Fair operating practices
The oil industry must be particularly watchful with regard to the risk of corruption, in particular in the light of the scale of the investments made and the number of countries in which operations are conducted. Preventing corruption is therefore a major challenge for the Group and all its employees.
TOTAL’s stance on the issue of corruption is based on clear principles, set out in 2000 in the Code of Conduct: “TOTAL rejects bribery and corruption in all forms, whether public or private, active or passive”. The Code of Conduct sets out the principles governing the actions and individual behavior of each person, both in their day-to-day decisions and in their relations with stakeholders. In it, TOTAL also reiterates its support for the OECD Guidelines and the Tenth Principle of the United Nations Global Compact, which urges businesses to work against corruption in all its forms.
The Group’s commitment in this field is based on a zero tolerance principle with regard to corruption, as its General Management regularly reaffirms. This commitment takes the form of a number of actions:
- the adoption by the Executive Committee in 2009 of a corruption prevention policy and the decision to implement a dedicated compliance program;
- the establishment of a specific organization including, in particular, a Compliance and Social Responsibility Department which is responsible for rolling out the compliance program via a network of 370 Compliance Officers covering all the territories in which TOTAL operates.
The corruption prevention program is based on the very highest relevant standards including, in particular:
- A framework of internal standards that allow employees, with the support of their Compliance Officer, to identify risk situations, conduct due diligences and implement the appropriate actions. Procedures intended to provide a framework for conduct in such risk situations have been adopted in relation to the following issues: representatives dealing with public officials; procurement and sales; and gifts, entertainment, hospitality and travel, favors, donations and contributions to social funds, philanthropic activities and sponsorships.
- Activities designed to raise awareness among all employees (including an e-learning program available in twelve languages, followed by 6,522 employees in 2014, and by 43,503 employees since its inception), more focused training activities for the most highly exposed positions (Development, Purchasing, Marketing, etc.), in-depth training for all Compliance Officers.
- The prohibition of “facilitation payments”.
- Incident feedback mechanisms including an ethics alert system.
- The introduction of special “Compliance” audits as of early 2013, at a rate of six to eight per year, to cover all the Group’s activities. These audits are followed up the next year to verify that the recommendations have been implemented. A “Compliance” component has also been incorporated into the Group’s internal audit management framework.
- The application of suitable sanctions.
In 2014, the deployment of this program was underpinned by forceful internal communications activities intended to emphasize once again the importance the Group attaches to these questions. For example, on the occasion of the International Anti-Corruption Day (December 9, 2014), an e-mail was sent to all Group employees to refresh their knowledge of the program and give them a more in-depth understanding of it. This campaign was taken up and complemented locally at the various subsidiaries.
Under the settlements reached in 2013 between TOTAL, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), an independent monitor was appointed to conduct a three-year review of the anti-corruption compliance and related internal control procedures implemented by the Group and to recommend improvements, when necessary. The monitor took up his duties on December 2, 2013 (refer to point 1.10. of chapter 5) and his first report was submitted to the authorities at the end of July 2014. This report gives recommendations for improving the program, which TOTAL has already started to implement. In October 2014, the monitor had to relinquish his mission for health reasons, and as a result, TOTAL is in the process of selecting a new monitor.
Respect for human rights
The activities of companies can affect the human rights of the employees, partners or communities with which they interact in numerous ways. In addition to being an ethical commitment for TOTAL, adopting a proactive approach to human rights within the Group is vital for its daily business. This approach helps to establish and maintain successful relationships with all stakeholders.
The Group’s Code of Conduct was revised in June 2014 in order to reinforce TOTAL’s commitments in terms of its respect for human rights. TOTAL’s adherence to the principles set out in international standards, including the new United Nations’ guiding principles on business and human rights which were adopted in 2011 and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR), is indicated in the Code of Conduct. In the event of any discrepancy between legal provisions and the Code of Conduct, the highest standard is applied. A “Speaking Up” section has also been added and clearly indicates that anyone in TOTAL can benefit from the advice of the Ethics Committee at any time by writing to the email@example.com address.
Awareness of human rights is now an integral part of the principles underpinning the Group’s actions in the same way as all the H3SE standards (health, safety, security, societal, environment). First of all, the Group makes sure that the rights of its employees are protected. In particular, it prohibits any form of discrimination against them, including due to sexual orientation or identity. Likewise, it demands that they themselves be respectful of human rights. With regard to other stakeholders, TOTAL expects its suppliers to respect equivalent standards and to be particularly attentive to the working conditions of their employees. In its dealings with the host countries in which the Group operates, TOTAL respects their sovereignty while reserving the right to express its convictions concerning the importance of respecting human rights in subjects related to its field of operation. Since its activities have an impact on local communities, TOTAL respects their rights by foreseeing and limiting the impacts on their way of life and remediating these impacts wherever necessary.
Moreover, in 2013 the Group developed a strategic human rights roadmap which integrates respect for human rights into its various risk and impact management systems. The Executive Committee validated this roadmap on the occasion of the visit by Professor John Ruggie, former special United Nations Representative for Business and Human Rights. This roadmap has been implemented in various Group entities (Legal, Ethics, Sustainable Development Departments).
A new legal unit called “ethics and human rights” was set up in 2014 within the Group’s Compliance and Social Responsibility Department in order to help operatives address these issues.
