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27 Jul 2010

Raymond Brown - Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis law firm, on DiversityInc [USA]

BP Executives' Human-Rights Miscalculation: Have They Bet the Company?

"A fisher[man] who can no longer eat the fish he catches because the water has been polluted...may not know that access to safe and nutritious food is actually a human right..."... Before the recent...Deepwater Horizon [disaster]..., one could assume that no BP executive imagined that our "fisherman" with the inedible catch might be an American... BP's leadership...[has] performed many human-rights impact assessments (HRIAs) in other parts of the world... How, then, did BP executives fail to grasp the human-rights implications of drilling activities in the Gulf?... The first [possible explanation] is that BP executives deliberately risked disaster for profit. The second is that BP inadvertently failed to perform a thorough risk assessment... In part, it appears that BP's executives shared the view of many in the western business world that human-rights issues are relevant to ventures in "third world," "frontier" or underdeveloped countries... BP and other major oil companies did limited environmental assessments...[but they] failed to identify the [human rights] consequences of a disaster... [An] HRIA incorporates interaction with "rights holders"...