Why I walk with Pride
Respecting human rights is fundamental to the sustainability of our business. Wood is committed to the protection and enhancement of internationally proclaimed human rights.
Human rights are basic rights and freedoms that protect us all. Aside from it being the right thing to do, companies are increasingly held accountable by stakeholders on how they address human rights issues that may arise from their business practices and relationships. It can present financial, legal, reputational and stakeholder risks, however, if done right it can sustain a company’s social license to operate, build up their brand and support communities’ well-being.
The United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights call upon businesses to make a public commitment to respect human rights, carry out human rights due diligence and provide a remedy when things go wrong. The call for business leadership on Human Rights by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) looks at the responsibility on business to manage human rights, as well as the opportunity human rights presents for business to do good.
As a member of the UN Global Compact, Wood supports the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.
Operating in different geographical areas and markets, we recognise our accountability to mitigate the human rights risks related to our activities; as well as the opportunity for our business to have a positive impact on the communities we work with and the lives we touch.
The issue of human rights touches Wood in a multitude of ways, both directly and indirectly. Wood has complex relationships with multiple stakeholders which involves both individuals and communities of people, recognising and upholding human rights is fundamental to those relationships.
Respecting human rights is fundamental to the sustainability of our business and we take our obligations in this area extremely seriously, reflecting this in the culture of our organisation, our values and code of conduct.
Managing our risks
Widening the scope of how we manage risk and improving our ability to spot potential human rights issues helps to reduce the potential for business disruption, reputational damage, litigation and employee retention and recruitment.
Creating business opportunity and positive recognition
Many of our significant stakeholders including clients, banks, and governments recognise the importance of companies with effective human rights management processes which in turn helps to minimise risk to themselves.
Positive recognition, including from socially responsible investors and civil society organisations makes Wood a partner of choice and supports responsible growth.
Stakeholder relationships and reputational management
Improved relationships with employees, communities and other stakeholders in society, helps build greater trust and deliver a stronger social license to operate.
Recruitment and retention
Improving our ability to retain talent, as well as recruit the next generation of leaders that increasingly look at a company’s human rights performance, means ensuring we remain transparent and honest in efforts to manage human rights across our business.
Access to socially responsible investment
Having a well-structured, embedded approach across all areas of human rights is a comparative advantage with a growing number of stock exchanges and public and private financial institutions that scrutinize companies’ non-financial performance, including human rights. Access to capital is vital to sustaining our business.
As a global operator we work in locations with both well-developed and developing human rights protection laws.
Wood is committed to upholding internationally recognised human rights regardless of the maturity of legal frameworks, this will always remain inherent in the way we do business. Having strong and effective management processes in place not only mitigates potential litigation and reputational risk but provides significant opportunities and benefits for Wood.
Our approach to human rights is aligned to the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Guiding principles on Business, Human Rights and the UN Global Compact Principles and Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. We are committed to operating our business in a transparent manner that aligns to global standards on human rights issues and the expectations of governments, investors and civil society.
Our Code of Conduct and Human Rights Policy outlines the expectations of our people on human rights commitments. Setting the minimum standards in how Wood operates, we demonstrate our values and behaviours through the actions of our people. Combined with our Supply Chain Code of Conduct, our approach is applicable to all our people, as well as our contractors and suppliers to promote dignity, respect and fairness for how we treat people and those we interact with, in all that we do.
In additional to our policies and standards, Wood is a founding member of the industry led, business financed initiative Building Responsibly. Building Responsibly was born from a desire by businesses to connect in a non-competitive environment on the common challenges to protecting and promoting the rights and welfare of workers. Building Responsibly members are committed to promoting the rights and welfare of workers, specifically for those in the engineering and construction industry. Our involvement with the initiative has given us a platform to strengthen our approach to assuring basic human rights and welfare of those that work for, or on behalf of Wood.
