Report Jan. 8, 2024
Respecting human rights
Report Jan. 8, 2024
Our commitment to respecting human rights is embedded throughout our corporate policies, practices, and expectations. We are guided by the goals of universally recognized human rights principles as we identify and mitigate the potential impacts of our activities.
- We strive to have a positive influence on our workforce and in the communities where we operate.
- We condemn human rights violations in any form, and we actively express these views in our engagements with governments and other stakeholders.
- We do not use forced or compulsory labor in our operations, and we forbid the use of child labor in our workforce.
We are committed to respecting human rights as a fundamental principle in our operations. Our approach is guided by the goals of universally recognized principles, which are integrated into our policies, practices, and expectations, and regularly reinforced through training. Our human rights efforts reflect the spirit and intent of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Our human rights efforts also support the International Labour Organization 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (ILO Declaration), including:
- Freedom of association and effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.
- Elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor.
- Effective abolition of child labor.
- Elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
- Safe and healthy working environments.
Our policies and practices incorporate elements of the 2011 U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) “Protect, Respect and Remedy” framework for the distinct but complementary roles of businesses and governments regarding human rights including commitments, due diligence, and access to remedy.
When applicable, our practices are also guided by the goals of the:
- Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.
- U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- ILO Convention 169 Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries.
In addition, we participate in related international initiatives, including our active involvement with Ipieca, the “global oil and gas association for advancing environmental and social performance across the energy transition.”1 Our engagement with Ipieca also includes developing and sharing practices on human rights due diligence and human rights supply chain management across the oil, natural gas, and other extractive industries.
Integrated into our policies and practices
Defining our expectations for ethical conduct, our Standards of Business Conduct include our “foundation policies” and incorporate key elements of the U.N. Global Compact. The Board of Directors adopts and oversees the administration of these standards, which uphold the values of human rights, labor, the environment, and anti-corruption. Wholly owned and majority-owned subsidiaries of Exxon Mobil Corporation generally adopt policies similar to the Corporation’s foundation policies, and these foundation policies collectively express expectations for directors, officers, and employees.
Core policies from our Standards of Business Conduct include:
- Ethics: We comply with applicable governmental laws, rules, and regulations.
- Health: We identify, evaluate, and manage health risks related to our operations that could affect employees, contractors, or the public.
- Complaint procedures and open-door communication: These encourage employees to ask questions, voice concerns, and make appropriate suggestions regarding the business practices of the Corporation.
- Environment: We conduct our business in a manner compatible with the balanced environmental and economic needs of the communities in which we operate.
- Safety: We conduct our business in a manner that protects the safety of employees, others involved in operations, customers, and the public.
- Equal Employment Opportunity: We provide equal employment opportunity in conformance with all applicable laws and regulations to individuals who are qualified to perform job requirements.
Our Statement on Labor and the Workplace reinforces ExxonMobil’s commitment to providing positive, productive, and supportive work environments. Additionally, our Standards of Business Conduct provide a framework for responsible operations and are consistent with the spirit and intent of the ILO Declaration. ExxonMobil and its affiliates support these principles, developing and implementing policies, procedures, and practices that align with applicable laws, as well as local circumstances and customs, to accomplish the objectives of the ILO Declaration. This includes recognizing and respecting employees’ right to join associations and choose representative organizations for the purpose of engaging in collective bargaining or providing alternative means for employees to voice concerns.
Our Statement of Principles on Security and Human Rights highlights our commitment to conduct business in a way that protects the security of personnel, facilities, and operations and respects human rights. The framework guides our wholly owned and majority-owned operating affiliates on managing interactions with host government-assigned security and private security providers. It also offers guidance for documenting and reporting allegations of human rights abuses in the protection of our assets.
