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Expectations of our suppliers

Before working with potential suppliers, we assess whether they are compliant with our requirements and expectations.

It is critical that any business seeking to become a supplier to South32 familiarises themselves with these expectations, ensures that they can meet them, and supports us as we conduct this assessment.


On this page:

Code of Business Conduct
Minimum requirements for suppliers
Terms and Conditions
Modern Slavery policy and requirements
Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy
Contractor Management


Code of Business Conduct

Code of Business Conduct

We are committed to the highest standards of integrity and accountability. Our values and Code of Business Conduct (Code) guide how we act, work and communicate.

Any breaches of our Code are taken seriously.

Supported by our Speak Up Policy (our global whistleblower policy), we encourage our people to speak up when our values and standards of conduct are not being followed. 

Read our Code in multiple languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese

Our Code sets the standards of conduct that we expect of our employees, Directors and executive management, contractors, suppliers and joint venture partners acting on our behalf in a South32 controlled or operated joint venture. It also represents our commitment to acting ethically, responsibly and lawfully.

Minimum requirements for our suppliers

South32 requires everyone who works with us, or on our behalf, to be transparent and trusted partners who continuously strive to improve the way we work and share our commitment to lawful business practices.

At South32, the relationship we forge with our suppliers is fundamental to operating safely. We are dedicated to operating sustainably, transparently, and responsibly, while creating value for our stakeholders and improving lives in the communities where we operate.

Our Code establishes minimum standards which we expect our suppliers to meet at all times. They include:


Everyone goes home safe and well

At South32, we are united by our belief that everyone should go home safe and well. We ask all members of our workforce to adhere to our ‘safety guarantee’ – an internal approach where each of us stop and ask ourselves whether we can guarantee our own safety and that of our colleagues before undertaking each task.

Suppliers must ensure that the safety of their workforce and the people they are working with at South32 is their first priority.

Suppliers must support South32 in continuously improving its safety performance by stopping work they feel is unsafe, ensuring hazard and event reporting, and fostering the sharing of information that may improve safety outcomes whilst working with South32.

The supplier must provide:

  • safe and healthy working facilities and appropriate controls to protect employees from work-related hazards and anticipated dangers in the workplace;
  • workers with appropriate and effective health and safety training; and
  • where applicable, clean and safe accommodation that meets the basic needs of the workers.

The supplier must comply with South32’s health, safety, environment, and social performance requirements and all local legislation regarding these requirements.

supporting people

Fostering inclusion, diversity and equity in our workplace

South32 does not tolerate bullying, harassment, discrimination, victimisation, or intimidation of any kind towards others. This includes all forms of sexual harassment or assault. All those that partner with South32, must align with a zero-tolerance approach.

The supplier must provide a work environment in which everyone is treated fairly and cultural, gender, ethnic, religious, or other diversity factors such as disability are respected.

The supplier must have policies and standards pertaining to inclusion and diversity in place that are aligned with those of South32.

The supplier must have a grievance mechanism process, which provides a clear and transparent framework to all stakeholders to speak up fairly and for grievances to be investigated in an unbiased manner.


Respecting human rights

The supplier must create and maintain a work environment that respects human rights and is without discrimination and harassment. At all times, the supplier must work in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The supplier must work towards implementing core human rights standards, including those set out in the UN (United Nations) Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights of Work.

The supplier must confirm that:

  • there is no forced, bonded, or involuntary labour; or labour acquired through human trafficking;
  • it will work towards implementing a robust risk assessment process for its own supply chains to identify and mitigate against risks of modern slavery; and
  • at no times will child labour be used.

The supplier must also ensure that:

  • they adopt an open attitude towards the legitimate activities of trade unions; and
  • workers’ representatives must be allowed to carry out their legitimate representative functions in the workplace and must not be discriminated against.

The supplier must ensure wages and benefits (including overtime) paid for a standard working week, must satisfy, at a minimum, national legal standards, or local industry benchmarks. At all times working hours must meet minimum requirement and overtime be voluntary.


Protecting privacy

The supplier must:

  • confirm that it manages cybersecurity, data protection, and privacy of personal information in accordance with applicable laws and regulations;
  • protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of South32 data and systems; and
  • be able to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to managing cybersecurity and data protection risk.
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Building and maintaining trust with our communities

The supplier, and in turn its employees, must treat all members of the community, including Indigenous, Traditional and Tribal Peoples, with dignity and respect. At all times communication must be regular, open, and honest.

The supplier must comply with local requirements or as negotiated in the terms of contract, including those related to:

  • rights of Indigenous, Traditional and Tribal Peoples;
  • traditional customs and cultural heritage;
  • environmental areas;
  • public policy; and
  • training and education.

We expect our suppliers to identify opportunities that incorporate local procurement and employment and, to the extent involving work conducted for or on behalf of South32, to coordinate engagement with local representatives at South32.

