Backing human rights drive

June 24, 2004, 15:00 CEST

Statoil has become a member of the Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights (BLIHR).

BLIHR shares data on UN's draft norms for human rights in project development and enterprise management.

“The aim is to develop tools which can help companies to systematise their human rights efforts in selected projects,” says Arne Seglem Larsen.

He is manager for west Africa and Americas in Statoil’s unit for country analysis and social responsibility.

“The BLIHR will serve as an arena for learning, in which experience and best practice are shared and various tools tested, linked to these present, and most likely future, voluntary principles,” he explains.

Statoil represents the energy sector in this initiative, with other corporate members including ABB (power and technology), Barclays (finance) and MTV (communication and media).

In addition come National Grid Transco (public sector companies), Novartis and Novo Nordisk (pharmaceuticals), Body Shop International (retailing) and Hewlett-Packard (information technology).

Although the number of participating companies is being kept small, Mr Larsen says that additional members could be recruited from certain other sectors.

The initiative is headed by Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and UN high commissioner for human rights, and is due to complete its work by December 2006.

Other participants in the BLIHR include the UN Global Compact, the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, Amnesty International and the Global Reporting Initiative – all supported by Statoil.