BHP’s Indigenous Peoples Policy Statement articulates our approach to engagement and support for Indigenous peoples and our commitment to the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) Position Statement on Indigenous Peoples and Mining. Our Indigenous Peoples Strategy guides the implementation of our Policy Statement across our global operations and provides a consistent, Group-wide framework for respecting the rights of Indigenous peoples and enhancing their interests. The Strategy focuses our engagement with Indigenous peoples in four priority areas: governance; economic empowerment; social and cultural support; and public engagement. The strategy is supported by the Good Practice Guidance that sets benchmarks for our performance in relation to specific elements of each priority area of our global Indigenous Peoples Strategy.
The global Indigenous Peoples Strategy, in alignment with the Our Requirements for Community standard, requires that BHP’s functions and operated assets put in place complaints and grievance mechanisms that are culturally appropriate and accessible for Indigenous peoples. Consulting with Indigenous peoples and seeking to work in partnership with respect to our activities strengthens BHP’s ability to contribute to a full realisation of the rights of Indigenous peoples, which in turn helps contribute to meaningful and ongoing social value.
Our Code of Conduct sets out the expectations and standards of behaviour for our people, as well as contractors and suppliers (where under relevant contractual obligation). This includes the recognition of the traditional rights of Indigenous peoples and acknowledges their right to maintain their culture, identity, traditions and customs. Our Human Rights Policy Statement sets the human rights commitments for BHP, including respecting Indigenous peoples’ rights.
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.
The Sustainability Committee receives an annual update on our approach to working with Indigenous peoples, including progress against our public sustainability target to implement our global Indigenous Peoples Strategy across all our operated assets by FY2022, any significant changes in the regulatory environment, stakeholder expectations, risks and potential impacts that have been identified and any changes to our approach. 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. Our Indigenous Peoples Policy Statement and Strategy are reviewed regularly and each region maintains their Regional Indigenous Peoples Plan and reports progress.
We identify, assess and manage risks that BHP is exposed to, including risks associated with Indigenous peoples and their rights, by applying our single framework (known as the Risk Framework). The 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 captures 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.
We are committed to understanding and minimising potential adverse impacts on Indigenous peoples, while maximising positive impacts, through all phases of a resource life cycle.
For operated assets and projects, any relevant research or studies to understand communities where Indigenous peoples are identified as stakeholders aims to include attributes to ensure that Indigenous peoples’ rights are respected. These include that Indigenous peoples are able to participate in the design and implementation of the study and that all consultation and documentation through all phases is delivered in an accessible language, format and culturally appropriate manner.
BHP’s Global Indigenous Peoples Working Group (GIPWG) was established in 2016 and consists of representatives from across the global operations, including Minerals Australia, Minerals America and our Group functions.
The GIPWG, chaired by the Group Sustainability and Public Policy Officer, meets regularly to:
- develop, govern and manage the implementation of our Indigenous Peoples Policy Statement and Strategy
- identify opportunities to position BHP as a global leader in working with Indigenous peoples
- provide global and cross-functional leadership to promote a consistent position on our work with Indigenous peoples
- support regional teams to develop and implement Regional Indigenous Peoples Plans.