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Human Rights

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Our position

We believe respecting human rights and contributing to the positive realisation of rights is important to the sustainable operation of our business. Respecting human rights is important to our ability to contribute meaningfully and provide ongoing social value to our stakeholders. Simply put, we believe that our success depends on respecting the rights of individuals and groups who interact with us and are impacted by our business.

We are committed to respecting internationally recognised human rights as set out in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights and to operating in a manner consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights;  the 10 UN Global Compact Principles; and the International Council on Mining & Metals (ICMM) Position Statement on Indigenous Peoples and Mining. We also commit to complying with applicable laws and regulations of the countries in which we operate, and where differences exist between Our Code of Conduct and local customs, norms, rules or regulations, we apply the higher standard.


Our approach


Our Code of Conduct (Our Code) sets the standards of behaviour and human rights commitments for our people, as well as contractors and suppliers (where under relevant contractual obligation) and others who perform work for BHP. The commitments in Our Code and our Human Rights Policy Statement are implemented through mandatory minimum performance requirements for human rights in the Our Requirements standards and through our policy statements.

BHP’s Board oversees our approach to sustainability. The Board’s Sustainability Committee has oversight of health, safety, environmental, community (HSEC) and other human rights matters and assists the Board with governance and monitoring. The Sustainability Committee also oversees the adequacy of the systems to identify and manage HSEC-related risks and overall HSEC and human rights performance. 

Our Human Rights Policy Statement sets out our expectations for our people, business partners and other relevant parties to respect human rights. The Policy Statement was developed in line with Principle 16 of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, included consultation with internal and external stakeholders and was endorsed by BHP’s Executive Leadership Team. The Human Rights Policy Statement applies to all operated assets and functions in accordance with our reporting scope and boundaries.  

The Sustainability Committee receives an annual update on emerging human rights issues and trends and any changes to our approach to respecting human rights. The Risk function reports biannually to a joint meeting of the Board’s Risk and Audit Committee and Sustainability Committee on the Group’s risk profile, including HSEC risks, including human rights risks.

The Human Rights Policy Statement is reviewed annually as part of our assessment of management of human rights risks and potential impacts, and the Modern Slavery Statement provides an update on our progress against our human rights commitments, particularly those related to modern slavery and human trafficking.  

We recognise that we have the potential to directly impact, contribute to or be linked to human rights impacts on people through our operated assets, closed and legacy sites, value chain activities and relationships with business partners. These include rights related to workplace health and safety; labour rights; the activities of security providers; land access and use, water and sanitation; Indigenous peoples’ culture, identity, traditions and customs; and communities that live near our operated assets – including resettlement and consultation and consent processes.

The Our Requirements for Community standard sets out our requirements to operate and our commitment to respecting human rights is set out in our Human Rights Policy Statement. For more information see Local Communities, Our Approach.

We obtain assurance of operational compliance with our mandatory minimum human rights performance requirements through independent internal audits of the Our Requirements standards.

Human rights due diligence

Human rights due diligence is one of the methods we use in accordance with the Our Requirements standards, to identify, seek to prevent and mitigate adverse human rights impacts. This also helps to identify new opportunities for BHP to respect human rights and support dialogue with stakeholders about BHP’s human rights impacts and contributions.

The Our Requirements standards require operated assets to complete a human rights impact assessment (HRIA) at least every three years (and review it whenever there are changes that may affect the impact profile). If a current risk with potential adverse human rights impacts is identified and determined to be material under our Risk Framework, a Human Rights Management Plan must be developed. BHP has developed a globally consistent methodology for HRIAs that allows us to identify threats to and potential adverse impacts on, as well as opportunities to promote, human rights throughout our activities. This was piloted across several locations in FY2020. The methodology is designed so our HRIAs begin with a comprehensive view of all applicable human rights, the legal and regulatory context and stakeholders, and focus on the most relevant human rights and prioritise issues that present the most significant threats or opportunities associated with human rights. All HRIAs must include engagement with rights holders and stakeholders, to enable a more complete understanding of any actual or potential human rights threats and opportunities.

