We are a global business with a local focus, and we are passionate about supporting and building meaningful relationships in the communities where we operate. We actively engage with stakeholders to understand their interests and aspirations and identify opportunities to work together to create shared value.

Understanding our communities

No matter where we’re working we have a rigorous process to understand our communities. We regularly complete and review Social Baseline studies, Social Impact and Opportunity Assessments, Community Perception Surveys and Stakeholder Identification and Analysis to identify and understand who our stakeholders are.

We always aim to build strong, honest and meaningful relationships with local communities, so that we’re ready to listen and act on their needs, wants and concerns. 

Engaging with our stakeholders

To us, stakeholders are people or groups who are potentially affected by our operations or who have an interest in, or influence on, what we do as a company. When we genuinely understand our stakeholders’ unique interests, needs and concerns, we can work together, creating partnerships to achieve common goals.

At each of our operations, we do this through our stakeholder identification and analysis process. This process includes ongoing consultation mechanisms for us to engage with our different stakeholder groups and allows us to keep abreast of changing societal expectations.

Our teams on the ground are often employed from local communities. This helps us to work with these local communities to achieve genuine, meaningful engagement.

Our Global Stakeholder Engagement Plan can be accessed here.

We listen to all concerns 

We want to hear from anyone with an interest in our operations. We listen to and report complaints and grievances which we receive, anonymous or otherwise, and we make it a priority to address them.

We take pride in our complaints and grievances process, aligning it with the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and using the United Nations’ Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework, specifically to:

  • Acknowledge, investigate and document all complaints;
  • Allow for anonymous reporting of complaints;
  • Complete appropriate remedial action;
  • Communicate transparently with complainant; and
  • Be readily accessible to all members of host communities.

We externally report our recorded complaints and grievances annually as part of our sustainability performance data.

Indigenous, Traditional and Tribal Peoples

We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Indigenous, Traditional and Tribal Peoples of the lands, waters and territories on which South32 is located and where we conduct our business around the world. We respect and acknowledge the unique cultural and spiritual relationships that Indigenous, Traditional and Tribal Peoples have to the lands, waters and territories, and their rich contribution to society. In the spirit of respect and reconciliation, we will continue to support initiatives that strengthen culture and ways of life so that their legacy continues and extends to future generations.

Across our global portfolio, we work with a range of communities. 

In Australia, we operate in four different states and one territory. Further details of the Traditional Owners, Registered Aboriginal Parties and those parties that speak for Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in these regions are outlined in our Innovate Reconciliation Plan

In South Africa and Mozambique, our local communities have a rich and diverse range of customs and traditions, including strong connections to the land.

In Colombia, we work with 15 local communities around our Cerro Matoso operation including Ethnic Peoples in seven Zenu Indigenous communities and two Afro-Colombian communities. 

We have two future development options in the US - in Arizona and Alaska – where there is engagement with Indigenous stakeholders with the aim of building respectful positive relationships and providing opportunities from the outset.

When our operations are located on or near lands traditionally owned by Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, we provide cultural awareness and competency training to our people. 

Shared value

We can only operate and realise the potential of mineral resources with the support of our Indigenous and Tribal communities. We identify ways to work in partnership with communities to ensure we share the benefits from realising the potential of mineral resources. From providing jobs and business opportunities, to empowering suppliers and supporting community programs, we know we can make a significant contribution. Aligned with our Community Investment Approach, we are committed to deliver long term opportunities, through employment, procurement, community investment and training in partnership with our Indigenous stakeholders. To read more about our recent performance, please visit here.  

Preservation of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples’ Cultural Heritage 

We respect the value and importance of cultural heritage and people’s connection to the land and water. We have processes in place to support the preservation of cultural heritage, tailored to the local context, including ways to identify, record, preserve and, if necessary, relocate cultural heritage in collaboration with Indigenous and Tribal Peoples. We are continually looking to strengthen and enhance our approach to preserving cultural heritage. To read more about our approach to cultural heritage, please visit here

Reconciliation in Australia

Because of the work we do, and the impact it has on communities around Australia, we’re committed to reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and non-Indigenous Australians.  Our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) outlines how we’ll do this, and what we’ll do to create and sustain meaningful and respectful relationships. 

Our vision for reconciliation is for an Australia that embraces the histories and cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and that, as a nation, we work collectively toward supporting all Australians. We have much to learn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and want to work together to support their vision and their future. We believe that working together will provide meaningful opportunities for both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and South32. 

To read more about our commitment to reconciliation, our Innovate RAP can be accessed here

As stated in our Innovate RAP, South32 endorses the Uluru Statement from the Heart as the pathway toward reconciliation, put forward by Australia’s First Nations people. We encourage all Australians to take part in the conversations on Constitutional reform, a Makarrata Commission and seek to learn about our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history. Now is the time for Australia to come together and heal as one, so that we can truly be a nation for all. 

Supporting Indigenous communities

We're helping to provide a better quality of life for Indigenous Australians living with Machado Joseph Disease.

Read more
South32 Gemco116
Working with Traditional Owners

On Groote Eylandt, we’re working with Traditional Owners to build a sustainable economic future.

Read more
South32 Gemco105
Learning Clubs are getting great results

We're helping Indigenous children to reach their full potential through education.

Read more