The supplier must ensure that any public or private security forces engaged by them, manage security in a way that is lawful and respects fundamental freedoms and human rights of all stakeholders.

environment cycle

Being environmentally responsible

At all times, the supplier must comply with South32’s environmental requirements and applicable environmental laws and regulations. The supplier must ensure an understanding of potential environmental risks and impacts of work, with effort made to minimise our footprint.

Suppliers must ensure that they use energy and water efficiently, minimise greenhouse gas emissions, give consideration to biodiversity and have comprehensive waste management practices.

handshake desk

Working with governments

Suppliers must not act on South32’s behalf with any government representative without approval from South32.

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Fraud, bribery and corruption

The supplier must comply with all applicable:

  • anti-bribery and corruption laws; and
  • international trade laws and sanctions of the countries in which South32 conducts business.

This includes the supplier not engaging in illegal conduct such as fraud, theft, bribery (including not making facilitation payments), extortion or other corrupt conduct, as well as declaring to us any actual or potential conflict of interest to South32.

These requirements are further clarified at sections 12, 13, 15 and 16 of our Code, and in our Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy available here.

Suppliers must also be aware of confidentiality requirements when working with South32 and sharing of potential inside information.

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Avoiding conflict of interest

Suppliers must ensure there are no personal interests or activities that may pose a conflict of interest with their responsibilities with South32. Any concerns with a potential conflict of interest should be raised immediately with South32.

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Using suppliers with integrity

Suppliers must comply with lawful business practices and applicable South32 policies, standards, procedures, and processes, as relevant to the work they are performing for or on our behalf.


Global requirements

Terms and conditions

All suppliers and contractors at South32 operations are required to adhere to the following conditions. Depending on the location and nature of the work or material involved there may be additional requirements which apply when doing business with South32. These will be specified in the tendering and onboarding processes where relevant.

Sustainability and Business Conduct Supplier Requirements

Learn more

Purchase order terms and conditions

Learn more

Tender terms and conditions

Learn more

Addressing the risks of Modern Slavery

Addressing the risks of Modern Slavery

Respecting human rights and addressing the risks of modern slavery across our operations and supply chains is not only the right thing to do, it’s fundamental to the way we do business.

We expect our people and our business partners to comply with lawful business practices and applicable South32 policies, standards, procedures and processes, as relevant to the work they are performing for us, including our approach to modern slavery. 

Our approach to managing the risks of modern slavery in our operations and supply chains is guided by the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). As required by our internal performance standards, we conduct risk assessments and due diligence across our operations, determined by country level human rights risk.

Modern Slavery self-assessment questionnaire

We have joined forces with various mining, energy and resource companies to develop a practical questionnaire to pre-screen for modern slavery risks within supply chains. Completing this questionnaire is a requirement for suppliers to do business with South32.

The self-assessment questionnaire, with 18 core questions, will assist suppliers and South32 to identify modern slavery risks, improve transparency and identify areas for further due diligence.


Learn more about our approach to Modern Slavery and see our annual Modern Slavery Statements


Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy

As South32, we are committed to the highest standards of integrity and accountability.

We prohibit fraud, bribery and corruption in any form, and comply with applicable anti-bribery and corruption (ABC) laws wherever we conduct business.

Our suppliers are any third party that South32 engages to provide goods and/or services, such as vendors, consultants and contractors, as well as third party representatives who interact with external parties on South32’s behalf. Examples of suppliers who may act on our behalf include customs or visa agents, freight forwarders, brokers, intermediaries and travel agents.

All suppliers must follow our Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy, or their own ABC Policy provided their conduct standards are consistent with ours. Government Facing Representatives (GFRs) are those third party representatives (i.e. the subset of our Suppliers and JV partners) who interact with Government Officials on South32’s behalf. Our GFRs must follow our ABC Policy.

Our Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy is available here: (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese)

Contractor management

A photo of two workers at Worsley

Contractor management

Contractors play a critical role in helping us run our business and make up a significant proportion of our workforce, and we work to provide them with a safe workplace.

To that end, South32 has introduced the ‘Contractor Management System of Work’. It outlines clear performance requirements, accountabilities, and roles and responsibilities for everyone involved in contractor management to ensure a consistent approach. This includes suppliers engaged via a commercial contract or off-contract via a purchase order.

Underpinning the Contractor Management System of Work is the prior assessment of the exposure to potential material risks, including health and safety risks, associated with a scope of work. The outcome of this assessment determines which management approach South32 will apply to the work.

We put in place additional controls to enable our contractors to safely execute high risk work, including the verification of qualifications and licenses held by the people undertaking high risk work, as well as the tools and equipment that will be used to conduct the work.

The Contractor Management System of Work is a continuous process which occurs throughout the engagement of a supplier with South32. It is vital that our suppliers support this process and comply with the associated requirements.