Across our companies, we believe that we have a responsibility to protect and respect human rights, while also mitigating and remediating negative impacts to people, whether that is our employees, partners, or members of the communities in which we operate.
The SS&T committee of Sempra’s board of directors is charged with oversight of our human rights initiatives, including Sempra’s human rights policy, and our vice president of corporate sustainability is responsible for implementing the human rights policy, which aligns with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Additionally, we adhere to the following international human rights standards and principles:
- The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- The International Labor Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work
- The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
- The Convention on the Rights of the Child
- The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
- The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
Sempra’s human rights policy commits the company to periodic human rights assessments. In 2021, Sempra reaffirmed our strong commitment to human rights through the update of our human rights policy and initiation of an updated corporate human rights assessment. We retained a leading consultant in the human rights space, BSR (Business for Social Responsibility), to conduct this assessment covering Sempra and our operating companies. This assessment helped identify and prioritize salient human rights issues with the additional goal of assessing and strengthening their current level of management across the Sempra family of companies. Sempra, in collaboration with its operating companies, will review the assessment and look to integrate key findings, where possible, to further strengthen its human rights due diligence processes.
This effort included interviews with internal and external stakeholders, as well as thorough review of related company policies and procedures. The assessment, which concluded in early 2022, resulted in:
- An overview of Sempra’s corporate human rights risk profile, including identification and prioritization of Sempra’s salient human rights risks and impacts;
- Elevated understanding of human rights at Sempra to help avoid negative impacts in the future;
- Practical management recommendations for individual human rights issues to comprehensively address the actual and potential human rights impacts identified; and
- A strong foundation for cross-functional action to assess, prevent, mitigate and remediate these priority salient human rights risks.
Sempra’s salient human rights issues include indigenous rights, attacks on human rights defenders, public health and safety, climate change and occupational health and safety. We are working actively across our family of companies to strengthen management of these issues in order to mitigate any future potential adverse impacts that our infrastructure or operations may have on people and communities.
Supplier compliance with our human rights policy is also important. Our supplier code of conduct details our expectations for compliance with a range of policies including those related to human rights, child labor, forced labor and corruption.
Supporting indigenous communities
We recognize that individuals from certain groups or populations, including indigenous peoples, face heightened risk of marginalization. Sempra’s headquarters is located on the ancestral land of the Kumeyaay. There are four indigenous bands in the San Diego area: Kumeyaay, Luiseño, Cupeño and Cahuilla. San Diego County has more federally recognized Native American reservations (18) than any other county in the United States. SDG&E has a tribal relations team dedicated to supporting the indigenous people within its service territory.
SoCalGas has a team of dedicated specialists within its public affairs team that engage with 56 federally recognized tribes within its service territory. When maintenance and operations work is required on reservation lands, cultural resource specialists within SoCalGas’ environmental services department work with tribal historic preservation officers to enable the work in a manner that respects Native American interests and concerns on their lands. In 2021, SoCalGas invested in programs to assist in food and basic needs, health services, workforce education and training and economic prosperity with Native American, Alaska Native and Hawaiian Native populations. Across the Sempra companies, our focus remains on increasing safety, reliability, resiliency and sustainability on tribal lands.
In Mexico, we are currently developing a social project for the Kumeyaay in Baja California, consisting of a botanical garden in the Guadalupe Valley. In Sonora, we built a solar-power based water purification plant for the Mayo community. For the Yaquis, we distributed food and medical supplies for COVID-19 relief and gave scholarships for university students. Also, we paid for renovations for the Yaqui ceremonial center in Belem through Fundacion IEnova.
An investigation is begun after a concern is raised about a potential ethics, compliance or policy violation. The assigned investigator gathers and analyzes the relevant information.
Findings and recommendations:
Relevant decision makers review the investigator’s findings and decide what corrective actions to take, if any. The findings are shared with the person who raised the concern, the person reported in the concern and other key stakeholders. Any recommended corrective actions are communicated to those who need to know.
Incorporation of lessons learned:
Lessons learned from the investigation are anonymized, evaluated and incorporated, when appropriate, into training and learning opportunities.