Strategic Comms Awards

Best approach to diversity and inclusivity

Agency: Radley Yeldar

bp is currently on a ten-year programme to transition from an international oil company into an integrated energy company, which has diversity and inclusion at its heart. But creating an organisation that attains and retains diverse talent who enjoy an inclusive employee experience can so easily turn into a box-ticking exercise, which is why bp opted for full transparency about its journey. This led to the publication of bp’s first standalone diversity and inclusion report, as it continues to position itself as an industry leader and a company that better reflects the world in which it operates.

The report first demonstrates how bp is embedding its diversity, equity, and inclusion work into its sustainability framework, and across its wider strategy which involves tackling diversity in its supply chain. Having consulted with employee groups, bp has created a global framework for action, which focuses on three areas: transparency, accountability, and talent.

The report highlights what each area means in practice for its UK and US operations, what initiatives are being launched in each region and current progress against these. For example, under accountability in the US, bp prohibited the Confederate flag and other symbols of hate from its sites from August 2020, but also now includes this prohibition in vendor contracts. In the UK, it is establishing an ethnic minority ambition, with goals for 2025 that include 15 per cent representation at senior leadership level (from 10.2 per cent currently).

Similarly, employees in both countries now have DE&I priorities in their development plans. Eschewing reams of opaque data, the report lays out the relevant numbers in clear and easy-to-understand visualisations and is open about any shortcomings. For example, bp currently only reports gender in terms of male and female, but the report makes clear that the company is working to better understand its non-binary team members and to create a culture in which they will be able to fully declare their identity data. It is also honest that some of the gender ambitions it announced in 2012, such as 30 per cent of senior level leader roles held by females, were not reached, and that more work must be done in terms of recruitment, talent progression and retention of senior women.

The report concedes the difficulties in collating ethnicity data – it has information for just 92 per cent of the UK and US workforces – and has launched a Self-ID initiative to tackle this. But from the available information, bp’s report points out that, while ethnic minorities make up 16 per cent of its workforce in the UK, in line with the UK average, it does not reflect the ethnic make-up of the southeast, where it is predominantly based.

Throughout the report, there are stories and examples to showcase diversity and inclusion initiatives available across the business, such as the Transgender Working Group, which helped eight colleagues come out as transgender in 2020, and neurodiversity awareness training sessions.