Respect for human rights is fundamental to how we do business at South32 and reflects our values of care, trust, togetherness and excellence. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it is critical to the success and integrity of our business.

We work to create positive social impacts by mitigating human rights related risks, leading improvements and promoting respect for human rights across our operations and beyond.

What are human rights

Human rights recognise the inherent value of each person. They are based on principles of dignity, equality and mutual respect.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood (Article 1, Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

There are 30 fundamental human rights that are universally protected, almost all of which are relevant to the way we do business.

You can read more information about fundamental human rights, available in over 500 different languages here.

Our policies, our commitments, our practices

Our policies are guided by international human rights principles, including the:

  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
  • International Council of Mining and Metals 10 Principles
  • Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact 
  • Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights
  • International Finance Corporation Performance Standards

Our commitments to respect human rights are contained within our:

  • Sustainability Policy
  • Code of Business Conduct
  • Modern Slavery Statement
  • Internal standards

Our policies are put into practice through an integrated set of activities including:

  • Regular human rights impact assessments
  • Ongoing human rights due diligence within our operations and supply chains
  • Supporting freedom of association, providing safe and decent work
  • Recognising the traditional rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Engaging meaningfully with communities
  • Ensuring there are safe and freely accessible grievance and redress mechanisms
  • Working with private security providers to maintain safe and secure operations 
  • Regular human rights training for our employees 

Assessing our human rights impacts

In line with international human rights principles, our internal standards require our operations to conduct human rights impact assessments. We do this so that we appropriately identify, prevent, mitigate and account for potential adverse human rights impacts from our operations.

The level of due diligence required is informed by the human rights risk of country of operation, which we review by reference to external sources.

For medium to high risk countries (as determined by the Maplecroft index), we conduct a human rights impact assessment every three years, or more frequently if a material change has occurred to the operation or community.  This assessment is completed by an independent provider, and annually reviewed to assess whether it needs to be updated.

For low risk countries, as a minimum expectation, we require each operation to complete a South32 human rights risk self-assessment, which is annually reviewed. If local concerns or material developments arise, additional human rights impact assessments are conducted.

These assessments include internal and external stakeholder assessments of our human rights practices and the extent to which our company policies, procedures and practices respond to international human rights governance standards.  Should impacts be identified, we develop and implement appropriate remedial actions and controls.

Modern slavery

'Freedom from slavery' is one of the most fundamental freedoms that applies to all people.

Our annual Modern Slavery Statement outlines our commitment to identifying and addressing any modern slavery in our operations and supply chain. Read more about our stance against modern slavery here.

Human rights and responsible sourcing

We require our Suppliers and all those we conduct business with to work in accordance with the same human rights standards and applicable laws as we do.

We are developing a company-wide Responsible Sourcing approach, which includes an integrated set of activities to identify and manage human rights risks in our supply chain.

For further information please read our:

Security and human rights

Making sure everyone goes home safe and well sits at the forefront of all we do at South32.

Read more about our commitment to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights and our approach to human rights and security practices here

Speak up

It goes to the heart of the way we do business, to ensure that any person can safely and freely raise concerns about adverse human rights impacts.

We encourage employees, individuals, suppliers and communities to raise concerns with us directly, through our complaints and grievances mechanisms at every operation.

For confidential concerns, we have an independent external platform 'EthicsPoint' for any person to anonymously report concerns regarding potential breaches of our Code of Business Conduct, including concerns related to human rights.