Management systems help companies attain, maintain and improve performance. If the system, the topics and requirements within it and the company culture are functioning as an effective whole, they will help the company to assess, manage and mitigate its risks effectively.
In the past social issues were often not an explicit part of management systems and some companies may have managed them less systematically than other non-technical risks such as health, safety and environment. However, it is our view that there are clear business advantages to managing social risks in a similarly rigorous way, since without such management they can create delays, additional costs and reputation damage. Stakeholders such as investors, governments and NGOs are increasingly expecting companies to demonstrate that they approach social performance systematically.
BP has had company values and a code of conduct for some years, but social responsibility was not specifically enshrined in management systems to the same extent as health, safety and environmental performance. The creation of the company's Operating Management System (OMS) in 2008 was an opportunity to introduce social performance elements, thus providing a framework to introduce formal requirements and recommendations on how to implement the high-level statements in the values and code of conduct.
Many topics in OMS have implicit links to social performance, such as leadership, culture, people and competence, personal safety, health and industrial hygiene, security, environment, product stewardship and customer focus. However, two topics focus explicitly on social performance: the first is social responsibility and the second is community and stakeholder relationships.
These two social topics contain high-level requirements that are supported by other more detailed requirements and recommendations, such as the environmental and social practices for certain projects. BP's public commitments to external social responsibility initiatives, such as the UN Global Compact and the Voluntary Principles for Security and Human Rights, reinforce the social performance aspects of OMS.
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