Governance of sustainability issues

The board sets the tone from the top and is responsible for the overall conduct of our business

The board and its committees

The board works with management to consider specific issues - from strategy and geopolitical issues, through to safety, environment and reputation. Our board is made up of the chairman, two executives and 11 non-executive directors and benefits from the diverse balance of background, gender, skills and experience. There are three female directors on the board and two directors from non-UK/US backgrounds.

Six board committees provide oversight on certain activities. One of these, the safety, ethics and environment assurance committee (SEEAC), looks at the processes adopted by BP’s executive management to identify and mitigate significant non-financial risk.

In 2016 SEEAC reviewed the risk of marine, wells, pipelines, explosion or release at our facilities, and major security incidents. Site visits are an important part of SEEAC’s role, allowing direct interaction with operating teams. SEEAC members met with teams at our unconventional gas operations in Colorado, the Geel petrochemicals plant in Belgium and the North Slope facilities in Alaska to see how they were managing safety and other operational matters.

The board has a dedicated committee that monitors the geopolitical landscape and considers the effect that heightened political or social tensions, or changes in key relationships, can have on the economic and operating environment for BP.

The executive team and its committees

The executive team is accountable for BP’s overall business, including sustainability performance. It comprises the group chief executive and the heads of businesses and certain functions, such as safety and operational risk and human resources.

Several executive-level committees - such as the group operations risk committee and the group ethics and compliance committee - facilitate the group chief executive’s oversight of sustainability issues.

Business segments and functions

Our businesses and functions integrate risk assessments into processes such as strategy, planning and performance management.

Our issues management working group identifies and monitors real or potential issues of material importance to BP. It comprises senior leaders from strategy and policy, upstream, downstream, legal, safety and operational risk, and government and political affairs. The process for prioritizing these issues is integrated into our assessment of material issues for this report.

Local operations

Management and staff in our operations identify risks and implement BP’s requirements on health, safety, security, environment, social responsibility, operational reliability and related issues.

Governance in practice - human rights

Oversight of human rights issues goes right to the top of the organization.

  • SEEAC reviews our human rights performance, including our approach to assessing and managing risks associated with modern slavery.
  • The group operations risk committee reviews progress on plans to manage potential risks of modern slavery.
  • Our human rights working group looks at human rights risks of potential group significance.
  • Business functions and local operations implement actions to help us meet our human rights policy commitments, such as providing channels for local communities to raise concerns.

Related content