E&Y assurance statement
BP's Sustainability web content 2012 (the Report) has been prepared by the management of BP p.l.c., who are responsible for the collection and presentation of information within it. Our responsibility, in accordance with BP management’s instructions, is to carry out a limited assurance engagement on the Report. We do not accept or assume any responsibility for any other purpose or to any other person or organisation. Any reliance any such third party may place on the Report is entirely at its own risk.
What we did to form our conclusions
Our assurance engagement has been planned and performed in accordance with ISAE30001 and to meet the requirements of a Type 2 assurance engagement as defined by AA1000AS (2008).2 The AA1000AS (2008) assurance principles of Inclusivity, Materiality and Responsiveness have been used as criteria against which to evaluate the Report.
In order to form our conclusions we undertook the steps outlined below:
- Interviewed a selection of BP executives and senior managers to understand the current status of safety, social, ethical and environmental activities, and progress made during the reporting period.
- Reviewed selected group level documents relating to safety, social, ethical and environmental aspects of BP's performance to understand progress made across the organisation and test the coverage of topics within the Report.
- Reviewed BP's approach to stakeholder engagement through interviews with employees with responsibility for managing engagement activities at group and local businesses, and reviewed selected associated documentation.
- Carried out the following activities to review health, safety and environment (HSE) and community investment data samples and processes:
- Reviewed disaggregated HSE data reported by a sample of five businesses to assess whether the data had been collected, consolidated and reported accurately.
- Reviewed and challenged supporting evidence from the sample of businesses.
- Tested whether HSE data had been collected, consolidated and reported appropriately at group level
- Reviewed community investment data at group level.
- Reviewed BP's processes for determining material issues to be included in the Report
- Reviewed the coverage of material issues within the Report against the key issues raised by BP's stakeholder engagement activities, material issues and areas of performance covered in external media reports and sustainability reports of BP's peers, as well as and the topics discussed by BP's SEEAC.
- Reviewed information or explanations about selected data, statements and assertions regarding BP's sustainability performance.
- Reviewed whether BP's reporting has applied the GRI G3.1 Guidelines to a level consistent with the A+ application level.
Level of assurance
Our evidence gathering procedures were designed to obtain a limited level of assurance (as set out in ISAE3000) on which to base our conclusions. The extent of evidence gathering procedures performed is less than that of a reasonable assurance engagement (such as a financial audit) and therefore a lower level of assurance is provided.
The limitations of our review
Our work did not include physical inspections of any of BP’s operating assets.
Only the pages of the Report that are marked with the attestation footnote formed part of our review.
Based on the scope of our review our conclusions are outlined below:
Has BP been engaging with stakeholders across the business to develop its response to sustainability issues?
- We are not aware of any key stakeholder groups that have been excluded from dialogue.
- We are not aware of any matters that would lead us to conclude that BP has not applied the inclusivity principle in developing its response to sustainability issues.
Has BP provided a balanced representation of material issues concerning BP’s sustainability performance?
- We are not aware of any material aspects concerning BP’s sustainability performance which have been excluded from the Report.
- Nothing has come to our attention that causes us to believe that BP management has not applied its processes for determining material issues to be included in the Report.
Has BP responded to stakeholder concerns?
- We are not aware of any matters that would lead us to conclude that BP has not applied the responsiveness principle in considering the matters to be reported.
Completeness and accuracy of performance information
How complete and accurate is the HSE and community investment data in the Report?
- With the exception of the limitations identified in the Report in the BP in Figures section, we are not aware of any material reporting units that have been excluded from the group-wide data relating to HSE and community investment data.
- Nothing has come to our attention that causes us to believe that the data relating to the above topics has not been collated properly from group-wide systems.
- We are not aware of any errors that would materially affect the data as presented in the Report.
How plausible are the statements and claims within the Report?
- We have reviewed information or explanation on selected statements on BP’s sustainability activities presented in the Report and we are not aware of any misstatements in the assertions made.
Global Reporting Initiative
Does the Report meet the requirements of the A+ application level of the GRI G3.1 Guidelines?
- Based on our review, including consideration of the Report, BP’s sustainability web content and elements of the BP Annual Report and Form 20-F 2012, nothing has come to our attention that causes us to believe that BP’s reporting has not applied the GRI G3.1 Guidelines to a level consistent with the A+ application level.
Observations and areas for improvement
Our observations and areas for improvement will be raised in a report to BP management. Selected observations are provided below. These observations do not affect our conclusions on the Report set out above.
- Stakeholders continue to request more detail on BP’s contribution to a low-carbon future, including its renewable energy strategy. The Sustainability Review sets out BP’s alternative energy investment to date within the context of ‘the energy future’. However, the contribution that these wind and biofuels assets currently make to a low-carbon future is less clear. For example, a more complete picture could be provided by comparing reported operational GHG emissions with an estimation of ‘avoided’ CO2 emissions.
- BP has highlighted its renewed focus on diversity, with a new framework and associated goals for female representation in leadership positions. During our interviews we discussed the challenges for BP in delivering against these goals and whether interim milestones should be set. BP has introduced additional structures to support delivery and the reported increase in female leaders in the last three years shows that progress is being made. However, the fact that the same level of representation was first achieved in 2005 demonstrates the difficulty in sustaining this improvement.
- BP participates in a diverse range of joint ventures. BP acknowledges the importance of risks associated with non-operated joint ventures and the report highlights the pilot of a new group policy in this area. However, it does not explain how material these relationships are for BP, which account for an important part of BP's portfolio and overall value chain.
- We reviewed BP’s GHG performance. BP explains that existing operations are required to incorporate energy use considerations into business planning but has also acknowledged that future upstream developments are likely to have higher CO2 emissions. Interest in the steps that oil & gas companies are taking to reduce the intensity of emissions remains high. BP will need to continue providing a clear explanation of this relative performance in the context of ongoing changes to the business structure.
- For the second year, BP has reported on its direct economic contribution, including taxes paid and social investment spend. Whilst this provides a useful summary, stakeholders are increasingly looking for detailed performance information and BP should consider providing a more detailed breakdown for certain elements of this contribution, for example a regional split of spend with local suppliers.
- BP maintains a wide programme of stakeholder engagement. This takes place both during the course of running the business and specifically in relation to sustainability reporting. This Report has more explicitly addressed how BP is responding to some of the specific concerns that have been raised during this engagement process, for example in relation to the socio-economic impacts of the oil and gas industry.
As auditors to BP p.l.c., Ernst & Young are required to comply with the requirements set out in the Auditing Practices Board’s (APB) Ethical Standards for Auditors. Ernst & Young’s independence policies apply to the firm, partners and professional staff. These policies prohibit any financial interests in our clients that would or might be seen to impair independence. Each year, partners and staff are required to confirm their compliance with the firm’s policies.
We confirm annually to BP whether there have been any events including the provision of prohibited services that could impair our independence or objectivity. There were no such events or services in 2012.
Our assurance team
Our assurance team has been drawn from our global Climate Change and Sustainability Services Practice, which undertakes engagements similar to this with a number of significant UK and international businesses. The work has been led and reviewed by a Lead Sustainability Assurance Practitioner.
Ernst & Young LLP, London
20 March 2013
1International Federation of the Accountants’ International Standard for Assurance Engagements Other Than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information (ISAE3000).
2The 2008 edition of AccountAbility’s AA1000 assurance standard.