Memorandum submitted by BHP Billiton Limited
On 3 June we received an email from Ms
Emily Gregory on behalf of the Joint Committee on Human Rights
in relation to the Committee's inquiry into Business and Human
Rights advising that BHP Billiton had been referred to in evidence
and inviting us to respond.
We have read the submissions that make reference
to us and would like to make the following comments.
BHP Billiton considers human rights to be a
very important issue and we recognise, support an are committed
to the following international instruments which are directly
relevant to different aspects of human rights: the UN Declaration
of Human Rights; the US-UK Voluntary Principles on Security and
Human Rights; the UN Global Compact and the World Bank Operational
Directions on Involuntary Resettlement.
The management of human rights are embedded
in our management systems that are regularly audited and our performance
publicly reported. For example, as part of this system our Sustainable
Development Policy requires that wherever we operate we will ensure
that we understand, promote and uphold fundamental rights within
our sphere of influence.
At an operational level all our sites and facilities
that we either own or operate must undertake a human rights assessment
and identify any actual or potential human rights issues, and
where so identified develop and implement a human rights management
plan as well as ensuring that all employees and contractors receive
training to facilitate compliance with our human rights commitments.
The human rights assessments must be reviewed
annually to ensure that it remains relevant and there are also
reporting obligations on sites to ensure that it is carried out
as well as reporting any human rights transgressions.
BHP Billiton reports its sustainability performance
which includes reporting on human rights issues. Our latest sustainability
report, Resourcing the Future, is available on our website at:
Human rights information in this report includes,
for example, details about the number of employees and contractors
participating in human rights training in FY2008 (23,876),
that there were no recorded human rights transgressions in that
year and how we have met our commitments under the Global Compact.
In relation to the comments made in the submissions
about BHP Billiton we note that there are a number of errors and
much of the information is out of date.
Finally, we also recognise that one of our challenges
is to continue to manage the potential exposure to human rights
issues in an ever changing world and in diverse locations where
we operate but we believe with our commitment to human rights
and detailed management systems that we are able to remain sensitive
to and appropriately manage human rights issues.
Vice President Environment and Community Relations
12 June 2009