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Eni’s commitment to respect human rights

Our approach, which is based on respect for human rights, is designed to ensure the dignity of every human being, and the wellbeing of people and communities everywhere we work.

Our commitment

We look to the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, as well as international agreements, as a crucial point of reference for our activities, regulatory system and governance, which are designed to protect the dignity of every human being and the wellbeing of our people. Eni’s commitment is explained in its Statement on Respect for Human Rights and is included in other key company regulatory documents such as the Code of Ethics  and the Sustainability Policy. Eni's approach to Human Rights is also confirmed in the Global Framework Agreement on Industrial Relations (internationally) and on Corporate Social Responsibility, renewed in June 2019, where there is an explicit reference to the UNGPs.

Eni has also published "Eni for Human Rights", the first complete report by the company with transparent information on its concrete commitment to human rights, based on its last few years of work, with the collaboration and contribution of international experts and industry organisations. Published for the first time in December 2019, the new edition in June 2020 has an update on the company's commitment to human rights and the action it has taken in the field.

The CEO, along with other 35 CEOs of other major companies that are part of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has joined the Call to Action Initiative through which CEOs and top managers communicated their commitment on the topic in addition to signing the CEO Guide on Human Rights.

Key areas

We carried out our journey by identifying the main issues concerning Human Rights, including through comparisons and seminars with our senior managers. We have set out four key areas to pursue these aims: human rights in the workplace; human rights in the supply chain; human rights in communities; human rights in security operations. We are guided in all areas by strict principles and internal auditing, aimed at preventing any violations and mitigating negative effects as far as possible.

Main issues in Eni concerning Human Rights

In the process of identifying Eni’s salient Human Rights issues, the preliminary outcomes following the Workshop can be grouped into four main clusters:

Human rights in the workplace Human rights in contracting and procurement Human rights in communities Human Rights and Security
Discrimination and equal treatment based on religion, ethnicity and gender; Modern day slavery Land rights Excessive use of force by public and private security forces
Safe and healthy working conditions Migrant workers Environmental impacts resulting in impacts on livelihood, health, water availability of communities and Indigenous Peoples Employee security in high-risk environments
Freedom of association and Collective bargaining Freedom of association and Collective bargaining Project closure
Working conditions (wages and working hours)
Safe and healthy working conditions

Due diligence

Eni is committed to carrying out a due diligence process on its activities with regard to their respect for human rights. Eni constantly assesses and monitors its actual and potential impact on human rights, so it can identify specific strategies and solutions in a constant effort to more effectively prevent and mitigate any negative impact. As part of integrating human rights into our processes and practices, Eni gives specific instructions and specialist training to its employees, while also delivering awareness-raising initiatives for sub-contractors and other business partners. We assess and monitor the effectiveness of its activities and reports on our performance. Eni is also committed to respecting the four fundamental working standards in the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work:

  • Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.
  • The elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour.
  • The effective abolition of child labour.
  • The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

Furthermore, Eni offers fair pay and guarantees that working environments are safe and clean, and that working conditions are in line with international standards. Eni provides its workers with preventive, curative and emergency health services. This model offers a standard service for all working environments, with services and products offered in-house or bought in from outside. Eni is committed to respecting ILO convention no. 135, which explicitly forbids any discrimination against workers based on union activity. It guarantees access to the workplace not only to workers but to union representatives and remains neutral on employees choosing to join, move between or leave unions.

Harassment and behaviour resembling bullying are banned, with no exceptions, both within the company and in dealings with other contractors. Eni is committed to guaranteeing that any third parties working with or for Eni will apply the same rules to their own workers, potentially imposing clauses in their contracts to prevent violations.

Eni bears in mind the potential impact of its business partners’ activities on human rights when managing commercial relationships and specific measures. Eni assures that its business partners also respect the principles of this declaration and makes every effort to add clauses respecting human rights in its agreements with them.

Eni respects the rights of people and local communities in the countries in which it works, especially in terms of biodiversity, property and the use of land and natural resources, including water. Furthermore, Eni works with respect for advanced standards of environmental protection and public safety. It pays particular attention to the rights of vulnerable groups, with special focus on children. Eni’s commitment to respecting human rights in local communities – together with environmental protection and socially responsible development in the communities in which we work – is one of our principal values, creating value for all parties. Its respect for human rights in local communities is based on recognising:

  • The key principle of free, preventive, informed consultation.
  • Consolidated assessment of environmental, socio-economic and cultural impact, including on indigenous people to identify, prevent and, if necessary, mitigate any actual or potential negative effects of the company’s actions on human rights, for example.
  • The right to food and drinking water, the highest standards of physical and mental health, an adequate dwelling, schooling and the special rights of indigenous people and tribes.
  • The fundamental commitment to avoid displacing local communities and reaching agreements with – and compensating – people who are displaced when land is acquired. One of Eni’s priorities is respect for the right to life and health both of its own people and local communities. Eni is aware that safety incidents can concern all aspects of human rights, including economic, social and cultural ones. For example, safety issues can have a huge negative or positive impact on freedom of expression and freedom to take part in politics. Therefore, Eni manages its safety activities in compliance with the international principles of human rights and the guidelines set out in the voluntary principles on safety and human rights.

