Mapping of human rights impacts in the oil & gas value chain

The parties and adhering banks to the Dutch Banking Sector Agreement (banks, civil society organizations, government and trade unions) mapped the human rights impacts in the oil & gas value chain from their collective areas of expertise.

Oil & Gas Value Chain © Shutterstock

In line with the UNGPs, they subsequently determined which human rights impacts were most severe and should therefore be addressed with priority. Parties and banks agreed to jointly carry out value chain mapping exercises in high risk sectors. Earlier analyses on the cocoa, palm oil and gold value chains where published.

Dutch banks are financing the oil & gas sector and it is expected that oil & gas will continue to have a prominent role in the global energy mix in the coming decades. The working group based its analysis on the expertise of parties and their networks, expertise of local stakeholders andoutput of expert meetings.

Prioritisation framework

The oil & gas working group identified and prioritised human rights issues associated with the oil & gas value chain according to the severity and leverage framework derived from the UNGPs. These contain the scale (gravity of the impact), scope (number of individuals affected) and remediability (the ease with which those impacted can be restored to their prior enjoyment of their rights). To determine leverage, parties considered which actors in or around the chain need to behave differently, which party or adhering is best positioned to influence this actor and how the party or adhering bank is going to exercise leverage.

Identified human rights issues

This led to a longlist of 12 human rights issues. A risk mapping showed that in any human rights risk assessment for oil and gas activities, certain human rights risks and (potential) impacts are likely to come up. This eventually led to a shortlist of 4 human rights issues:

  • Environmental impacts
  • Indigenous peoples’ rights
  • Labour rights
  • Government corruption, transparency & taxes


Eventually two separate sets of recommendations were identified. The first is a set of general recommendations for identifying relevant human rights issues and the second is a set of specific recommendations based on the four identified high priority human rights issues.

By publishing this analysis with recommendations parties and banks hope to inspire each other as well as other (international) financial institutions active in the global oil and gas sector.

Read the analysis of the Oil & Gas Value Chain (pdf)