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Communities and local development Communities

Our commitment: to maximize the opportunities available to communities by sharing value.

We strive to establish strong and long-lasting relationships with the communities we have dealings with in the areas where we operate. These relationships are based on trust, mutual respect, and shared value through participatory dialogue.

Due to the nature of our operations and our presence in more than 30 countries, we are aware that our activities affect a large number of very different populations in very different ways. In order to address this challenge, we have a set of processes and activities aimed at preventing and mitigating our impact and maximizing social opportunities in the communities where we are present. 

The first thing we do prior to beginning our relationship with a community is to find out about and analyze the context and social, economic, and cultural peculiarities of the place where we are going to operate. We also collaborate with local public authorities and social organizations to identify the expectations, needs, and aspirations of these communities in relation to our activity and facilities. We perform an Environmental, Social, and Health Impact Assessment (ESHIA) and identify and analyze these risks.

In this impact identification phase, it must be noted that oil and gas production activities are very different from those carried out at our industrial facilities. The geographical context in which they take place also differs from one activity to another. Therefore, the impact they have is also different: 

  • at our refineries and chemical complexes it is mainly related to odors, noise, and atmospheric emissions, and to a lesser extent, fumes, waste, truck traffic, and light pollution. 
  • at our exploration and production operations, the main impacts on nearby communities are usually identified as an increase in vehicle, river, and air traffic; the generation of dust in busy roads; the modification of hunting and fishing patterns in the area; or the increase in population due to the rise in people settling in the area.

Our impact assessments also include an evaluation of the social opportunities of each project with the aim of identifying and maximizing the positive impact it will have on the community, including potential contributions to the socio-economic development of the communities.. The entire process is carried out through a proactive, participatory, and continuous dialogue with the communities. This dialogue is based on the principles of reciprocity, mutual benefit, integrity, good faith, and information transparency and gives us valuable feedback.

To enable this dialogue as part of our operations, one of the main tools we use is operational-level grievance mechanisms. Communities can use these to communicate their concerns, make claims or complaints in relation to the potential and real impacts that may occur, including those that could affect their human rights: 

  • There are 24-hour telephone helplines available at the industrial facilities, which have protocols for internally receiving, recording, and dealing with complaints made by the community. 
  • The communities where exploration and production operations are being carried out can forward their concerns and complaints about operations, contractors, and subcontractors, although at times they are also channeled through community relations personnel located at the operating sites. 

In order to reinforce these principles, we promote our commitments among our contractors and make sure that they are fulfilled in all the environments in which we operate.