Our Supplier, Vendor, and Contractor Expectations call for the operations and business practices of these entities to be conducted in a manner consistent with the ILO Declaration, which recognizes freedom of association and includes the elimination of child labor, forced labor, and workplace discrimination. They also communicate our expectation of respecting human rights in a manner consistent with the goals of the UNGPs. Our suppliers, vendors, and contractors are held to stringent compliance, anti-corruption, conflict of interest, safety, and other guidelines in order to remain in good standing.
Reinforced through training
We reinforce our commitment to respecting human rights through training. Our Standards of Business Conduct are a key part of onboarding new employees, and our Standards are reinforced and communicated to employees annually. Employees are regularly required to complete business practices training, which is planned to be conducted again in 2024. The training covers select foundation policies (ethics, for example), as well as procedures for raising concerns and facilitating open communication with management. Our wholly owned and majority-owned subsidiaries generally adopt policies similar to our foundation policies and provide similar training.
Human rights training is available to all employees globally to build an understanding of these topics and an awareness of risks. Human rights is also included as a core element of our socioeconomic management training offered in an instructor-led training environment.
Highlights of our human rights training in recent years:
- Since 2016, we have supported the development and delivery of training on the goals of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights to more than 60,000 security service providers and members of government security forces.
- Over the past several years, human rights awareness training has been available to our employees, including professionals in the procurement function, to improve their understanding of human rights issues and awareness of potential human rights risks. Since 2016, more than 1,700 procurement employees have received tailored training on this topic.
Management and application
We identify, assess, and manage human rights risks and opportunities through practices that support due diligence and access to remedy. On a quarterly basis, topics related to human rights are reviewed by the Chairman and Management Committee.
Our efforts are focused on:
- Communities and people.
- Workforce and supply chain.
Our practices support early identification and assessment of potential human rights impacts, along with other socioeconomic impacts and opportunities associated with our activities. We work to avoid or reduce any human rights or socioeconomic risk through comprehensive planning, effective mitigation, monitoring, and other measures. As part of our Environmental, Socioeconomic, and Health Impact Assessment and Management process, we conduct initial country assessments that include early identification of qualitative human rights risks. We also apply a human rights risk screening tool to support our analysis of these potential risks at country, project, and operations levels, incorporating elements aligned with key global human rights principles.
Our socioeconomic management practices are guided by our Environmental Aspects Guide, which considers environmental, social, and economic characteristics. Such practices are consistent with our Environment Policy and Operations Integrity Management System (OIMS), which also guides our approach to identifying, assessing, and managing potential human rights impacts.
Access to remedy
Consistent with international standards, we provide effective, accessible, and culturally appropriate channels for individuals or communities to raise concerns in a way that seeks to support confidentiality and non-retaliation. We make these available through our community and operations-level grievance management processes, as well as our complaint procedures and open-door communication for employees.
More information can be found here on how our processes and practices for stakeholder engagement and grievance management support our integrated approach to human rights and access to remedy.
Communities and people
Our goal is to enhance the benefits of our business to local communities and to appropriately manage environmental, socioeconomic and health risks. Our socioeconomic management practices support our integrated approach to respecting human rights and include elements such as community health, safety and security; local economic development; land use, resettlement and livelihood restoration; cultural heritage; and Indigenous peoples.
More information on our approach to socioeconomic management and our commitment to engaging with stakeholders in our communities the can be found here.
Since 2002, ExxonMobil has been a member of the Voluntary Principles Initiative (VPI), a multi-stakeholder effort supporting the implementation of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR). Each year, we disclose an update on our activities and processes in support of the principles, with additional focus on regions facing geopolitical conflict. In 2023, VPI published this annual report on their website for the first time.
Our standard contracts for security services include provisions, where appropriate, requiring training for security personnel on expectations and responsibilities associated with one or more of the goals articulated in international principles, local laws and regulations:
- ExxonMobil’s Statement of Principles on Security and Human Rights.
- Local laws and regulations.
- Provisions of the U.N. Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
- International Labour Organization’s 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
- U.N. Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials.
- U.N. Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.
- Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.
