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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. 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. Respecting human rights is important to our ability to contribute meaningfully and provide ongoing social value to our stakeholders.

We demonstrate our commitment to respecting human rights by: 

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

Our approach

  • Governance
    BHP’s Board oversees our approach to sustainability matters, including human rights. The Board’s Sustainability Committee assists the Board in its oversight of the Group’s health, safety, environmental and community (HSEC) matters. The Sustainability Committee advises the Board on the adequacy of the Group’s HSEC Framework, HSEC management systems and governance of HSEC matters, along with the Group’s HSEC performance under those systems. This includes consideration of both existing HSEC issues, such as climate, safety and Indigenous and human rights, as well as emerging areas of HSEC risk for the Group. 

    Our Charter and Our Code set our standards of behaviour for our people, as well as our expectations for all third parties we deal with, including our suppliers, contractors and customers, community partners and governments. The human rights commitments in Our Code are implemented through our Human Rights Policy Statement (HRPS) and our mandatory minimum performance requirements in Our Requirements standards. 

    The HRPS 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. It is reviewed annually by management as part of our assessment of management of human rights risks and potential impacts and 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. Our Risk team reports biannually to a joint meeting of the Board’s Risk and Audit Committee and Sustainability Committee on the Group’s material risk profile, including material human rights risks.
  • Human rights due diligence

    Human rights due diligence is an important part of our approach to respecting human rights, assisting us to identify, prevent and mitigate adverse human rights impacts, supporting our dialogue with stakeholders about our potential human rights impacts and identifying opportunities to better respect human rights. The HRPS and Our Requirements standards outline our approach to due diligence. We require human rights impact assessments to be conducted at least every two years (and reviewed whenever there are changes that may affect the impact profile). 

    BHP has developed a globally consistent methodology for our human rights impact assessments that is designed to allow 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 to 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. It allows for local customisation but also enables a global view of human rights risks and potential opportunities for company-wide collaborations. All assessments must include engagement with rights holders and stakeholders to enable a more complete understanding of any actual or potential human rights risks and impacts.

    Results of the human rights impact assessments are being integrated into BHP’s material risk profile in order to    strengthen our approach to managing and monitoring human rights risks and potential impacts. The results are also included as key inputs into our operated assets’ business planning through their social value plans.  

  • 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
    Four of the countries in which BHP has a presence meet the Uppsala Conflict Data Program’s definition of being in active conflict. Brazil is the location of a non-operated joint venture asset, Colombia is the location of exploration activity and was the location of a non-operated joint venture asset (prior to completion of divestment of BHP’s interest on 11 January 2022), and India and the Philippines are locations of BHP offices. 
  • 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

    Human rights are discussed in Our Code and associated guidance, which is reviewed annually by all employees and also shared when new employees join BHP. These materials are designed to prompt consideration of human rights both professionally and personally and understanding of the business case for respecting human rights and the processes designed to implement human rights commitments across our activities.

    We also provide a video for human rights training for our workforce that can be taken at any time. This video is publicly available to provide the opportunity for our business partners and stakeholders to reflect on the responsibility of business to respect human rights.

    Issue-specific human rights training is currently mandated for our Corporate Affairs team and our Commercial Compliance team, as these teams lead our human rights due diligence.

  • 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 Human Rights Policy Statement and the Our Requirements for Supply standard, which includes our Minimum Requirements for Suppliers. Compliance with these requirements is necessary for suppliers of non-traded goods and services 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.

    For more 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). Our annual Modern Slavery Statement provides an update on our progress against our human rights commitments, particularly those related to modern slavery and human trafficking.