Society

We believe that societies and communities where we work should benefit from our presence.

BP’s projects and operations have the potential to positively impact local communities by creating jobs, generating tax revenues, providing opportunities for local suppliers and supporting community development initiatives.

We work with governments, non-governmental organizations and international agencies to foster good governance in the countries where we operate, focusing on improving transparency and eliminating corruption 
BP believes in consulting with communities throughout the life cycle of projects and operations

Our ability to operate safely and continuously depends not only on obtaining the necessary official permits from the authorities, but also on the informal permission or social licence to operate that communities in the surrounding area can choose to give or withhold.

BP’s activities have the potential to impact communities positively and negatively. Projects that are subject to our environmental and social practices are required to conduct impact assessments. We consult with communities about potential environmental and socio-economic impacts and develop plans to manage these.
We aim to ensure that our presence in Georgia, and wherever we operate, creates mutual advantage for us and for those with whom we come into contact. Using our collective experience and resources and working in partnership with others, we seek to respond to local needs and contribute to building the capacity of individuals, communities and institutions.

In Georgia, our focus will be to help protect the co-venturers’ asset base and overall investment by retaining the goodwill and supporting the work of key stakeholders – communities adjacent to the facilities, government and the NGO sector and the local business community.

Our goal is to maintain good relationships with communities near our facilities, as well as support the creation of a favourable environment for small and medium sized businesses. The geography of our operations and the economic profile of neighbouring communities mean that sustainable projects in support of agriculture will remain our focus in rural areas.

Recognizing Georgia’s need to further develop its energy sector, we also seek to build capacity in civil society organizations and within communities.

Engaging with communities

We engage regularly with the communities near our pipelines because we want to maintain constructive relationships with them.

Liaising with local communities

BP seeks to maintain positive relationship with the communities along its pipelines. Our liaison objectives and communication tools are described in a community communication plan. Villages along the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan/South Caucasus Pipeline
(BTC/SCP) and Western Route Export Pipeline (WREP) are categorized according to their social and environmental sensitivities to enable us to have the appropriate type and level of interaction with them. Meetings with local community representatives take place regularly. We continued local community engagement and conducted 803 consultation meetings with different target groups in the villages along the pipelines and near our facilities. This ensures that the BP social team is well-aware of local issues, listens to community concerns, and can reinforce messages about safety and restrictions along the pipelines. Our target groups are village heads/trustees, local residents, complainants and landowners. We also developed a community calendar for 2015 that provides information to local communities and landowners about pipeline protection safety zones, and on simple ways to protect the environment.


Engagement relating to SCPX

We continue to engage with communities about the SCPX project, informing communities and local government about plans and progress. Our team of community liaison officers plays an important role by listening to community concerns and responding to them, by sharing concerns with project staff and giving guidance on local sensitivities.


Responding to grievances

Our activities take place near a large number of villages and municipalities and involve access to and construction work on land. Occasionally, community grievances arise. As part of our approach to engagement, we have a clear process for managing third-party complaints.

Our programmes

We support programmes that respond to local needs and which are relevant to our business activities.

In 2003, we launched our first community development programme, linked to the start of construction work on the BTC/SCP pipelines. Since then, together with our co-venturers, we have contributed to a wide range of projects in Georgia which have helped local communities, promoted business development, supported education and protected Georgia’s cultural and natural environment. 
Initiatives have included:
  
• A project to improve the business environment for small and medium-sized companies by reducing regulatory burdens and improving corporate governance.
• Increasing awareness of energy efficiency through demonstration projects across Georgia.

• A Masters level scholarship programme to enable gifted Georgian students to continue their education at UK universities.

• Awarding grants to national environmental NGOs for capacity building.

• Promoting environmentally sound practices and biodiversity conservation.

Supporting enterprise

Our Community Development Initiative (CDI) is helping to develop local economic capacity.
The initiative, which has changed to address community needs as they have evolved over the years, entered its fourth phase in May 2012. The original CDI programme was begun in 2003.

