Sustainable Development Initiatives at BHP Billiton

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Case Details:

Case Code : BECG088
Case Length : 25 Pages
Period : 2001-2008
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : BHP BIlliton
Industry : Natural Resources
Countries : Global

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"Corporations are increasingly challenged to demonstrate how they can create societal confidence in their conduct. Regulatory compliance alone is ethically and financially problematic and corporations need to make it clear to society that the sole test for their business conduct approach is not a legalistic one, rather, that they are prepared to take responsibility for their actions without the need for highly regulated direction from government."1

- Simon Longstaff, Executive Director, St James Ethics Centre, Australia, and a member of the BHP Billiton Ethics Panel.

"We're not prepared to let the beautiful Nepean River become another victim of BHP Billiton's destructive practices and the Carr Government's indifference."2

- Carline Graham, a Nepean Action Group campaigner, in 2004.


On July 30, 2008, BHP Billiton Limited and Plc (BHP Billiton), the world's largest diversified natural resources company, reported the death of an employee at its Klipspruit Coal Mine3 operation in South Africa.4

Only the previous day, the company had reported an accident at its Nelson Point operations in Port Hedland5.6

Quite expectedly, the company came in for some harsh criticism for its safety standards. At the same time, BHP Billiton was also coming under fire for its environmental practices.

Sustainable Development Initiatives at BHP Billiton - Next Page>>

1] "Sustainable Development Governance,"
2] "Community Stands Up to BHP's Destruction of Rivers,", October 22, 2004.
3] Klipspruit Coal Mine is situated near Ogies in Mpumalanga, a province of South Africa.
4] "Fatal Accident at BHP Billiton Energy Coal South Africa,", July 30, 2008.
5] Port Hedland is the highest tonnage port in Australia and the largest town in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. (Source:
6] "Fatal Accident at BHP Billiton Iron Ore,", July 29, 2008.


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