Petrofac operates in challenging environments where human rights issues can become a source of risk, both for our business and for some of the people who work on our sites.
We’re committed to embedding and advancing respect for human rights throughout our business operations, including our extended supply chain. We aim to work in accordance with the United Nations Global Compact and its principles, as well as the core conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Strengthening our approach to protecting human rights
Understanding and addressing potential human rights issues is a matter of priority for Petrofac.
Our Labour Rights Standard sets out the expectations and requirements of our people, subcontractors and suppliers. Meanwhile, our annual transparency statement, published in compliance with the UK Modern Day Slavery Act, sets out the steps that Petrofac Limited and its subsidiary companies (referred to collectively as ‘Petrofac’) took to strengthen our approach and embed the underlying principles throughout our operations.
2018 marked a change in our focus with regard to respecting human rights. As reported in previous years, our main exposure to potential human rights issues is through our supply chain and, more specifically, its employment of low-skilled migrant workers from ‘high risk’ countries.
We had therefore worked to understand the true extent of this exposure, develop our policy framework, and establish our response. We conducted due diligence, developed a Labour Rights Standard, set out our future commitments, and established a Labour Rights Steering Group.
In 2018, we shifted our attention to awareness raising, training, capacity building, and ensuring that our requirements are understood and implemented across our extended supply chain.
Addressing risks via sustainable remediation
Through our due diligence programmes, we know that the main human rights vulnerability is in the employment of unskilled migrant labour in the supply chain at our large engineering and construction projects, who can be exposed to risks of the charging of excessive recruitment fees, unconsented retention of travel documents and the risk of contract discrepancies, by recruitment agents.
To address this, we have stepped up our scrutiny of subcontractors. For example, as part of the prequalification process, we have included labour rights screening. As part of the ongoing business relationship, we also require them to validate their compliance with all of our rules and standards, including labour rights and worker welfare.
Where we discover an issue, our emphasis is on sustainable remediation – to deal, honestly and openly with our concerns, and agree on a path to the full implementation of our policy requirements and standards.
Implementing a new Worker Welfare Standard
To complement our new Labour Rights Standard, we finalised and launched a new Worker Welfare Standard, this sets out minimum requirements for every Petrofac project and asset and covers topics such as accommodation, catering, recreation, healthcare, transportation, working hours, and workforce engagement.
This commitment to worker wellbeing not only improves the health and morale of our workers, but also increases efficiency, performance, and safety – and is therefore instrumental to achieving our ultimate goal of zero incidents.
Engaging across the sector to respect human rights
We were, of course, assisted by an increased awareness of human rights issues across our sector, and the emergence of new regulations, such as the UK Modern Slavery Act. As a consequence, we were able to step up our collaboration with industry peers and stakeholders, to adopt common principles, and drive industry-wide improvement in working practices.
For example, we participated in various industry bodies, such as IPIECA, the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues, and Building Responsibly, a global contractor coalition committed to promoting the rights and welfare of workers. We also presented our work at several conferences and events, such as the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ annual conference.
We have also teamed up with clients to emphasise our commitment to human rights. For example, we have been active participants in the Oman Labour Forum, a BP-led stakeholder group which seeks to establish common industry practices.
As part of this, we also worked with BP to undertake a mass survey of human rights issues involving 1,200 of our workforce on the US$800 million Khazzan Phase 2 project.
Our commitments for 2019 and beyond
For 2019, our priority will be to continue to roll-out and embed the various initiatives and resources. This will include:
Meanwhile, we will strengthen our subcontractor compliance assurance processes, and will continue with the series of project audits to assess the level of compliance in sites and address any issues encountered.
Looking further ahead, we aim to continue to drive innovation and improvement, and to report on our achievements, incorporating good practice from peer learning.