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Responsible value chain

FY23 at a glance


spent on local procurement


Enterprise Supplier Development spend in South Africa

A$30m ↑18% YoY

spent on Enterprise and Supplier Development

Our approach

Responsible sourcing

Our approach to responsible sourcing is built on a partnership model with our suppliers that aims to minimise health, safety, environmental, human rights, and other social risks. We aim to work only with suppliers with strong values and standards of conduct and that share our commitment to lawful business practices. Our expectations of suppliers are outlined in our Code of Business Conduct (Code) and Sustainability and Business Conduct – Minimum Supplier Requirements. We aim to work with suppliers that demonstrate standards and behaviour that are consistent with our Code.

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.

Risk assessment and tiering tools help us understand supplier risks and guide us in the implementation of an appropriate supplier management approach. We work with our Business Integrity team and other experts to identify supplier risks and opportunities and establish evaluation and due diligence criteria, as well as risk-based control activities. These inform our management approach, with specific requirements agreed with suppliers and integrated into supplier management plans.

Suppliers of services are inducted through our contractor management process, which was set up to strengthen safety and performance of our contracting partners. The process outlines clear supervision, accountability, and performance requirements and provides the basis for operational audits through our stewardship program against our internal contractor management standard.

Responsible marketing and product stewardship

Our approach to the stewardship of our commodities relies on accepted best practices for their handling, transportation and use. We are guided by the ICMM Mining Principles, particularly Mining Principles: 1 - Ethical Business, 2 - Decision making, 3 - Human Rights, 8 - Responsible Production, and 10 - Stakeholder Engagement, as well as industry bodies and commodity associations relevant to our products. These include the International Manganese Institute, the International Lead Institute, the International Zinc Institute, the International Aluminium Institute, the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative, the Australian Coal Industry Research Program and the National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Batteries.

Through our management systems and internal audit processes, we assess, prevent or mitigate potential environmental, health and safety risks to our people and communities. This ensures that the resources we produce are properly managed when in our control and we work with other stakeholders in the supply chain to promote responsible use of our products after they have left our control.

As part of our commitment to the safe stewardship of our traded commodities, we maintain up-to-date safety data sheets (SDSs) based on the latest available criteria and testing. The SDSs outline the products’ health, safety and environmental aspects to allow their safe and responsible use. For products where chemical safety assessments are required by law, we also supply exposure scenario information to our customers, which covers risk management measures for the identified uses of our products.

Enterprise and Supplier Development

We support the development and growth of small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs), which contribute to the South African economy as it transitions towards fair economic distribution and the alleviation of poverty. We aim to work with an increasing number of Black-owned suppliers and support them to progress beyond the 51 per cent level of Black ownership defined by the South African Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Codes. We identify existing and potential suppliers to support socio-economic development in local communities.

Our supplier partnerships comply with our operational Social and Labour Plans, the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act, 2003, Mining Charter, 2018 and the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002.

We hold local supplier events to highlight opportunities and provide development programs that help small businesses become procurement ready, increase sales, build competitiveness and enter the value chain of large companies, including South32.

We continue to provide training to SMMEs to help to meet their needs, providing training on financial management, corporate governance, health and safety, human resources and modern slavery.

Hillside Aluminium partners with Solana Energy to boost local renewable energy

A photo of buildings connected by a pipeline at Hillside Aluminium

Hillside Aluminium partners with Solana Energy to boost local renewable energy

In June 2022, Hillside Aluminium launched a partnership with Solana Energy to bring solar energy to one of South Africa's most important commercial hubs.

The multi-phased project involves the establishment of solar power infrastructure in the Richard's Bay and King Cetshwayo District (KCD) economic regions, which is expected to add between 2 to 2.5MW of renewable energy capacity to the local grid within 12 months.

This will help businesses that supply Hillside Aluminium to start seeing the benefits of renewable electricity. Through the project, a Solar Training Academy will be developed to upskill young electricians in the fields of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) technology.

P46 , 2022 Sustainable Development Report

Procurement from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suppliers 

We remain committed to providing genuine access and support to build the capability and capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses where we have a presence. Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses is fundamental to achieving our purpose.

We engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suppliers at different levels of our supply chain, with local sourcing teams explaining to prospective suppliers our procurement processes and how to work with South32. We also work closely with our contractors to facilitate relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suppliers.

Learn more about how we engage with local Indigenous, Traditional and Tribal Peoples in the places we operate.

Greenhouse gas emissions reduction across the value chain

Forging strong relationships with value chain partners is an important part of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the value chain. We work together to reduce GHG emissions by sharing insights, enhancing monitoring and reporting, developing scalable innovation and linking performance to targets.

We continue to identify potential partners for collaboration on Scope 3 GHG emissions reduction, particularly those partners who provide goods and services to South32.

Our dedicated carbon markets team, established in FY22, manages our position in carbon markets and the associated due diligence requirements. This team works with the business to provide due diligence guidance on the procurement of renewable energy solutions and carbon offsets.

Proudly supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses

Proudly supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses

In FY22 we significantly increased our procurement of goods and services from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses across our Australian locations. 

We exceeded our RAP commitment by 23 per cent, investing more than $25 million with Indigenous businesses across Australia, and entered into some exciting partnerships at our Australian locations.

Key documents