Support for international human rights initiatives
The Group is actively involved in numerous initiatives and working groups on human rights that bring together various stakeholders. As part of the Global Compact, TOTAL takes part in the Human Rights Working Group. Created in 2010, Global Compact LEAD (Initiative for Sustainable Leadership) has fifty-four members, among which TOTAL is the first French company to participate. The Group is also a founding member of the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights and takes part actively in the work of IPIECA, through the following working groups: Social Responsibility Working Group, Human Rights Task Force, and Responsible Security Workshop. Moreover, after having implemented the recommendations of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR) for a number of years, TOTAL joined this initiative in March 2012. Lastly, since 2012, TOTAL has taken part in the activities of the NGO Shift, created by Professor John Ruggie after his term of office with the UN.
In order to spell out its human rights position and initiatives, TOTAL created a Human Rights Coordination Committee in 2005. This is managed by the Ethics Committee Chairman in cooperation with the Group’s human rights experts. This discussion and decisionmaking forum, which meets three or four times a year, includes representatives of the Ethics, Human Resources, Public Relations, Legal, Finance, Security, Purchasing and Sustainable Development Departments. Its aim is to coordinate the activities relating to the respect for human rights undertaken internally and externally by the various Group entities. During these meetings, participants share their feedback and information on various subjects, including ethical assessments, internal or external tools or procedures associated with human rights, and civil society projects.
Implementation of due diligence actions
TOTAL’s human rights approach is based on several pillars:
- Written commitments: in accordance with its Code of Conduct, the Group has adopted principles appropriate to the operations and countries where it works, some of which are set out in the section “to find out more” of the human rights internal guide published in 2011 in English, French, Spanish and Chinese.
- Awareness-raising activities: to ensure that its human rights principles are disseminated in-house, TOTAL raises employee awareness via corporate communications channels such as the Ethics and Security intranet site, and through specific training programs tailored to the various challenges encountered in the field. These programs are listed in the TOTAL University Ethical, Environmental and Social Responsibility brochure. For example, as part of the Group’s human rights roadmap, a new training program called “Responsible leadership for a sustainable business” targeting management personnel was created in 2013 by Total University and tested in 2014. In collaboration with the Shift NGO, the Group has also developed a series of four awareness-raising videos on the Group’s human rights standards. These videos, which were made available on the Group’s Intranet to mark the UN’s Human Rights Day, focus on three issues that have been identified as crucial for the Group: responsible security; the prevention of social impacts on local communities; and working conditions – both for its own employees and within its supply chain. Furthermore, in one of these videos, Mr. de Margerie and Professor John Ruggie discuss TOTAL’s roadmap on human rights, as well as the importance of complying with the Group’s human rights standards in daily activities. Actions undertaken to raise awareness among certain stakeholders that are external to the Group have also been undertaken. For example, the Group’s security providers attend special training sessions concerning the Voluntary Principles relating to safety and human rights in risk areas.
Consulting and advisory structures: the Ethics Committee and the Compliance and Social Responsibility Department are available to advise employees and coordinate efforts to promote human rights. The Ethics Committee is a central, independent structure that represents all of TOTAL’s business units. Its role is to listen to, support and advise: both employees and people outside the Group can refer matters to the Committee. The Committee maintains complete confidentiality with regard to referrals; this can only be lifted with the agreement of the person in question. At the local level, the subsidiaries of the Exploration & Production division have introduced mechanisms for processing grievances raised by local communities. Exploration & Production has produced a guide in the form of a manual on this subject which is being transcribed within the Marketing & Services entities.
Ethical assessments and reporting: tools are used to regularly assess the subsidiaries’ human rights practices and the risks they may have to face. They analyze the local consequences of projects (societal audits in which local communities in certain countries are questioned on their perception of the impact of the Group’s activities on their everyday lives) or check that the subsidiaries’ ethical practices meet the Group’s standards. Most of these tools are designed to prevent or limit the ethical risks or impacts related to the Group’s activities. Some of these tools are deployed with the assistance of independent experts. The Group also entrusts the conduct of some ten or so ethics-related assessments per year to GoodCorporation (GoodCorp). To date, more than a hundred subsidiaries exposed to ethical risks have been assessed since 2002. For its on-site activities, GoodCorp makes use of a reference catalogue containing approximately 90 questions relating to human rights, labor law, respect for the provisions governing fair competition and other ethics-related subjects. The aim of this process, during which numerous internal and external stakeholders are interviewed by GoodCorp over a period of several weeks, is to make sure that the assessed activities are consistent with the Group’s standards. GoodCorp then issues a final report identifying points requiring improvement and observed good practices. The entity is then given several months to correct any problems that have been identified, after which a follow-up inspection is performed by GoodCorp. In some cases, the Danish Institute for Human Rights, a Danish public non-profit organization, partners with GoodCorp in its activities. Other non-profit partner organizations such as the CDA Corporate Engagement Project also contribute by evaluating the social impact of certain subsidiaries on nearby local communities. CDA’s reports are published online on their website. At end-2013, the Group also commissioned the British NGO International Alert to conduct an impact study focusing on human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Even though the Group has not yet conducted any operations nor had any subsidiaries in the area in question, more than 300 people – a quarter of whom were women – were consulted by the NGO. The aim of this study was to enable the Group to better understand the country’s complex dynamics in order to limit any negative impact and maximize any positive impact the Group’s exploration activities may have on this sensitive environment. The NGO’s report is available online.