indigenous, elder, ceremony

Indigenous peoples

Operating on or near Indigenous peoples’ traditional lands brings with it responsibility and opportunity. We respect Indigenous peoples’ right to consultation and recognise ‘free, prior and informed consent’ (FPIC) as an important process to safeguard the collective rights of Indigenous peoples.   

Our ambition  

BHP’s ambition is to create long-term relationships with Indigenous peoples based on trust and mutual benefit. Respecting and partnering with Indigenous peoples aligns with BHP’s purpose of bringing people and resources together to build a better world, our focus on delivering long-term social value and our commitment to working with integrity. 

Our approach and position  

Our approach to engaging with and supporting Indigenous peoples is articulated in the BHP Indigenous Peoples Policy Statement.  

Our approach is founded in a deep respect for the distinct cultures, rights, perspectives and aspirations of Indigenous peoples. We will be guided by the aims of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples, as articulated in the BHP Indigenous Peoples Policy Statement. It is through the commitments set out in our Policy Statement that we aim to support reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and contribute to improved social, economic and environmental outcomes. 

 

Social value 

Under the Indigenous partnerships pillar of the BHP social value framework, we have set ourselves the goal of delivering respectful relationships that hear and act upon the distinct perspectives, aspirations and rights of Indigenous peoples and support the delivery of mutually beneficial and jointly defined outcomes. We report annually on progress in the BHP Annual Report.  

 

Cultural heritage 

Our approach to cultural heritage is underpinned by our Indigenous Peoples Policy Statement by which we seek to understand, avoid and mitigate adverse impacts to cultural heritage through planning and ongoing consultation with Indigenous peoples and communities. Our processes provide opportunities for Indigenous partners to identify those sites, places, structures and objects that are culturally or traditionally significant and to be consulted and engaged in relation to decisions regarding their protection and management. 

 

Cultural capability 

We seek to connect with Indigenous peoples to better appreciate the historical, legal, social, environmental, cultural and political landscapes where we operate or seek to operate, and how to better manage the environment we share. Through cultural awareness workshops and induction programs, we aim to facilitate an understanding and appreciation of Indigenous peoples’ rights and the connections and sensitivities associated with Indigenous cultural heritage. 

Governance, engagement, disclosure and performance 

  • Governance and oversight

    Governance and oversight 

    For information on the role of the BHP Board in overseeing our approach to and delivery on sustainability refer to the Sustainability approach webpage. 

    As set out in our Human Rights Policy Statement, BHP is committed to respecting internationally recognised human rights, and operating in a manner consistent with the principles set out in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 10 Principles of the UN Global Compact.   

    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).  

    A global Indigenous Policy team coordinates our approach and standards for BHP’s engagement with Indigenous peoples across our operated assets and functions within each region and globally across the business. Regionally, Indigenous Peoples Plans are being co-designed with Indigenous peoples to outline how we will engage with Indigenous communities and stakeholders and the priority topics on which we intend to focus our engagement in the countries where we operate.  

    • Australia: BHP released its sixth Australian Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in June 2023 for the period to the end of FY2027 to contribute towards reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and to take forward BHP’s global Indigenous Peoples Policy Statement in Australia. We developed our Elevate RAP in partnership with Traditional Owner groups, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, businesses, organisations, communities and peak bodies across Australia. A RAP Governance and Accountability Framework will seek to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices at all stages of our business operations with enhanced reporting, analysis and evaluation.  
    • Canada: BHP is developing an Indigenous Partnership Plan to operationalise our global Indigenous Peoples Policy Statement and advance our existing and new relationships with Indigenous peoples in Canada. We are developing the plan through a co-design process with relevant Indigenous peoples.  
    • South America: BHP aims to develop a new South American Indigenous Peoples Plan through a co-design process with Indigenous peoples that will operationalise our global Indigenous Peoples Policy Statement and advance our existing and new relationships with Indigenous peoples in South America.  

    Through these regional Indigenous Peoples Plans, we will seek to work closely with the communities where we operate to make a positive contribution to the lives of those communities who live near our operated assets. 

  • Engagement
    In accordance with our Indigenous Peoples Policy Statement, BHP’s approach to agreement-making processes with Indigenous peoples recognises the core principles of FPIC as an important process to safeguard the collective rights of Indigenous peoples.  

    Dedicated ‘Indigenous Engagement’ teams work across the organisation with leadership to assist in maintaining a high level of cultural competence throughout our engagements, including supporting BHP to follow our approach to FPIC, understand and mitigate adverse impacts to Indigenous peoples’ human rights, cultural heritage management, procurement, employment, and our efforts to contribute to the economic and social development of Indigenous communities where we operate. 
  • Disclosure

    Our disclosures about Indigenous peoples are reported annually in the BHP Annual Report. For FY2023 disclosures, refer to the BHP Annual Report 2023, Operating and Financial Review 6.15 - Indigenous peoples.  

  • Performance

    Our performance data about Indigenous peoples is reported annually in the BHP Annual Report. For FY2023 disclosures, refer to the BHP Annual Report 2023, Operating and Financial Review 6.15 - Indigenous peoples.  

     

Risk  


BHP applies a single, Group-wide approach to the management of risk, known as the Risk Framework. Risks are assessed to determine their potential impacts and likelihood, enable prioritisation and determine risk treatment options. We then implement controls designed to prevent, minimise or mitigate threats, and enable or enhance opportunities.  

Through our global Indigenous Peoples Policy Statement, BHP seeks to understand how we can avoid and mitigate adverse impacts on Indigenous peoples in the communities where we operate. We plan to carry out informed and good faith consultations with potentially affected Indigenous peoples for proposed new operations or capital projects. Our objective will be to obtain consent with the intention of substantially addressing impacted Indigenous peoples’ rights, ambitions and concerns. As part of BHP’s broader investment review and approvals framework, we will carefully consider the perspectives shared by Indigenous peoples throughout FPIC processes undertaken in accordance with our Policy Statement, including the extent to which potential adverse impacts on Indigenous peoples’ rights and interests have been understood, avoided and/or mitigated. 

 

Case Studies