New business coalition, "Building Responsibly", forms to protect workers' rights in construction industry

Six major engineering and construction companies have formed a new industry-led coalition called "Building Responsibly" aimed at protecting workers' rights and welfare in global construction supply chains. In our December 2016 report, BHRRC recommended that companies "establish an industry group, with strong mechanisms for civil society input, to identify risk, share challenges and good practice, develop guidance and push for pre-competitive industry wide standards."

According to the announcement, the new collaborative initiative will enable members to share "best practices, agree on common approaches and standards, develop tools, and engage clients, civil society, and international organizations", with a focus on three key areas of work: recruitment, working and living conditions, and subcontractor and supply chain practices.

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15 March 2017

Verité Welcomes the Formation of Building Responsibly

Author: Verite

Verité welcomes the formation of Building Responsibly, an engineering and construction industry initiative, supported by Humanity United...Verité congratulates the six inaugural member companies – AMEC Foster Wheeler, Bechtel Corporation, CH2M, Fluor, MULTIPLEX Middle East, and Vinci – who held the first formal meeting of the collaboration in February 2017. The initiative, which is open to engineering and construction companies committed to respecting the rights and welfare of workers will be facilitated by Business for Social Responsibility (BSR)Verité is particularly pleased that Building Responsibly will focus on three key industry issues that impact workers in the sector – company recruitment practices, working and living conditions, and subcontractor and supply chain practices.

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28 February 2017

Building Responsibly is the Way Forward

Author: David Segall, NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, in Fair Observer (USA)

[S]ix major engineering and construction companies—CH2M Hill, Vinci SA, Amec Foster Wheeler, Bechtel Corporation, Fluor Corporation and Multiplex—are hosting the inaugural meeting of a new industry-led coalition called Building ResponsiblyThe group will focus on the rights of workers in global construction supply chains, including those rights related to the recruitment of these workers, to their living and working conditions, and to subcontractor management. 

The formation...represents an important first step forward for an industry that has been slow to address labor rights issues, especially in the Arabian Gulf region...Collaborations like this can promote the sharing of best practices and the development of common industry standards and metrics...[A]s global supply chains have grown increasingly complex, a number of industry groups focusing on labor rights and environmental justice in their own supply chains have been formed...Until now, the engineering and construction industry has yet to develop a similar collective framework...large companies in the sector have faced negative publicity relating to labor practices in construction in Qatar and the broader Gulf region, making an organization like Building Responsibly crucial for the industry’s major players.

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22 February 2017

Building Responsibly: Turning Challenges to Opportunities in Engineering and Construction

Author: Dominic Kotas & Jean-Baptiste Andrieu, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR)

The engineering and construction industry...relies on large numbers of low-skilled workers a major provider of formal employment opportunities around the world...large real estate and infrastructure projects have fueled a construction boom, attracting millions of migrant workers...Many companies in the engineering and construction industry have longstanding commitments to the health, safety, and welfare of workers...Working in isolation, however, means that companies’ impact is limited.

For six companies in the engineering and construction industry, this construction boom and associated challenges present an opportunity to incubate and implement a new collaboration on the rights and welfare of workers...Building Responsibly—an industry-led collaborative initiative facilitated by BSR with support from Humanity United—will enable construction and engineering companies to collaborate around their shared values, advance their programs by sharing best practices, agree on common approaches and standards, develop tools, and engage clients, civil society, and international organizations. Through this initiative, companies can more effectively align with regulations and stakeholder expectations, while increasing productivity and fostering a better environment for workers.

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12 July 2016

Addressing Workers’ Rights in the Engineering and Construction Sector: Opportunities for Collaboration

Author: Jean-Baptiste Andrieu, Aude Ucla & Michaela Lee, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR)

BSR conducted research to assess the feasibility of setting up a collaborative initiative that would address challenges that engineering and construction companies face to uphold workers’ rights in their operations and subcontracting supply chains...[The] research is based on a review of recent literature as well as a series of interviews with representatives from engineering and construction companies and their clients, international organizations, and civil society organizations...The main findings...suggest that companies share many of the same challenges, oversight of subcontractors’ practices, which creates few incentives to improve working conditions.

The report makes a series of recommendations that provide a baseline for discussion between stakeholders and engineering and construction companies interested in setting up a collaborative initiative in the construction sector [refers to Aecom, Atkins, Bechtel, BP, Carillion, CH2M, Chevron, FIFA, Fluor, Jacobs, and Vinci].

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