Competition laws promote fair competition and prevent a range of practices that restrain trade or restrict free and fair competition, including price fixing, market sharing, bid rigging or abuses of a dominant position. A breach of competition laws may result in serious consequences for you and BHP, including fines and imprisonment.
What this means for you
To ensure you do not breach or appear to breach competition laws, contact Compliance or Legal:
- before exchanging competitively sensitive information, directly or indirectly, with a competitor or potential competitor
- before joining an organisation involving competitors or potential competitors
- when potentially inappropriate contact is initiated by a competitor or potential competitors
- when considering new cooperation arrangements with a competitor or potential 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.
If you suspect an employee, contractor or third-party may be engaging in anti-competitive behaviour report it immediately.
• 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 or potential competitor, whether in a business or personal setting.
• Avoid any action which could imply illegal coordination with competitors or potential competitors.
• Ensure written communications are clear and accurate.
• Obtain approval pursuant to the Our Requirements Business Conduct standard before submitting any information on behalf of BHP to a competition authority.
• Comply with joint venture ring fencing protocols.
• Consult with Compliance or Legal before accusing a third party of anti-competitive behaviour.
• Agree with a competitor 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 with a competitor such as pricing formulae, discounts, margins, rebates, commissions or credit terms.
• Limit production or agree with a competitor to reduce or limit production capacity.
• Rig a bid or otherwise illegally coordinate bidding or tendering activities.
• Allocate markets, customers, suppliers or geographic territories with a competitor.
• Agree with a competitor to boycott any customer or supplier.
• Obstruct a competition authority by providing false or misleading information, preventing a legitimate onsite investigation, concealing or destroying documents or alerting any third party to the fact of a competition law investigation.
Q: At a social gathering, a competitor complains to me about one of our vendors. He says his company will never use the vendor again and recommends we do the same. We have had a similar negative experience, so can we agree with the competitor’s recommendation?
A: The 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, our Compliance team or Legal.
Q: BHP has agreed to participate in a study focused on sustainability in the mining and resources industry. The study is being led by a research institute, with other producers and customers also participating. As part of the study, BHP is requested to provide some production forecast data and current salary details for a proposed secondee to the project. Can I provide the information requested?
A: No. Speak to Compliance or Legal before responding. The study involves third parties who compete with BHP on the production of commodities and also for the recruitment and retention of talent. The exchange of competitively sensitive information with a competitor, particularly forward-looking information such as production forecasts or current information on salaries and benefits, will breach competition laws in many countries. However, competition authorities recognise that the exchange of information can be beneficial and have pro-competitive effects when properly managed.
If you are considering conducting or contributing to a study that involves competitively sensitive information, you must first speak to Compliance or Legal.
View more hypothetical scenarios
How to speak up
If you have questions about Our Code, speak to your line leader, 2Up leader, Ethics and Investigations, Compliance, Legal, Employee Relations advisor, HR Business Partner or contact EthicsPoint. Anyone who works with us, on our behalf, or is associated with us, can also access EthicsPoint.
Online: EthicsPoint online
Phone: EthicsPoint Telephone