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BHP Billiton's approach
BHP Billiton's Sustainable Development Policy stresses the company's aspiration of "zero harm to people, our host communities and the environment". Further, BHP Billiton strives "to achieve leading industry practice. Sound principles to govern safety, business conduct, social, environmental and economic activities are fundamental to the way we do business." The policy goes on to identify a number of related aspects including socio-economic considerations. For example:
- "Do not compromise safety values, and seek ways to promote and improve the health of the workforce and community
- Understand, promote and uphold fundamental human rights within our sphere of influence, respecting the traditional rights of Indigenous peoples and valuing cultural heritage
- Encourage a diverse workforce and provide a work environment in which everyone is treated fairly, with respect and can realize their full potential
- Engage regularly and openly and honestly with people affected by our operations, and take their views and concerns into account in decision-making
- Develop partnerships that foster the sustainable development of our host communities, enhance economic benefits from our operations and contribute to poverty alleviation."
The socio-economic sustainability aspects of BHP Billiton's operations relate to how the company manages its people and how it contributes to the communities and economies in which it operates. There are three strands to BHP Billiton's socio-economic sustainability approach:
- Employee relations
- Economic contributions.
Strand 1: Employee relations.
BHP Billiton is committed to providing a workplace in which individual differences are valued and all employees have the opportunity to realise their potential and contribute to the achievement of business objectives. While BHP Billiton adopts equal employment opportunity (EEO) principles, it recognises that affirmative action may be required to address historical imbalances and past discrimination. The company strives to train and employ local people with BHP Billiton being committed to working with employees to develop career paths that will enable them to achieve job satisfaction and maximise their contribution to the company.
Strand 2: Supply.
BHP Billiton recognises the value to local economies that can be delivered through its activities. Consequently it seeks to encourage the development of local contractors and the use of local suppliers wherever possible.
BHP Billiton's objective is to ensure that health, safety, environment and community (HSEC) standards and procedures adopted by suppliers, contractors and business partners within thesupply chain are consistent with the BHP Billiton standards.
Strand 3: Economic contribution.
When natural resources are extracted, the impact on local communities and the economy in general can be significant. Consequently the company recognises it has a role to play in assisting mineral-rich countries to achieve broad-based economic growth and sustainable development.