The chief executive of BHP Billiton says a ‘direct action’ approach to dealing with climate change is the best way to protect trade-exposed industries.

BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie said he supports the Abbott government’s direct action policies, which consist of paying companies not to pollute, hiring people to plants trees and pick up rubbish, and storing carbon in soil.

“So far I am finding these discussions constructive and we have a number of ideas,” Mr Mackenzie told BHP’s annual meeting in Perth.

“We are looking very keenly at what we can do with [the Abbott government’s] direct action measure that will protect the competitiveness of trade-exposed industries across Australia, not just ours,” he said.

BHP Chairman Jac Nasser was slightly more reserved when asked about the direct action plans, more eager to make sure business would not suffer.

“What you do not want is to be in a situation where you charge ahead in one direction and ruin the competitiveness of industry in Australia,” Nasser said.

“Now is a good time to stop and re-evaluate what the best way forward is.”