Complaint mechanisms

Actively involving companies in response to complaints should include creating complaint mechanisms for workers and communities, as well as co-operation with judicial and non-judicial state bodies, as recognised by UN Guiding Principle 29 and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Complaint mechanisms at operations level can be the main form of remedy, especially where judicial and non-judicial state bodies are weak or inaccessible. The importance of these mechanisms is obvious, considering that four billion people around the world today either do not live in a state of law or do not have access to judicial bodies. An operations complaint mechanism allows the company to respond to any critical situations quickly and effectively, preventing the situation worsening or conflicts arising.

In 2016, Eni adopted a “complaints mechanism” procedure, which defines what the company does when it receives reports or complaints on its activities, either in verbal or written form. This procedure applies in every situation Eni might encounter since it is annexed to the guidelines for the sustainability management system. Eni’s associate companies around the world must assure it is applied in compliance with its system of internal discipline.

As encouraged in the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, Eni also co-operates with other judicial and extra-judicial state bodies (for example, the OECD National Contact Points, human rights institutions). Eni allows everyone – third parties and employees – to submit information on problems with the internal auditing system, risk management or violation of the Code of Ethics, including potential breaches of human rights. Confidentiality and anonymity are guaranteed for people who complain, under our whistleblowing regulations. Reports can be sent through this page

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Respect for human rights is a key priority in the way we work. It influences the way we manage our company activities.

by Claudio Descalzi

Our commitment to transparency in our results

Internal and external transparency about our results is essential for identifying improvements and monitoring problems. This is why, since 2017, we have adopted the new GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards. The section on human rights was written in keeping with the UNGP Reporting Framework

Collaboration with international bodies

Our commitment to human rights – and the promotion of them – is also proven by our constant, lengthy collaboration with different international bodies, be they from the UN or civil society. To give just a few examples:

  • In 2001 we were the first Italian company to sign up to the UN’s Global Compact.
  • We organised training in collaboration with the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) International Training Centre.
  • We talk with other companies in the O&G sector on themes of sustainability (biodiversity, local content, community development, reporting, human rights) within IPIECA.
  • We collaborate with IHRB, an independent company and global centre of excellence and expertise (a “think and do tank”), when it comes to the relationship between business and human rights.
  • We also enjoy stable co-operation with the United Nations Development Programme, FAO and Unesco.

Spreading awareness and contributing to improving access to fundamental rights in local communities are the main aspects of Eni’s approach to its own operations. To this end, Eni relies on the Danish Institute for Human Rights to carry out human-rights impact assessments (HRIA) in certain areas of operation like Myanmar, Mexico, Angola and Mozambique. The collaboration with DIHR has touched various aspects from impact assessments to training and other elements that helped shape Eni’s approach on the topic.

Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR)

The DIHR is independent but financed by the Danish government. Its mandate is to protect and promote human rights and confront the impact of business on them. Through research and partnerships with other players, the DIHR helps build a global culture in which the negative impact of business is minimised and opportunities to promote human rights are seized. The Institute works with Eni on special human-rights initiatives and training courses for staff.

Inter-Ministerial Committee for Human Rights

One of Eni’s big stakeholders is the Italian Inter-Ministerial Committee for Human Rights (CIDU), which has a very important role to play. We have worked together to come up with Eni’s new statement on human rights and identify “salient themes”. CIDU aims to fulfil the obligations Italy has assumed in the international agreements it has made on protecting and promoting human rights. It has made Italy one of the first countries with a national action plan on business and human rights.

Renewal of the Global Framework Agreement

In terms of international industrial relations, on 21 June 2019, the Global Framework Agreement on International Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility (GFA) was renewed with the Filctem unions, CGIL, Femca CISL, UiltecUIL and IndustriALL Global Union. The renewal of the GFA confirmed the company’s commitment to supporting and conducting its activities in compliance with a set of shared principles, including the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ILO Conventions, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, Principles of the UN Global Compact and UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The main changes from the previous agreement are focused on increased attention to occupational health and safety, supplier relationships, sustainable development and environmental protection, as well as the introduction of a compliance monitoring system for the provisions of the agreement. From 2018, a training programme on the Global Framework Agreement on International Industrial Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility has been active and available to all Eni employees.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is a “CEO-led organisation” to which about 200 multinationals from different sectors are currently signed up – all of them committed to sustainable development. WBCSD was set up in 1992 in preparation for the third Earth Summit, in Rio de Janeiro, and Eni was one of its founding members. WBCSD helps the private sector pursue its goal of economic growth by identifying paths for sustainable development using shared methods. Eni takes part in collaborative work on social impact, the climate and energy.