BP (British Petroleum) is a global corporation that discovers, extracts, transports and refines oil and gas in order to provide energy to the world. The crude oil is refined into much needed products such as high quality fuel, motor oils, bitumen and other chemicals found in every-day items such as adhesives and cosmetics.
A difficult challenge primarily from operating on a multinational scale in the petroleum industry is managing a diverse range as well as a large number of sustainability issues. BP’s global operations and footprint can have severe impacts on the environment, individuals, communities and society at large (Sustainability Review, 2012).
This short report will specifically focus on BP’s compliance to international guidelines with regards to “The Human Rights Code”. A brief critical analysis of the company’s existing human rights policy and the enforcement thereof shall be assessed.
Before reviewing the current policy and practices it is important to look too the past in order to assess progress and development of policies and practices over time. Since the company’s inception there have been numerous incidents and issues that have severely affected BP’s reputation globally. BP’s current code of conduct, human rights policy and sustainability reporting is trying to overcome previous transgressions and ultimately prevent similar issues in future. The aim is to improve safety, earn back trust and grow value for all stakeholders (Sustainability Review, 2012).
History and Context
BP’s controversial history dates back to as far as BP’s very first beginnings. It was founded by a man named William Knox D’Arcy who received a concession to search for oil in Persia (now Iran) who discovered the biggest oil find of that time. The British government became the main stakeholder in the founding company (AIOC) in light of World War I. Human rights violations can be traced back to this time where Iranian workers lived in what was referred to as “ the paper city” whilst the British officials oversaw them from air-conditioned villas. The inequality was evident and whilst famine and cholera affected the workers they continued to provide the needed fuel for the ongoing World War at the time. The Iranians were not happy about the British presence and the Iranian premier in 1951 nationalised BP’s (then known as AIOC) assets in 1951. British intelligence with the help of the CIA commenced “operation Ajax”. They overthrew the government in a coup during 1953 and thereafter handed the country back to a pro-western shah (Times Magazine, June 2010).
In 1954 the company rebranded itself British Petroleum however the company’s image was tarnished in the middle east. The Shah soon thereafter turned tyrannical to the people and the coup directly led to the Iranian revolution of 1979. The era of anti-Amercanism in the middle east began and BP efforts in the middle east where minimised by Arab-state nationalisations (Times Magazine, June 2010)....