These standard security services contract provisions also require contractors to monitor, report, and investigate credible allegations of human rights abuses and to immediately remove any of their personnel credibly alleged to have committed a human rights abuse.
ExxonMobil operates in places where engagement with host governments is needed to support security and respect for human rights in local operations. Where host governments require us to engage their official government security forces, we work to have written agreements with the host nations that include expectations for respecting human rights consistent with the goals of the VPSHR.
We help train security providers on the goals of the VPSHR and provide targeted training for ExxonMobil personnel in global affiliates where host government security forces are engaged. The training focuses on our expectations for host government security deployment, including identification of the risks of security-related human rights impacts in communities.
Workforce and suppliers
We respect the human rights of our workforce through our focus on workforce development, safety, security and health, as well as our procedures for complaints and open-door communication. Details on management and implementation in these areas can be found at these links:
- Workforce development
- Workforce health
- Workplace security
- Workforce safety
- Complaint procedures and open-door communication
We use an integrated, risk-based due diligence approach that focuses on workplace rights and leverages our current practices and systems to identify, assess and manage potential human rights risks within our supply chain.
Before awarding a contract, we screen suppliers across several compliance areas, including sanctions, anti-corruption, and human trafficking. We use third-party information such as government and media databases. Our due diligence process for identifying, assessing and monitoring human rights risks focuses on three factors: the supplier, the commodity, and the location. Identification of a higher risk in these areas triggers further assessment of a supplier’s policies and risk management practices prior to continuing with the contracting process.
More information on broader supply chain management can be found here.
To monitor our effectiveness, we have processes to track performance across the specific areas associated with communities and people, security, workforce, and suppliers. Additionally, through monitoring and evaluation of feedback and emerging trends, as well as grievance mechanisms at our project and operating sites, we develop or enhance associated management plans and incorporate learnings into our training programs.
We continue to engage with evolving international initiatives:
- From 2020 to 2023, ExxonMobil helped develop the new edition of the Human Rights Due Diligence Guide, the Labour Rights Risk Identification in the Supply Chain, the Supply Chain Library of Questions and Resources, and Online Labour Rights Training, all published by Ipieca.
Key examples of our disclosures and compliance with laws and regulations related to human rights include:
- Annual Slavery and Human Trafficking Statements in accordance with the U.K. Modern Slavery Act of 2015.
- The annual Australia Modern Slavery Statement of ExxonMobil Australia Pty Ltd, Mobil PNG Gas Holdings Pty Ltd and related reporting entities, in accordance with the Australia Modern Slavery Act of 2018.
- The annual Norway Transparency Act Statement 2023 for each of Esso Norge AS and ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Norway AS, in accordance with the Norwegian Transparency Act.
- Our annual conflict minerals filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, providing disclosures regarding our supply chain for gold, tin, tungsten, and tantalum.
Our values in practice: Workforce housing and accommodations
From the early stages of construction through the life of a project, when needed, we provide temporary or long-term accommodations for employees and contractors on site to facilitate the building, operation, and maintenance of our facilities.
Our requirements for these sites are tailored to each project and location to support the welfare of our workforce, respect human rights, and avoid or mitigate risks to community health, safety, and security. Where applicable, frameworks such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) standards or the ILO Maritime Labor Convention, 2006 (covering offshore camps) are used to inform our requirements.
Our worker housing and accommodations are designed to provide:
- Healthy and hygienic housing.
- Nutritious, balanced meals in accordance with cultural preferences.
- Means for residents to register grievances in a manner free from reprisal or consequences.
- Opportunities and facilities for exercise, recreation, relaxation, and worship.
- Safe and comfortable living accommodations, without discrimination by gender, race, origin or other applicable protected status.
In addition, we strive to foster an environment of understanding and tolerance among our workforce to minimize cultural conflicts and reduce the risk of worker unrest, disruption, or dissatisfaction due to perceptions of exclusion or discrimination.
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