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Our Approach to Human Rights



All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Human rights recognise the inherent value of each person, based on principles of dignity, equality and mutual respect. Respect for human rights is at the core of our sustainability journey. We celebrate the diversity, dignity and uniqueness of every individual. Together, we can make a difference, improving people’s lives now and for generations to come. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it is critical to the success and integrity of operating as a responsible business.

Our commitment

We are committed to respecting all internationally recognised human rights as set out in the International Bill of Rights (comprising the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) and the International Labour Organization Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

Our approach is guided by the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). While we work to respect the rights of all stakeholders, we particularly focus our efforts on those people most vulnerable to harm, marginalised and at-risk groups, including Indigenous, Traditional and Tribal Peoples.

Meeting our commitment

Meeting our commitment

The principles that support us to meet our commitment include:
  • We conduct ongoing human rights due diligence to help us identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how we address any involvement in human rights risks across our operations2, projects and business relationships;
  • We provide accessible and safe grievance and redress channels for stakeholders to raise complaints about human rights;
  • We have legitimate processes where we cooperate in the remediation of adverse human rights impacts that we have identified as having caused or contributed to; and
  • We tailor our approach to the individual context at each location where we work.

Our management approach

Our approach to human rights aims to manage risks to people across our operations and business relationships, with a particular focus on risks to vulnerable, marginalised and at-risk groups, including Indigenous, Traditional and Tribal Peoples.

  • We undertake a range of human rights due diligence activities, including regular human rights risk and impact assessments at our operations and projects, and assessments of the human rights risks within our supply chain.3
  • We provide a range of mechanisms for raising human rights concerns, including our internal complaints processes, a confidential, global whistleblower hotline and a community complaints and grievances process at each of our operations and projects.
  • We engage meaningfully with communities and other potentially impacted rightsholders. We encourage an open civic space and respect human rights and environmental defenders, with a commitment to non-retaliation.
  • We work to reduce the risk of modern slavery4 within our operations and supply chains.
  • We support the rights to freedom of association, collective bargaining, provision of decent work and provision of a living wage.
  • We work to provide and maintain a safe workplace and create and maintain a work environment free from discrimination and harassment.
  • We have commenced conducting human rights due diligence on our tailings storage facilities over their full lifecycle in alignment with the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management.
  • We expect our security providers to respect human rights in line with the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.
  • We conduct regular human rights training for employees and contractors, and where possible, extend these to our suppliers and interested stakeholders.
  • We track the effectiveness of our processes to continually improve our approach and embed human rights across our business, and publicly report our progress.
  • Collaboration is crucial, and we seek to work together with our peers, suppliers, host governments, not-for-profit organisations, rights-holders and the full range of stakeholders to deliver on our commitments. We communicate our human rights expectations to relevant stakeholders.

What guides us

Our approach to human rights is guided by the UNGPs, as well as other global standards and initiatives including:

  • UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
  • UN Global Compact Principles;
  • UN Sustainable Development Goals;
  • Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights; and
  • ICMM Mining Principles: 2 – Decision-Making, 3 – Human Rights and 4 – Risk Management.

Our commitment to respecting human rights is supported by our Board-approved Sustainability Policy, Code of Business Conduct and Modern Slavery Statement and managed through our internal standards, which are supplemented by operational procedures that account for local and regional needs and regulatory requirements. We maintain practices at each of our operations to comply with local laws, and where applicable law differs from the commitments in this approach, we seek to apply the higher standard to meet our human rights commitments.



Our Board has ultimate responsibility for our company’s governance and strategic direction. Our Sustainability Committee assists the Board with its role in overseeing sustainability management, performance, assurance and reporting practises. This includes endorsing our public human rights commitments and monitoring the adequacy and effectiveness of our management approach. Overall management accountability is assigned to our Chief Legal and External Affairs Officer, with our Chief Operating Officers and Chief Development Officer responsible for implementation at our operations and projects.

We periodically undertake internal assurance and independent third-party assurance, where appropriate, to assess compliance with our internal standards, as well as the ICMM Mining Principles and associated Performance Expectations, with a view to continually improving human rights risk management and performance.



This approach applies to all Directors, management, employees, contractors and third parties who act on behalf of South32. It is made available both internally on our intranet and externally at We also expect suppliers to respect human rights as set out in our Sustainability and Business Conduct - Minimum Supplier Requirements. We endeavour to influence our non-operated joint ventures to support the adoption of standards of conduct consistent with ours, as relevant within the limits of the joint venture arrangements.

Our approach will be reviewed every two years, or more frequently, if necessary, so it remains relevant and appropriate to South32’s human rights activities. Updates to our approach were approved by our Chief Executive Officer in September 2023.




1 Article 1, Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

2 Including tailings storage facilities.

3 Due diligence on our supply chain is described in our Modern Slavery Statement that is published annually.

4 As defined in the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth).