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Modern Slavery

The term modern slavery is used to describe situations where coercion, threats or deception are used to exploit victims and undermine or deprive them of their freedom. As defined by the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) modern slavery include eight types of serious exploitation: trafficking in persons; slavery; servitude; forced marriage; forced labour; debt bondage; deceptive recruiting for labour or services; and the worst forms of child labour. The worst forms of child labour means situations where children are subjected to slavery or similar practices, or engaged in hazardous work.

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

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. We also provide mechanisms for workers and stakeholders to report complaints and grievances, including those relating to modern slavery. Training across the workforce on human rights and modern slavery is an example of a control we have in place to enhance awareness of the risks and indicators of modern slavery in all our locations. 

Each financial year we produce one Modern Slavery Statement that responds to both the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) and the United Kingdom’s Modern Slavery Act 2015. The Statement outlines the steps we took during FY23 to identify, assess, and address modern slavery risks, including the governance processes and progress in our operations and supply chains.

Read our Modern Slavery statements here:

We continue to request customers to provide their Modern Slavery and Conflict Minerals Statements as part of our social risk due diligence activities. This is an important part of furthering transparency of sustainability performance in the value chain. Read more in our  Conflict Minerals Statement.

Supplier questionnaire to help end modern slavery

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Supplier questionnaire to help end modern slavery

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:

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

This initiative recognises that suppliers are facing growing information requests due to modern slavery laws in Australia and the United Kingdom. By asking a common set of questions, this will streamline reporting, provide consistency and clarity.