Engaging with communities

We work with local communities in an open and constructive way

Our activities sometimes have impacts on the people who live close to our facilities. For this reason, when we plan new projects we assess potential impacts on communities, including on indigenous peoples, such as health and safety, security, water use, air quality, resettlement, cultural heritage, labour rights and local livelihoods.

This helps us to identify early on whether any activities could affect the rights of people living in nearby communities - and to find ways to prevent or mitigate those impacts before any work begins.

Community consultation

We consult with communities about potential impacts from our operations so that we can address any concerns or requests. We require our businesses to respond to concerns, as well as record and act on any commitments.

In 2016 concerns raised by communities living near our major operations included property damage, security, noise, odour, dust, job opportunities for local residents, community investment programmes and flaring.

We believe that listening and responding to concerns raised by communities enables all sides to constructively resolve potential disagreements and avoid disruption to our activities.

In Iraq, where we are working in a consortium to develop the Rumaila oil field, residents expressed concerns about the planned expansion of a water treatment plant. We worked with a non-governmental organization that brought together local people, government and the consortium to identify concerns and implement solutions. For example, some residents expressed concerns about the lack of fresh water in the local area, so the consortium constructed a new water pumping station, which has helped deliver fresh water to around 1,000 households. Other actions included rebuilding a road to the plant and improving healthcare facilities.

In Azerbaijan, the construction of a new marine pipeline to our Shah Deniz 2 project had the potential to impact the local fishing industry. We talked to local community members and conducted surveys prior to and during construction to monitor any change in the livelihoods of the fishermen. As a result of the engagement, fishermen were compensated for temporary loss of income and we established a channel for them to raise concerns.

Evaluating our community complaints mechanisms

We assessed the effectiveness of community complaints mechanisms at 23 of our sites in 2016, using criteria from the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

We found that although some have strong mechanisms in place, there is still room for improvement. Some sites, such as our refinery in Germany and petrochemical plant in Belgium, already make their mechanisms easily accessible to community members and have well-documented procedures. Other sites, for example our plants in China, plan to introduce more systematic mechanisms. We provide advice, training and tools to help our sites manage community complaints in a way that conforms with our human rights policy and meets our commitment to the UN Guiding Principles. We also share industry guidance from IPIECA on community complaints mechanisms with our sites.

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