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Human rights

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 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, 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 where we operate, and, where differences exist between Our Code of Conduct and local customs, norms, rules or regulations, we apply the higher standard 10 UN Global Compact Principles and the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) Position Statement on Indigenous Peoples and Mining.

Our approach

  • Governance
    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 and community (HSEC) matters, including human rights, and assists the Board with governance and monitoring. The Sustainability Committee also oversees the adequacy of the systems designed to identify and manage HSEC-related risks and overall HSEC and other 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 periodic updates on emerging human rights issues and trends and any changes to our approach to respecting human rights. Our 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, and other 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 our annual  Modern Slavery Statement provides an update on our progress against certain of our human rights commitments, particularly those related to modern slavery and human trafficking.

    We recognise 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, activities of security providers, land access and use, water and sanitation, Indigenous peoples’ culture, identity, traditions and customs, and communities 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 as set out in our Human Rights Policy Statement. For more information, refer to the Local Communities, Our Approach sections.

    Independent internal audits provide assurance of operational compliance with our mandatory minimum requirements for human rights, as outlined in the Our Requirements standard.
  • Human rights due diligence

    Human rights due diligence is one of the methods we use in accordance with the Our Requirements standards to identify, 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 our 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).

    BHP has developed a globally consistent methodology for our HRIAs that allows us to identify threats to and potential adverse impacts on, as well as opportunities to promote, human rights throughout our activities. 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 so that issues that present the most significant threats or opportunities associated with human rights can be prioritised. 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.

    Results of the HRIAs are being integrated into risk assessments, strengthening our approach to managing and monitoring human rights risks and reflecting a maturing of the approach to integration with our Risk Framework. The results of the HRIAs will also be included in social value assessments as a key social research input to ensure our operated assets’ understanding of their operating context and external environment as inputs into their business planning.

    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.

    To understand and manage the risks BHP may be exposed to, we apply a Group Risk Architecture, which is a tool to identify, analyse, monitor and report risk. Community and human rights, which includes Indigenous rights, are represented in the Group Risk Architecture, enabling the identification of new exposures and the assessment of community and human rights impacts on existing exposures. We assess risks, then apply appropriate controls at a site, functional or Group level, and review performance to enable risks to be appropriately managed.

    When making a strategic business decision, we are required to use BHP’s Risk Appetite Statement and the Group Risk Architecture to make sure the decision is within BHP’s appetite for risk; use recommended techniques from the Risk Framework when additional analysis is required to be certain that a decision is within risk appetite; and apply the risk process to the selected decision.

  • Resettlement
    Any resettlements necessary for the conduct of our business must be carried out under a resettlement action plan that aligns with the requirements of the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standard 5: Land Acquisition and Involuntary Resettlement.
  • Security
    We seek to manage security at 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 20 countries globally. Of these, seven meet the Uppsala Conflict Data Program’s definition of being in active conflict. Three of these countries (Algeria, 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 two (Mexico and Egypt).
  • 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 impacts and challenges across communities. Through engagement activities, we identify opportunities for active contribution or collaboration in water agendas or initiatives.

    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 is 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, and understanding of the business case for respecting human rights and processes designed to implement human rights commitments across our activities.

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

    More for information, refer to the Supplying to BHP section.
  • Modern slavery legislation
    BHP reports annual Modern Slavery Statements under the UK Modern Slavery Act (2015) and the Australian Modern Slavery Act (2018).