Human rights and ethical business principles are at the core of our operations and development endeavors. Integrating social sustainability into our way of thinking requires constant dialogue and true transparency.
One key event in our People efforts where signing of the UN Global Compact in early 2020 and our renewal of our ethical business principles in the St1 Code of Conduct. After identifying the most important development topics for the year and for the near future, it was self-evident that human rights and social sustainability on a larger scale would be at the core of our development work throughout the whole value chain.
We formulated the theme, Impacts on People, which emphasizes that for us as an organization to develop a more sustainable value chain, we must first understand that our impact is not only about emissions, but also consists of the overall impact we have towards society – people, planet, and profit. People – our employees, partners, customers, and the local communities within our sphere of influence – are the key enablers within our value chain.
Working towards robust human rights due diligence
In June 2020, we published our Human Rights Policy, a commitment that was approved by our Board of Directors and published internally. Our approach is based on the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Moreover, we respect the rights laid down in the International Bill of Human Rights as well as in the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. The policy itself is an important document for us, since it not only describes our commitment towards human rights, but also shows that we expect the same from our partners operating within our value chain. We acknowledge that we are not by any means perfect. Nevertheless, we are truly committed to improving our processes and overall competence in the field of human rights. We are dedicated to training our management and employees in discussing human rights matters, and to raising their awareness on possible risk areas, as well as situations in which violations are most likely.
The aim of these efforts is to enable our entire organization to become better equipped to identify the risks and actual impacts relating to human rights.
Risk assessment as the basis for further development
Building a robust human rights governance process requires not only commitment from the whole organization, but also the ability to first of all, identify where the most salient human rights risks occur. During 2020, we conducted a human rights risk assessment in collaboration with Enact. The work encompassed the whole St1 value chain. It focused on identifying potential high-risk issues, evaluating our processes, capacity, and culture in managing human rights risks, and on formulating recommendations for further development steps. The results show that sustainability is at the core of our business, and that the appetite for strengthening social sustainability is strong. All our functions were assessed separately, and we gained very detailed information on what potential risks we could encounter, along with what major risks we may have potentially overlooked. During the process, we identified several best practices and procedures that exist, especially in the health and safety management of terminals, stations, refinery and production facilities, but which at the same time lack the overall group level due diligence process and human rights risk management procedures. The recommendations that were made based on the findings create a solid foundation for our future development in integrating human rights due diligence as part of our daily operations.