BHP Billiton Human Rights Framework

Developing a risk-based framework to integrate human rights policies

Katherine Teh-White

Managing Director

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The brief:

As BHP Billiton operates in some developing countries where perceived human rights exposures exist, the organisation has guidance documents to promote an awareness and understanding of human rights at operational levels. However, internal uptake and implementation of the behaviours these documents promote has been limited. BHP Billiton wanted to improve site awareness of human rights within its sphere of influence, align those rights to existing management systems and improve clarity around the development of management plans for sites where human rights exposures exist. BHP Billiton approached Futureye to develop a risk-based framework that could achieve these goals by assigning responsibilities according to varying levels of risk.

The result:

BHP Billiton tested the recommendations for integrating its human rights assessment toolkit and internal risk management processes with stakeholders. The stakeholder feedback was fed into a revised self-assessment tool, which was trialled in 2006. The recommendations led to a revision of the organisation’s Management Standard 8 on ‘Business Conduct, Human Rights and Community Development’ to clarify human rights requirements. The organisation also developed a guide to human rights and employee responsibilities that is available to its sites. Information on how many sites have undertaken training and cultural awareness programs, as well as extending programs to security forces, is available in the BHP Billiton Sustainability Full Report 2005.

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