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.

Terms of the commitment

The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and International Conventions are key references for Eni for guiding our activities, our regulatory system and governance towards the respect for and promotion of human rights.

Our commitment is reflected in Eni's Declaration on Respect for Human Rights and in a series of documents relating to our internal organisation and relations with external parties, such as the Code of Ethics, the Sustainability Policy and the Supplier Code of Conduct.

Eni's approach to human rights is also confirmed in the international Global Framework Agreement on Industrial Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility, which was renewed in June 2019, and has an explicit reference to the UNGPs. We were also accepted as an 'Engaged Corporate Participant' in the Voluntary Principles Initiative (VPI), the multi-stakeholder initiative involving governments, corporations and NGOs, that focuses on respect for human rights in the management of security operations. VPI has defined and promotes the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHRs), a set of principles on respect for human rights in the management of security operations, to support extractive companies.

Finally, Eni ranked first in the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) Human Rights Index in 2020, tied with only one other company.

Our transformation path and the health crisis due to Covid-19

The last year was marked by the world health crisis due to Covid-19, which will be remembered in the years to come for the impact it had on global economies, energy use, and on society as a whole. The most profound effects of the crisis will be more evident in non-OECD countries.

In tackling Covid-19, we reacted promptly, making the most of the experience we gained in the past pandemics, such as Sars-Cov-1 and Ebola. We mobilised all available resources, in terms of economics, human and technological capital, to support our country, our people and the communities where Eni operates.

As the world continues to cope with the impacts of Covid-19, it is essential that the strengths to support economic recovery is aligned with the path to net zero. That is why, during the last year, we have worked even harder to make our ambitions stronger. We took the momentum to strengthen our climate commitment and our role in a just energy transition, launching a brand-new strategy that will bring Eni to reach the complete carbon neutrality by 2050.

At the same time, June 2021 marked the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), a cornerstone to define the role and responsibilities of enterprises on human rights. From the adoption of the UNGPs companies are expected to take clear commitment towards respecting human rights and practice due diligence by proactively seeking information about the human rights impacts of their activities and mitigating the negative impacts, whether they are directly or indirectly connected with their own operations. As Eni, this anniversary represented an opportunity to take stock of the work carried out over the past five years to give new strength to our approach to human rights.

Claudio Descalzi primo piano

We want to grow in an inclusive way: for us, respecting human rights means recognizing the value of each person, ensuring their dignity, safety and health, equal working conditions and promoting diversity.

Message to our Stakeholders by Claudio Descalzi (Eni's CEO)
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Policy Sustainability

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Eni for 2020 - Human rights

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Together with world leaders for human rights

Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi signed up to the Call to Action initiative, together with 35 leaders of other large companies that are members of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). CEOs and senior managers commit to taking concrete action on the respect of human rights, as well as following the guidelines set out in the CEO Guide on Human Rights.

Priority areas

A key step was identifying the major human rights issues, partly through internal discussions and seminars. These were then grouped into four priority areas: human rights in the workplace, human rights in the supply chain, human rights in communities and human rights in security activities. We are guided by the same principles and strict internal control procedures in each of these areas, in order to prevent any kind of violation and mitigate the effects as much as possible, should they occur.

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 for the respect of human rights

Eni is committed to conducting human rights due diligence on its activities. We do this by continuously assessing and monitoring our actual and potential human rights impacts and identifying specific strategies and solutions to improve the effectiveness of our efforts to prevent and mitigate negative impacts. In particular, we give specific instructions and specialised training to employees, as well as conducting awareness-raising initiatives for subcontractors and other business partners.

Human rights in the workplace

With reference to the issue of workers' rights, Eni is committed to respecting the four fundamental work 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.
  • elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour.
  • effective abolition of child labour.
  • elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

Harassment and behaviour resembling bullying are banned, with no exceptions, both inside and outside the company. 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.

Our approach to Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) has developed in line with of our international culture of plurality. It is based on the fundamental principles of non-discrimination, equal opportunities and inclusion of all forms of diversity, and of integrating and balancing work with the needs of the family.

Eni also offers fair pay, guarantees that working environments are safe and clean and that working conditions are in line with international standards. Eni provides its workers with preventive and curative healthcare services, as well as emergency services. This model offers a standard service for all working environments, with services and products that are in-house or bought from outside.

We are committed to complying with ILO Convention No. 135, ensuring adequate access to the workplace for both employees and trade union representatives. We remain neutral with regard to employees' decisions to join or remain in a trade union, transfer or terminate their membership.

Human rights in relations with suppliers and business partners

We adopt an approach designed to ensure the full commitment of the entire supply chain to respect human rights. This is done by using specific evaluations and contractual requirements, as well as by involving suppliers in dedicated initiatives to obtain and concretely monitor the level of awareness and attention to the supply chain.

Find out more about our relationships with our suppliers:

We expect our Business Partners to respect the principles stated in our Declaration and we make every effort to include human rights clauses in their contractual agreements in relation to activities with or for Eni.

Respect for the rights of local communities

Eni is always mindful of the rights of people and local communities in the countries where it operates. We care for biodiversity, defend the right to property and safeguard the resources in the places where we operate. Every step is taken with respect for fundamental rights, paying particular attention to vulnerable groups.

Our commitment to communities is built around the following elements:

  • free, prior and informed consultation
  • the undertaking of environmental, socio-economic and cultural impact assessments, including those relating to indigenous people. This is to identify, prevent and, where applicable, mitigate the potential and/or actual adverse effect on Human Rights caused by, contributed to or associated with society, such as those relating to land rights
  • the right to food and drinking water, the highest standards of physical and mental health, adequate housing, schooling and the special rights of indigenous people and tribes
  • a commitment to avoid the resettlement of local communities and to provide adequate compensation in the event of unavoidable land acquisition and resettlement of those affected, with whom agreements must still be reached
  • the management of security activities with respect for communities and in accordance with the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.

Respect for human rights in security activities

Eni has designed a coherent set of rules and tools to ensure that:

  • contractual terms include provisions on respect for human rights
  • security force suppliers are selected on the basis of human rights criteria, among others
  • security operators and supervisors receive adequate training on respect for human rights
  • events considered most at risk are managed in accordance with international standards.

The importance of the complaints mechanism

Businesses should actively cooperate with judicial and non-judicial mechanisms, creating grievance mechanisms at an operational level that are available to individuals and communities, as recognised by UNGP No. 29 and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

That is why we adopted a procedure called the "Community Grievance Mechanism" in 2016, to handle written and verbal reports or complaints received about our activities. A grievance mechanism at an operational level allows Eni to respond quickly and effectively to possible critical situations, preventing them from getting worse and avoiding conflicts.

Eni also cooperates with other judicial and non-judicial mechanisms, such as the national contact points established by the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

Our commitment to transparency in our results

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

The Eni for Human Rights Reports from previous years are available in the Publications section. 

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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.

Inter-Ministerial Committee for Human Rights

Among Eni's relevant stakeholders, the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Human Rights (CIDU - Comitato Interministeriale per i Diritti Umani) plays a very important role: In fact, Eni engaged with the committee when drafting its new Human Rights Declaration and identifying 'salient issues'. The CIDU aims to fulfil Italian obligations under agreements and conventions adopted at international level relating to the protection and promotion of Human Rights. It has directed and coordinated the process of drafting the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, one of the first to be adopted globally (2016).

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 main changes from the previous agreement include 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. Since 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.