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Partnering with communities

We are a global business with a local focus and are committed to 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 with the aim of creating shared value.

Our approach

We are committed to improving people’s lives and seek to create and sustain social, environmental and economic value wherever we operate. The support of the communities where we operate is critical to our success. Being transparent and building relationships based on trust is essential to the way we operate. That means being in touch with the broader community, considering different perspectives and working together.

Engagement with communities begins early during the exploration phase and lays the foundation for long-term partnerships. Using engagement forums and workshops we work to understand stakeholder expectations, needs, concerns and issues.

Stakeholder and local community research provides us with valuable insights into the social, environmental and cultural aspects of the local regions near our operations.

To understand and manage our social impacts we undertake socio-economic baseline assessments of the social and economic context of host communities to identify important issues. Social impact assessments are also undertaken to identify risks and impacts from our activities on local communities, with social risks assessed and managed as per the South32 System of Risk Management. Community perception surveys support these assessments and allow us to receive valuable feedback and evaluate levels of community support and trust.

Respectful relationships with our stakeholders underpin our goal of creating and protecting social, economic, and environmental value. We have identified our main stakeholders – these being individuals or groups who may be affected by or interested in our decision-making and activities – and developed stakeholder engagement plans at an operational and country level to help build strong and mutually beneficial relationships.

Engagement with stakeholders can take many forms and is critical in helping us understand their interests, expectations, and concerns. We use the outcomes from stakeholder engagement to help inform and guide our sustainability efforts. Our engagement with stakeholders varies depending on the location of the operation and the nature and impact of South32 activities on the stakeholder, in accordance with our stakeholder engagement plans.

We seek to understand stakeholder concerns and facilitate engagement in a way that considers potential barriers such as language or cultural differences. This is especially important when engaging with minorities and vulnerable groups.

Our complaints and grievances mechanisms are available for members of the community, who can use these services anonymously.

Given our diverse operating locations, we aim to develop activity specific, locally appropriate and culturally sensitive complaints and grievance processes. We listen to and report community complaints or grievances we receive, anonymously or otherwise, through our complaints mechanisms and address them as a priority.

Our community complaints and grievances processes are aligned with the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGPs) on Business and Human Rights and the UN’s 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

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.