Generating social and economic value for our stakeholders is a key element of the organisation’s strategy.
In our projects, key stakeholders usually include:
• the host governments that grant our licences and regulate our activities;
• the local communities that may gain benefits or be impacted; and
• the local workforce, including personnel and contractors we may work with.
In accordance with our Corporate Responsibility Management System (CRMS), we evaluate the potential social risks and impacts of all major activities. The scope and nature of that Social Impact Assessment (SIA) depends on local context and regulations. An SIA may be performed as part of an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA).
We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as an additional framework to manage social and environmental risks and inform the development of Impact Benefit Plans.
Targeted social investment forms part of our strategy to deliver value for all stakeholders and make a positive social impact wherever we work. As part of this, we have developed social investment guidance.
Our updated approach focuses on four priority areas:
- community health;
- community economic and environmental benefit;
- community protection and climate adaptation; and
- education and innovation.
Strengthening local communities
Our activities can impact local communities to a greater or lesser extent depending upon the location of our activities.
In such instances, we share our plans with local community representatives, invite feedback on the issues that affect them and engage on ways to minimise disruption. This enables us to minimise risk, maximise shared benefits and foster long-lasting relationships.
Stakeholder Engagement in Mauritania
As we plan for our first operated activity in Mauritania, stakeholder engagement with local communities and organisations is front of mind. To inform this dialogue, in early 2021 we commissioned a third-party specialist to deliver a stakeholder-scoping report.
This report examined considerations including the socio-economic context of Mauritania, the concerns and priorities of key stakeholders, and the history of engagement with the oil and gas sector. It also looked in detail at some of the key facets of the stakeholder landscape in Mauritania, such as the significant environmental and biodiversity importance offshore; the UNESCO-protected World Heritage Site of Parc National du Banc d’Arguin and its local communities of Imraguen people; and the importance of the fishing industry to the national economy.
Combined with engagement with our peers and with government and authority bodies in-country, it has been instrumental in helping us to engage with stakeholders around the EBS, which commenced in January 2022.
Having presented our proposed Stakeholder Engagement Plan for government feedback, we sought to engage with key NGOs and representatives of the local fishing communities. Information about the grievance mechanism established to support the EBS activity was shared through information leaflets provided in both French and Arabic.