BHP Billiton Learning Activities Edition 7

1. Construct a mind map to outline BHP Billiton's profile, purpose, creation, public listing and structure, using both information found in this Case Study and by visiting the company website at

2. Briefly discuss what is meant by the term 'sustainable development.' How does BHP Billiton define this term?

3. What do the socio-economic sustainability aspects of BHP Billiton's operations relate to?

4. Describe the main advantages to businesses and host communities of businesses adopting socio-economic sustainable practices. Are there any possible disadvantages?

 5. Discuss how the Mozal project's motto 'Together we make a difference' represents BHP Billiton's approach to socio-economic sustainability?

 6. Use the following headings to prepare a summary of BHP Billiton's socio-economic approach.

  • Employee relations
  • Supply
  • Economic contributions.

 7. List the benefits of the training program in Canada for BHP Billiton, individual employees and the communities of the North West Territories.

8. Focusing on BHP Billiton activities in the south-east of Western Australia:

  • Suggest reasons why BHP Billiton has a desire to build positive relationships with the small regional communities such as those in Ravensthorpe, Hopetoun and Esperence
  • As a whole class, predict some possible challenges BHP Billiton may face from people 'who are naturally protective of their rural and regional lifestyle'
  • Discuss the benefits to both BHP Billiton and the local communities of community consultation and involvement in the decision- making process.

9. a. Briefly outline the methods BHP Billiton uses to comply with the BEE legislation. What are the objectives of these methods?

b. Imagine you are a manager of one of BHP Billiton's South African operations. Discuss the impact BEE Procurement Policy may have on your supply chain spending.

 10. Imagine you are a reporter for a daily newspaper. Your editor has asked you to write an article about the BHP Billiton's Mozal project in Mozambique. In your article, refer to the profile of the project, the challenges faced by BHP Billiton, the initiatives implemented and the importance of sustainable long-term investment to both BHP Billiton and host communities. For more information go


1. You have been asked by BHP Billiton to deliver a presentation about the Ravensthorpe Nickel Project to the local Chamber of Commerce. In your presentation make reference to the programs that have been implemented in order to build positive relationships within the community. The presentation can be either a:

  • Verbal report
  • Written report
  • PowerPoint presentation.

2. 'Our long-term objective is to improve the livelihoods of people in our host communities so that they are better off for having our business operating within their region - whether this is through improved health, better education or employment skills, access to clean water or simply through a safer and stronger social environment.'

Source: Chip Goodyear, Chief Executive Officer, 'Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow' .

With reference to specific case studies outline how BHP Billiton has been able to achieve this objective. For more detailed information go to the BHP Billiton website.

3. BHP Billiton's socio-economic approach incorporates the key components of:

  • Employee relations
  • Supply
  • Economic contributions.

Using each of the case studies, identify how all three components can be said to exist simultaneously. For example, while the Case Study on South Africa and the Black Economic Empowerment Procurement Policy specifically relates to supply, it can be demonstrated that the other key components also exist.

4. Collect from magazines, newspapers or the Internet five articles dealing with businesses that are implementing socio-economic sustainable programs.

(a) Select one article and prepare a brief summary from it.

(b) For each article identify the reason(s) for the program.

5. 'A socially and ethically responsible business will attempt to achieve two goals simultaneously: maximizing profit (double bottom line) and providing for the greater good of society (triple bottom line).' Use these criteria to evaluate the performance of BHP Billiton over the past few years. For help visit the BHP Billiton website to access the company's latest annual report and latest sustainability report. Present your findings to the rest of the class.