Energy giant bp announced the publication of its updated Human Rights policy, expanding on the initial policy published seven years ago.

bp has been amongst the most proactive energy majors in boosting its sustainability profile, with recent announcements including the company’s net zero ambition, explicit goals to positively benefit biodiversity, and its new purpose, ‘for people and our planet’. In the company’s updated human rights policy, bp has become more explicit in its commitments to particular vulnerable groups, in the terminology used to define its policies, and about the company’s approach to specific human rights issues that affect its operations.

Some of the updates included in bp’s updated policy include:

  • More explicit commitments to respecting the rights of vulnerable groups, including the LGBT+ community, women in the developing world, as well as minorities and indigenous people.
  • A statement on the value bp attaches to open societies, respect for civic freedoms and the rule of law, and recognizing the important role that human rights defenders can play in the countries where the operate.
  • More detail on bp’s approach to respecting human rights in important areas, including water and sanitation, land rights, freedom of speech and worker rights.

Commenting on the company’s updated human rights policy, and its connection to bp’s broader sustainability efforts, Nili Safavi, bp’s Manager of Human Rights and Social Performance, said:

“Respecting our workforce and local communities is absolutely key to enabling a fair energy transition – making sure they are not left behind as we move from traditional fossil fuels to newer sources of energy, but rather that we work with government, civil society, trades unions and others to enable them to  thrive through opportunities to be reskilled, support for jobs and livelihoods and benefit from future resources.”

In a related blog post, bp Executive Vice President Strategy and Sustainability, Giulia Chierchia added:

“One way for an organisation of the size and global reach of bp to avoid being associated with injustice – however inadvertently – is to have a clear position on human rights. One that applies across bp and in every country in which we operate.

“bp’s business and human rights policy has long guided us in how to operate responsibly, with the human rights of our colleagues, workforce and communities firmly in mind.

“Following a period of extensive review and consultation with a variety of key NGOs and independent organisations, we are today publishing our updated human rights policy. This is a significant update, which sets out how our approach has evolved and provides more detail on how we deliver our commitments.”