Anti-corruption compliance is an important part of our commitment to our communities. If left unchecked, corruption deprives communities of the benefits that should flow from the development of natural resources and undermines government decision making. We are determined to play a significant role in the global fight against corruption in the resources industry. Building on a strong framework with a focus on continuous improvement, we have what we consider to be a world-class anti-corruption compliance program.
Anti-corruption standards and procedures
BHP Billiton’s Code of Business Conduct and anti-corruption standard (Group Level Document) clearly prohibit bribery and corruption in all our business dealings (as the Guide did before it). We prohibit making facilitation payments which are payments to government officials to obtain routine services to which BHP Billiton is otherwise legally entitled. The obligations for employees and contractors are clear and the Company provides training and support to ensure they are understood. Similarly, senior management are required to incorporate anti-corruption compliance into business key performance indicators that ultimately determine employee remuneration.
Our anti-corruption standard also requires review or approval by the Compliance Function of activities which potentially involve higher risks of exposure to corruption including:
the provision of gifts, travel, and hospitality (including for government officials) above certain thresholds;
- the offering of commercial sponsorships;
- the offering of community donations or projects;
- acquisitions and divestments.
Compliance Function approval is also required before engaging third parties who interact with others on our behalf (which we refer to as “business partners”) and before entering joint ventures or co-investments. A risk-based system is used to assess business partners and determine due diligence and other compliance requirements prior to approval. All suppliers must comply with various “zero tolerance” requirements, including BHP Billiton’s expectations in relation to anti-corruption compliance.
Other standards and procedures include a prohibition of the use of cash throughout the Company (unless approved by the BHP Billiton Chief Financial Officer) and the development of a tailored anti-corruption audit plan. These finance-related controls have been facilitated by the progressive launch (through to 2012) of our single master data system and the ability to create sensitive payment accounts.
Anti-corruption risk assessments
All Assets and Functions within BHP Billiton are required to conduct regular anti-corruption risk assessments with the Compliance Function focusing their attention on their highest areas of risk. Risk assessments form a critical part of the compliance program, ensuring that resources are focused on the highest areas of risk and that an adequate set of controls has been adopted to mitigate these risks. Anti-corruption risk assessments follow BHP Billiton’s standard risk assessment process, including a process for identifying and regularly testing the effectiveness of the controls which are regarded as critical to manage corruption risk.
Thousands of employees across all of our locations undertake anti-corruption training developed by the Compliance Function. Individuals who require anti-corruption training complete either online training or in-person training direct from a member of the Compliance team focusing on the corruption risks they are likely to face.
Independent monitoring and audit
The Compliance Function conducts regular monitoring of financial and other data to check the operation of key controls such as the requirement to obtain pre-approval before engaging in higher corruption risk transactions and compliance with training requirements.
A separate independent, internal audit team conducts regular anti-corruption audits to assess implementation of anti-corruption controls and to identify transactions and conduct that is not consistent with BHP Billiton’s policies, standards and procedures.
Any breaches of process detected during monitoring or auditing are considered by the Compliance Function to assess whether further investigation is required.
Confidential reporting and investigations
Reporting suspected corruption issues is encouraged at BHP Billiton as we encourage our employees to feel safe to speak up. Reports can be made a number of ways including through a global confidential whistle-blower hotline, EthicsPoint. Any retaliation against someone who speaks up and reports an issue is prohibited by our Code.
The Compliance legal team manages investigations into all potential anti-corruption issues, whether these are reported through EthicsPoint or through employees.
Design and continuous improvement
We know that our compliance journey is never over; we will continue to learn and look for better ways to manage this critical area of business. BHP Billiton’s Compliance Function regularly reviews the design of the anti-corruption compliance program and uses the results of monitoring, audits and investigations to make appropriate enhancements.
These measures collectively make up our anti-corruption compliance program and contribute to the global fight against corruption.
We believe our program to be world-class.
Contact us for further information about BHP Billiton's anti-corruption policies.