Respecting human rights

ExxonMobil is committed to respecting human rights as a fundamental principle in our operations. We believe our business presence can and should have a positive influence on the people in the communities in which we operate.

Report Oct. 24, 2018

In this article

Respecting human rights

Our approach to managing human rights

We promote respect for human rights in all aspects of our business. The company’s practices and operations reflect the spirit and intent of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Our Standards of Business Conduct and Statement on Labor and the Workplace guide and direct our efforts throughout our operations. All policies within these Standards are approved and administered by the board of directors.

Our Standards of Business Conduct include our commitment to comply with applicable governmental laws, rules and regulations. Our Statement on Labor and the Workplace reinforces support for the principles of the International Labour Organization 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, notably the elimination of child labor, forced labor and workplace discrimination and harassment, and support for the right of employees to join associations for the purpose of collective bargaining.

Our approach to human rights is guided by elements of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. These principles outline governments’ duty to protect human rights and businesses’ responsibility to respect them. Since 2007, ExxonMobil has worked closely with governments, civil society and industry to help advance the goals of the United Nations Guiding Principles.

We have systemized our approach through various standards, procedures and processes, including our Upstream Socioeconomic Management Standard, which outlines best management practices in various socioeconomic areas, including human rights. Our Operations Integrity Management System plays an important role in managing ongoing risks in the area of human rights. This system — well known for managing operational and environmental risks — has corporate — wide application.

Our efforts to manage human rights issues have evolved in concert with international initiatives. We continually assess our activities to confirm that human rights are respected, as we strive to meet existing ExxonMobil policies, standards, procedures and processes.

Performance and initiatives

ExxonMobil has conducted human rights training for our employees for many years. We believe human rights training helps build understanding of such rights and awareness of potential impacts. In late 2015, we rolled out a new computer-based human rights training module to further enhance employee awareness of human rights. Since that time, more than 1,400 key employees in 46 countries have taken the training. ExxonMobil works closely with IPIECA to monitor business and human rights trends. We are currently collaborating with IPIECA to collect information on best practices in human rights supply chain management from the oil and gas industry as well as other industries.

Security and human rights

ExxonMobil is committed to conducting business in a way that protects the security of its personnel, facilities and operations and respects human rights.

Our security programs are designed to be risk-based and flexible, given the dynamic environments in which we operate. We conduct local risk assessments to identify security threats, potentials for violence and determine appropriate security countermeasures including the provision of private or host government security.

The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights are a set of principles designed to guide companies in maintaining the safety and security of their operations within an operating framework that encourages respect for human rights. Participants in the Voluntary Principles initiative include representatives from governments, civil society and the extractives industry. We participate in the Voluntary Principles. Engaging and training host government and private security on the Voluntary Principles is key to reducing human rights risks in certain communities.

ExxonMobil’s Framework on Security and Human Rights establishes the expectation for providing security for personnel, facilities and operations in a manner that respects human rights. The Framework provides a comprehensive set of expectations to our majority-owned operating affiliates on how to manage interactions with both host government-assigned security and private security providers. Our Framework also includes the expectation for documenting any allegations of human rights abuses by public or private security personnel and recording any incidents of inappropriate physical force used by security providers in the protection of company assets. Depending on the nature of an incident, our procedures include reporting to host governments.

Most ExxonMobil operations rely on the use of unarmed private security providers. Standard contract language includes provisions requiring personnel to be trained in, and act consistently with, the following:

  • Our Framework on Security and Human Rights
  • Local laws and regulations
  • Provisions of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights
  • The Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work of the 1998 International Labour Organization Declaration
  • UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials
  • UN Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials

The contract provisions also require contractors to monitor, report and investigate any credible allegation of human rights abuses and to remove any of their personnel found to have committed human rights abuse. In 2014, ExxonMobil created a Security and Human Rights Implementation Guidance document to provide consistent guidance on expectations for security providers.

In some instances, ExxonMobil engages with host governments regarding the provision of host government security. Agreements have been signed with host governments in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Chad and Colombia. These agreements include expectations for respecting human rights consistent with the Voluntary Principles, including compliance with relevant local, United Nations and other security-related frameworks.

Performance and initiatives

Engaging and training on — the — ground security personnel regarding the Voluntary Principles is key to reducing human rights risks. In 2017, more than 5,000 host government security and ExxonMobil-contracted security personnel were trained on the Voluntary Principles across 12 higher-risk countries.

Human rights in the supply chain

ExxonMobil is committed to respecting human rights, and we expect the same of our suppliers. We strive to use our influence with our direct suppliers to encourage them to embrace the commitment to respect human rights. Learn more about supply chain management.

In 2016, we published our ExxonMobil’s supplier, vendor and contractor expectations, a set of guidelines that outlines our expectations of contractors and suppliers inclusive of human rights. These expectations include references to key international human rights frameworks such as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the International Labour Organization Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. In 2017, ExxonMobil’s supplier, vendor and contractor expectations became part of an annual letter we send to our suppliers.

Performance and initiatives

In 2016, we developed human rights awareness training tailored to procurement professionals in the supply chain. We have trained more than 150 ExxonMobil procurement professionals since its launch in 2016. In 2017, we developed and delivered training to approximately 30 facility project managers and procurement staff to heighten awareness of human rights and labor issues on construction projects.

Further, in 2016, we developed a process to review materials purchased in countries included in the U.S. Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor to help us identify any purchases of goods at risk for forced or child labor. While this review does not assess the country of origination of the material, it enables us to assess purchases of higher-risk commodities in the locations included in the list from the U.S. Department of Labor. We identified approximately 300 purchases for further review. Based on the information gathered, no purchases were identified at risk for forced or child labor in 2016. In 2017, we repeated this exercise and we are currently following up on a similar number of purchases. This process uses data from our global purchasing systems combined with information on higher-risk commodities and locations to increase awareness and prioritize mitigation efforts in our direct supply chain.

The UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 contemplates that certain commercial organizations will prepare an annual slavery and human trafficking statement. Read the 2017 Esso UK Limited signed statement for additional information.

ExxonMobil is required to make certain disclosures to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) concerning supply sources for conflict minerals – principally consisting of gold, tin, tungsten or tantalum – that may be necessary to the manufacture or functionality of our products. Read our 2017 SEC filing.

Addressing community issues

ExxonMobil works in communities all over the world, each with their own unique cultures, needs and sensitivities. We strive to have a positive effect on the individual communities in which we live and operate, and develop long-term, positive relationships.

We believe that early identification, planning and engagement are essential to optimize opportunities for creating and enhancing positive socioeconomic effects and for successfully implementing appropriate avoidance, reduction and remedy risk mitigation measures for addressing community issues.

ExxonMobil’s Upstream Socioeconomic Management Standard is designed to support identification of potential socioeconomic issues and risks early in the lifecycle of Upstream projects. This Standard is intended to complement existing policies and procedures for conducting assessments and develop mitigation measures to identify and address potential project impacts on local communities. This includes compliance with host country regulatory requirements, respecting human rights, building local economic capacity and engaging with relevant external groups. The Standard was originally adopted in 2010, and is regularly reviewed and revised to provide consistency with ExxonMobil and industry terminology, best practices and processes. The most recent revision was in 2015.

Performance and initiatives

Our stakeholder engagement planning process includes provisions for establishing a systematic and transparent grievance management process to address individual and community concerns. When appropriate, dedicated personnel develop and manage a process to map, track, analyze and respond to community grievances.

Our company has developed a risk assessment tool — now integrated into our Environmental, Socioeconomic and Health Impact Assessment process — that enhances operational due diligence by strengthening awareness of potential human rights impacts and risks.

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