We identify, assess and manage the risks that BHP is exposed to, including community and human rights risks, by applying our single framework (known as the Risk Framework). The Board’s Risk and Audit Committee monitors and, at least annually, reviews the effectiveness of the Group’s systems of risk management and internal control.

In order to understand and manage the risks to which BHP is exposed, we have a Group Risk Architecture, which is a tool to identify, analyse, monitor and report risk. Community and human rights, which includes Indigenous rights, are Group Risks within the Environment, climate change and community Group Risk Category of our Group Risk Architecture. This tool helps us to identify current risks (which may be strategic or operational in nature), as well as emerging risks, that are associated with these Group Risks. We assess risks, apply appropriate controls at a site, functional or Group level and review performance to enable risks to be properly managed. More information on BHP’s Risk Framework is available here.

The Risk Framework requires our decision-making process to consider potential impacts on key risk indicator (KRI) performance (including those for Community and Human Rights) and any decisions made should align with BHP’s Risk Appetite Statement, which is approved by the Board. This includes decisions relating to acquisitions and divestments, new activities in high-risk countries and major projects.


Any voluntary or involuntary resettlements are required to be developed with a resettlement action plan that aligns with the requirements of the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standard 5: Land Acquisition and Involuntary Resettlement.


We seek to manage security of our offices and operated assets based on our values, level of risk exposure and the business requirements of each specific site. This involves a requirement to review our alignment with the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights annually and complete improvement plans to address any gaps.

Areas of conflict

BHP has a presence in 16 countries globally. Of these, five meet the Uppsala Conflict Data Program’s definition of being in active conflict. Two of these countries (Brazil and Colombia) are the location of non-operated joint venture assets, two (India and the Philippines) have BHP offices and we have exploration and appraisal activities in another (Mexico).

Water and sanitation

BHP respects the right to water access, sanitation and hygiene, and the traditional rights of Indigenous peoples and their cultural and spiritual connection to water.

Through our Water Stewardship program, we continue to improve our understanding of water and sanitation impacts and challenges across communities. Through engagement activities, we are able to identify water and sanitation agendas or initiatives that we could actively contribute to or collaborate on.

Where we are providers of water facilities, we work closely with local authorities and regulators and have adopted a management system approach to help manage risks associated with our commitment to provide access to safe drinking water, appropriate sanitation and hygiene facilities and management of related infrastructure. This is outlined in our water section.

Capacity building

A human rights training video is available for our workforce, and mandatory for our key employees who conduct work that may involve human rights issues. The training is designed to prompt consideration of human rights both professionally and personally, to understand the business case for respecting human rights, and the processes designed to implement human rights commitments across our activities.

Human rights training is currently mandated for our Corporate Affairs (including Community and Indigenous Affairs practitioners, Government Relations and Communications) and the Procurement and Maritime and Supply Chain Excellence teams in our Commercial function.

We have made our BHP human rights training video publicly available to provide the opportunity for our business partners and other stakeholders to reflect on the responsibility of business to respect human rights.

Setting requirements for our suppliers

Respecting human rights and a commitment to strong governance and anti-corruption are important to the sustainability of our business and are enablers in understanding and addressing significant risks. They are also important to our ability to contribute meaningful and ongoing social value to our stakeholders.

BHP’s risk exposure and controls relating to potential adverse human rights impacts in our supply chain are managed in accordance with our Risk Framework. We manage these risks through an approach underpinned by Our Code of Conduct and our Human Rights Policy Statement and the Our Requirements for Supply standard, which includes the Minimum requirements for suppliers. Compliance with the Minimum requirements for suppliers is necessary for doing business with BHP and they are included in our procurement standard contract suite, BHP Vessel Charter Party and purchase order terms and conditions.

Our Ethical Supply Chain and Transparency Program is the primary preventative control to manage the risk of a human rights breach within our supply chain. The program’s processes are applicable to all current and new suppliers of non-traded goods and services. We take this responsibility seriously and see it as not only important to the sustainable operation of our business, but as the right thing to do.

See Supplying to BHP section for more information.

Modern slavery legislation

BHP reports annually under the UK Modern Slavery Act (2015) and the Australian Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act (2018). Our Modern Slavery Statements can be found here.

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