally on public policy issues that could impact our reputation, providing consistency and adherence to the Code of Conduct across our activities.

The Chief Legal, Governance and External Affairs Officer is ultimately responsible for the delivery and alignment of our government relations activities as set out in our mandatory minimum performance requirements for communications and external engagement.

In addition to the role performed by Corporate Affairs, giving or offering anything of value to a government official, a person who represents others, or a close relative of a government official or leader above certain thresholds requires pre-approval which is coordinated by our Ethics and Compliance function led by the Chief Compliance Officer.

Through public submissions, opinion pieces and comments in the media, we continually raise issues that are important to us and promote policy reforms that we believe will best serve the interests of our business, shareholders, employees and the communities where we operate. We have made public submissions and comments on a range of topics including tax, industrial relations, human rights, energy policy and trade. BHP’s public policy submissions are generally made public on the company’s website or on the website of the relevant government agency unless the submission contains commercial-in-confidence information.

 Climate policy engagement 

One area in particular that we believe it is important for BHP to engage with policy-makers on is climate change. 

Achieving the Paris Agreement goals will require supportive policy across jurisdictions globally. The following principles underpin our views on how governments should take action on climate change: 
  • Climate change is a global challenge, and international collaboration is required to maximise emissions reductions and minimise impacts to competitiveness. 
  • National governments should set long-term climate change targets consistent with the Paris Agreement and intermediate targets aligned with this goal. Such certainty is essential to support business decision making. 
  • Policymaking should accommodate changes in scientific understanding over time, take into account full life-cycle impacts and promote the most efficient system-wide decarbonisation outcomes.
  • Least-cost abatement should be the primary focus of climate mitigation policies. This is most likely to be realised through market mechanisms (including carbon pricing) and outcomes-based regulatory approaches.
  • Governments should play an active role in supporting the development and deployment of low emissions technologies. 
  • Governments should undertake regular adaptation planning and introduce policies to strengthen the adaptive capacity of businesses and communities. 
The policy-making process is complex and change is unlikely to be smooth or linear. We believe we can best support policy development by ensuring we meet our own climate commitments, continuing to make the case for the economic opportunities arising from the energy transition, and focusing on those policy areas where we are likely to have the greatest ability to influence change.

The table below lists our engagement in government public processes related to climate and energy policy in CY2021.
Year  Government Nature of engagement
2021   Australian Government   The Australian Government is seeking to establish a new reporting mechanism that would allow companies to disclose their emissions reduction commitments and progress in meeting these commitments. BHP’ submission to the consultation paper on the proposed Corporate Emissions Reduction Transparency Report can be found here
2021 Australian Government  In July 2021, the Australian Government called for public feedback to help identify opportunities for new methods under the Emissions Reduction Fund. BHP engaged with the regulator to highlight the potential of mineral carbonation. 
2021 Chilean Government  BHP participated in workshops organised by the Chilean Government that led to the establishment of the National Mining Policy. This sets out goals and initiatives regarding mining sustainability, including with respect to climate action.
2021 US Government  BHP signed a statement organised by the Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions that called on the US Congress to ‘prioritize investments that can accelerate the transition to a resilient net-zero economy in any infrastructure legislation’.