Independent assurance statement

We have performed a limited assurance engagement on selected performance data and statements presented in the BP p.l.c. (BP) Sustainability Report 2015 (the Report).

Respective responsibilities

BP management are responsible for the collection and presentation of the information within the Report. BP management are also responsible for the design implementation and maintenance of internal controls relevant to the preparation of the Report, so that it is free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.

Our responsibility, in accordance with BP management’s instructions, is to carry out a ‘limited level’ assurance engagement on selected data and performance claims in the Report (“the subject matter information”). 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 ISAE3000 (Revised)¹. 

The Report has been evaluated against the following criteria:
  • Whether the Report covers the key sustainability issues relevant to BP in 2015 which were raised in the media, BP’s own review of material sustainability issues, and selected internal documentation.
  • Whether the health, safety and environment (HSE) data presented in the Report are consistent with BP’s Environmental Performance Group Reporting Requirements and HSE Reporting Definitions.
  • Whether sustainability claims made in the Report are consistent with the explanation and evidence provided by relevant BP managers.

Summary of work performed

The procedures we performed were based on our professional judgement and included the steps outlined below:
1.	Interviewed a selection of BP’s senior managers to understand the current status of safety, social, ethical and environmental activities, and progress made during the reporting period.

2.	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.

3.	Carried out the following activities to review health, safety and environment (HSE) data samples and processes:
	a.	Reviewed disaggregated HSE data reported by a sample of 19 businesses to assess whether the data had been collected, consolidated and reported accurately.
	b.	Reviewed and challenged supporting evidence from the sample of businesses.  
	c.	Tested whether HSE data had been collected, consolidated and reported appropriately at group level.

4.	Reviewed the coverage of material issues within the Report against the key sustainability issues raised in external media reports and the outputs from BP’s processes for determining material sustainability issues.

5.	Reviewed information or explanations about selected data, statements and assertions within the Report regarding BP’s sustainability performance. 

The limitations of our review

Our evidence gathering procedures were designed to obtain a ‘limited level’ of assurance (as set out in ISAE3000 Revised) 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. 

Our work did not include physical inspections of any of BP’s operating assets. 

Completion of our testing activities has involved placing reliance on BP’s controls for managing and reporting HSE information, with the degree of reliance informed by the results of our review of the effectiveness of these controls. We have not sought to review systems and controls at BP beyond those used for HSE data.

Our conclusions

Based on the scope of our review our conclusions are outlined below:


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.

Completeness and accuracy of performance information

How complete and accurate is the HSE data in the Report?
  • With the exception of the limitations identified in the Report on [pages 8-9 of the printed report*], we are not aware of any material reporting units that have been excluded from the group-wide HSE 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.

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.
  • BP continues to provide an overview of its activities to manage sustainability impacts across unconventional resource types, e.g. deepwater, hydraulic fracturing and oil sands. There is an also an acknowledgement that the commercial viability of oil sands projects remains under evaluation, given the changing global oil prices. In response to increasing stakeholder interest, there is an opportunity for BP's future reporting to link more clearly between reporting on these activities and the availability and costs of different resource types (as referenced within the section on resilience).
  • BP provides background context for the section covering employees, by describing how lower global oil prices have led to reductions in headcount. There is also acknowledgement that the more challenging market conditions have resulted in lower graduate recruitment levels. This approach has helped BP to provide balance within the subsequent discussion of its recruitment, training and employee engagement activities.
  • The Report includes brief coverage of the approach taken to rewarding employees for their performance in relation to safety, compliance and risk management. As part of this, BP notes that there are specific safety performance measures related to executive remuneration. The shareholder resolution on climate change resilience requested additional information on BP’s approach to executive incentives in the context of a transition to a lower carbon economy. As this evolves, it is likely that stakeholders will expect to see commentary on this topic.

Our independence

We have implemented measures to comply with the applicable independence and professional competence rules as articulated by the IFAC Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants and ISQC1². 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 2015. 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.
Ernst & Young LLP, London
16 March 2016
1. International Federation of the Accountants’ International Standard for Assurance Engagements (ISAE3000) Revised, Assurance Engagements Other Than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information.

2. Parts A and B of the IESBA Code; and the International Standard on Quality Control 1 (ISQC1).

Related content