In 2021, Wood announced a series of sustainability targets. In support of Building Responsibly, we aim to ensure 100% of Wood’s labour suppliers sign up and comply with the Building Responsibly Principles by 2025 and ensure 100% of our suppliers have Building Responsibly Principles embedded into their supply chains by 2030.
Understanding Wood’s sphere of influence
Human Rights impacts can be categorised into 4 distinctive areas:
The greater our sphere of influence the easier these issues are to manage, because they are within our ability to govern and effect change
In line with Wood’s vision of putting sustainability at the heart of our business, we have created a governance approach which draws human rights into the mainstay of the way we manage our business every day. We have deliberately committed to upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in our Human Rights Policy.
Our Human Rights and Modern Slavery Oversight Committee helps connect our Supply Chain, Commercial, People & Organisation and Sustainability teams in our commitment to prevent, detect and remedy human rights issues within Wood and our supply chain. Activities to evolve and advance our approach on human rights are communicated through monthly sustainability, as well as functional reporting to provide ELT and Board oversight.
The evolving nature of our global business brings significant challenge in managing human rights issues and we recognise the need for continual identification and mitigation of human rights risks. Annually, we assess our global operations to ensure we continually evaluate our principal risks and the areas of our business with potential for the manifestation of human rights issues. In many locations, our operations are conducted on behalf of a client where we operate with varied degree of management control. In this light we determine our greatest risks come from Wood’s third-party relationships, in particular third-party labour where our contractors utilise recruitment agencies and labour brokers for the employment of low skilled personnel.
Treating people with dignity and fairness is at the heart of our values, defined in the company Code of Conduct and codified in our mandatory People & Organisational policies. All Wood employees irrespective of local jurisdictional laws and norms, are subject to Wood's people policies and procedures covering Human Rights, Equal Opportunities, Diversity and Inclusion, Anti-harassment, training, recruitment and hiring.
Choosing our clients
Our client relationships are central to the company’s wellbeing and are of utmost importance. We undertake due diligence on our clients to make sure that these relationships offer value for our stakeholders. As a result, we identified the need to do more to highlight our position on human rights in this process and with our relationships with clients, in particular, in regard to our stance on worker welfare through our membership of Building Responsibly.
All tenders are subject to review and approval in accordance with our Tender Governance procedure. With new relationships or contracts where the value exceeds $5M, Wood conducts formal reviews which include screening for human rights. We will be reviewing our processes to ensure that we continue to have a comprehensive approach to considering the impact all projects may have on human rights and update our tender team’s awareness.
Our supply chain partners
All Wood suppliers are subject to prequalification’s and as part of this process must sign up to Wood’s Supplier Code of Conduct. The Supplier Code of Conduct sets out Wood’s comprehensive requirements and expectations for human rights. We will be reviewing this document in line with Wood’s commitment to Building Responsibly.
Raising the flag on Human Rights
In line with the Wood Code of Conduct and the Supplier Code of Conduct, we encourage all stakeholders to challenge situations which ‘feel’ outside of the Wood values, this includes human rights related issues. We urge employees, contractors, clients and the community to raise issues either directly or, if they feel more comfortable, through our Ethics Hotline. The Ethic’s Hotline is managed by a third party and all calls are carefully managed to protect the privacy of the caller. Read more on ethics at Wood.
Modern slavery and human trafficking
We accept our responsibility to ensure our people, as well as those in our value chain are not subject to any form of modern slavery, whether this is human trafficking or forced and bonded labour. Wood publishes an annual statement on modern slavery, which complies with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (UK) and the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018. Aligned to our approach to respect human rights, the annual review of our modern slavery statement forms the basis of our annual assessment of human rights risks and provides a transparent overview of how we assess, manage and mitigate the risk of modern slavery and human trafficking across our business. Our annual modern slavery statement details our performance and efforts to build capacity on human rights issues, to help protect against our involvement in modern slavery. Read more in our Modern slavery and human trafficking statement 2021.