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Case study: How BP protects human rights across its operations

BP is committed to identifying and addressing human rights risks and impacts directly linked with its operations globally  Tweet This!, including the rights of its workforce and those living in communities affected by BP’s activities. BP’s current focus areas include the recruitment, working and living conditions of contracted workforces at its sites, responsible security, community grievance mechanisms, and channels for workforces to raise concerns.

 

This case study is based on the 2017 Sustainability Report by BP published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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In 2013, BP launched a human rights policy which reinforced BP’s responsibility to respect human rights, shaped its approach to human rights protection, and also informed how BP seeks to influence its partners and suppliers. In order to protect human rights across its operations BP took action to:

  • protect labour rights
  • conduct modern slavery risk reviews
  • prevent negative impacts on communities
  • train security forces on human rights

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2017 Sustainability Report BP identified a range of material issues, such as people and ethics, climate change and the energy transition, safety, society (e.g. community engagement), governance and risk. Among these, protecting human rights across its operations stands out as a key material issue for BP.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups BP engages with:

Stakeholder Group
Communities
Employees
Governments
Industry associations
Non-governmental organisations
Shareholders and analysts

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics BP met with approximately 100 different organisations, from investors to NGOs and business partners, to identify the issues that mattered most to them, and also held sessions with its employees.

What actions were taken by BP to protect human rights across its operations?

In its 2017 Sustainability Report BP reports that it took the following actions for protecting human rights across its operations:

  • Protecting labour rights
  • BP’s code of conduct requires employees to report any human rights abuses in its operations or those of its business partners. BP expects contractors and their employees to act in accordance with its code of conduct, human rights policy and its expectations of suppliers. BP’s standard procurement contracts include requirements for suppliers to respect internationally recognised human rights, including a specific ban on the use of forced, trafficked or child labour. In 2017, in a number of locations, including Brazil, Indonesia, Iraq and the UK, BP held supplier events to communicate its expectations on labour rights and discussed the action it is taking, the need to raise concerns and the importance of its suppliers communicating this to their own employees, suppliers and business partners. In addition, drawing on its work with industry peers, BP developed a human rights due diligence process that can be used to screen suppliers in a consistent manner anywhere in the world, and is using it with suppliers on a risk-prioritised basis, to understand how they manage these risks in their business and supply chain. BP also carries out labour rights audits or assessments when appropriate, focusing on working hours, recruitment processes, freedom of movement, employment contracts, and channels for workers to raise complaints without retaliation.
  • Conducting modern slavery risk reviews
  • As some parts of its supply chain may pose a higher risk of labour rights and modern slavery issues than others, BP takes a risk-based approach to monitoring its contractors and suppliers by considering countries that pose a high degree of risk, activities that rely on manual labour, and factors related to the vulnerability of the workforce, such as poverty levels. Using this approach, in 2017 BP prioritised 17 businesses for modern slavery risk reviews and mapped its supply chain in these cases to identify high risk contractors. In some instances, this initial screening led to further assessment through questionnaires or on-site labour rights assessments, including worker interviews. These assessments focus on key warning signs such as passport retention, recruitment or other fees, wage deductions, employment contracts, working hours, shift patterns and living conditions.
  • Preventing negative impacts on communities
  • BP works hard to prevent and reduce any negative impacts on the livelihoods, land, environment, culture, health and wellbeing of people in communities near its activities, including indigenous peoples. Accordingly, BP screens its major projects to identify and manage any potential impacts, including human rights. If BP does cause or contribute to adverse impacts on the human rights of communities near its operations, it is firmly committed to providing for, or co-operating in, making it right.
  • Training security forces on human rights
  • BP works with security forces who protect its facilities around the world to reinforce the importance of respecting human rights. BP supports the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, and these principles guide how BP works with the security forces that protect its facilities. The principles emphasise the need to understand and respect the human rights of BP’s workforce, and people living in communities near its operations. BP provides training on the principles for its employees accountable for managing security, and carries out assessments to identify areas for improvement.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 407-1 Operations and suppliers in which the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining may be at risk

2) Disclosure 408-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of child labor

3) Disclosure 409-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of forced or compulsory labor

4) Disclosure 410-1 Security personnel trained in human rights policies or procedures

5) Disclosure 411-1 Incidents of violations involving rights of indigenous peoples

6) Disclosure 412-3 Significant investment agreements and contracts that include human rights clauses or that underwent human rights screening

7) Disclosure 414-2 Negative social impacts in the supply chain and actions taken

 

Disclosure 407-1 Operations and suppliers in which the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining may be at risk corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Freedom of association and collective bargaining

Disclosure 408-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of child labor corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Abolition of child labor
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • Business theme: Abolition of child labor

Disclosure 409-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of forced or compulsory labor corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Elimination of forced or compulsory labor

Disclosure 410-1 Security personnel trained in human rights policies or procedures corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • Business theme: Security

Disclosure 411-1 Incidents of violations involving rights of indigenous peoples corresponds to:

Disclosure 412-3 Significant investment agreements and contracts that include human rights clauses or that underwent human rights screening does not correspond to any SDG.

Disclosure 414-2 Negative social impacts in the supply chain and actions taken corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Business theme: Workplace violence and harassment
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Labor practices in the supply chain
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • Business theme: Workplace violence and harassment

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

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References:

1) This case study is based on published information by BP, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) http://www.fbrh.co.uk/en/global-reporting-initiative-gri-g4-guidelines-download-page

3) https://g4.globalreporting.org/Pages/default.aspx

4) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

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