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At BHP, our purpose is to bring people and resources together to build a better world.

To fulfil this purpose, we look to integrate social value into our decision-making and actions by considering the needs of our many stakeholders and by finding solutions that create mutual benefit.

Social value is the positive contribution we make to the environment and society – our workforce, partners, customers, economies and communities. We have successfully contributed to social value when those around us feel they are better off from our presence.

The longevity of BHP’s assets means we must think and plan in decades. When we invest in a region, we become an intrinsic part of the local community for the long term and that is why social value is an important part of the way we do business.


From social licence to social value

At BHP, we have evolved our approach from ‘social licence’ to ‘social value’; or from ‘tolerance and acceptance’ to ‘trust and partnership’. We understand we are a part of a society that expects more of us and recognise that our success depends on our ability to earn the trust and confidence of all our stakeholders.

We know this means improving the way we do business at all levels, from local to global. When we make business decisions, both financial value and social value considerations need to come into play: each depends on the other for the decision to be effective. We recognise that balancing financial value and social value sometimes calls for trade-offs. It is ultimately a matter of judgment as to how to draw the right balance.

Ensuring these key judgments are made by the right people, with the right information, at the right time, across the entirety of BHP, is our objective.

Social value is a priority to BHP because we believe that if we get it right, we will win access to the best talent, resources and markets and set ourselves up to deliver a sustained competitive advantage. Consideration of social value also helps create new business opportunities and make better-informed business decisions.

Social value is not new to BHP; it is an evolution of our approach to maintaining our social licence. Social licence remains a critical component of social value. If we do not get the basics right, regardless of the positive work we are doing, we will limit our social value contribution.

We have been contributing to social value in many parts of the business for many years. Recent examples include:


Social value considerations are embedded in our planning and decision-making

To ensure we consider social value in our business decision-making at every level of BHP, we have embedded requirements relating to social value into our whole-of-business five-year planning process.

The diagram below illustrates the cycle of inputs and actions to enable BHP to contribute to social value:


social value diagram


The process begins at asset-level because that is where value generation begins for us. When each operated asset undertakes its annual business planning, it is required to use stakeholder perspectives on local and global issues to assess how business activities relate to these issues, and whether there are opportunities to contribute to creating value for our stakeholders. From this information, each operated asset in partnership with our global functions, must select the highest priority issues to inform initiatives that together form a social value plan.

The benefit of this approach is that community and broader sustainability initiatives are fully integrated into core business planning activities.

For example, a focus on local content may be a social value priority for one of our assets – what this means in practice is that the asset sets key performance indicators and targets to support progress in local content, which then forms part of the way we track performance for that asset.

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