Helping rural development

CDI phase 4 aims to deepen the positive relationship between BP and communities along the pipeline routes. It supports  sustainable forms of social co-operation, improving agricultural production, and developing regional agro-businesses. The
programme also supports small-scale business start-ups. This includes providing training on business planning, markets and the concept of the value chain; developing understanding of product definition and tools for pricing; and giving guidance on sales and marketing.

Implementation by local non-governmental organizations

The programme is implemented by two Georgian non-governmental organizations. In western Georgia, it is run by the Regional Development Association and in eastern Georgia by the Centre for Training and Consultancy. CARE, the international humanitarian agency, provides advice, having been involved in CDI from its inception. The engagement of national NGOs has been a deliberate policy, designed to increase local capability.

A model for business development

CDI has attracted considerable interest as a model for community development. We were invited in 2014 to provide advice and share our experience of CDI implementation with the Deputy Minister of Economics, in support of the Ministry’s newly established ‘Entrepreneur Development Agency’ and support programme.
CDI has also been established for WREP communities, where the Georgian Organization of the Scouts Movement is the implementing partner.
The programme here is aiming to support more than 100 affected villages, as well as internally-displaced persons, and young people.

We are keen to ensure that the CDI programme continues to respond to the needs of participants and can adapt to changing circumstances. Its scope has expanded in 2013 with the inclusion of two new village communities (Tori in Borjomi and Iraga in Tetritsakro) which are close to BP operations along BTC/SCP. This brings the total number of communities covered by CDI on these
pipelines to 79.
Since May 2013, CDI has been applied to villages affected by the SCPX project. The total number of villages currently covered is 18. Our intention is to increase awareness of the project and build a spirit of co-operation before construction work begins. To date, nine rehabilitation projects have been launched, covering initiatives such as roofing, potable water and irrigation schemes.

Supporting development in the society where we work

We want local communities to benefit from our presence and we support a wide range of projects that build local capacity.

The Project Management College

Established in 2009 as a partnership between BP, its co-venturers, ESI International (specialists in project management training) and Free University of Tbilisi, the Project Management College provides a seven-course curriculum leading to a Master’s Certificate from The George Washington University School of Business. It also provides the possibility of graduates becoming Project Management Professional (PMP®) certified by the Project Management Institute (PMI®). The course involves 24 days of study, spread over a year. A total of 252 students in 13 intakes have studied in its first five years, with 215 of them graduating with Master’s Certificates, and 14 becoming PMPs.
Students represent senior to mid-level managers from more than 100 different organizations, ranging from private companies, to NGOs, international organizations and the public sector. BP and its co-venturers provide financial support to the college of approximately $2 million over the duration of the agreement. In the longer term, our goal is to build local capacity so that the entire programme is run by Georgian nationals. The project has been extended for two more years, with an additional $250,000 funding. This will allow 50 more students to study in English, as well as translation of all seven courses into Georgian. It will also support the training of trainers, so that the curriculum can be offered in Georgian.

Supporting renewable energy and energy efficiency

This project, which builds on a series of pioneering initiatives we have run with the Georgia Energy Efficiency Centre, involved 23 small-scale initiatives in Eastern and Western Georgia.
Projects adopted clean energy measures such as replacing inefficient wood stoves with energy efficient ones; installing double-glazed PVC windows, doors and roof insulation; replacing light bulbs, and installing solar photovoltaic panels and thermal systems.

Energy efficient technologies introduced by BP and its partners help reduce CO2 emissions in Georgia

BP announced results of the three-year project ‘Renewable energy and energy efficiency project for Georgian municipalities’. 

The project initiated and funded by BP and its oil and gas Co-venturers and implemented by the Energy Efficiency Center Georgia aims at promoting national energy security, as well as global environment protection, by improving energy efficiency in Georgian communities through provision of various tools and devices for reducing the CO2 emissions.

Building capacity

We work in partnership with a large number of organizations to help build the fabric of Georgian civil society.

Promoting energy efficiency

A related project to promote energy efficiency has involved eight Georgian municipalities, headed by Tbilisi. The municipalities are signatories of the EU Covenant of Mayors (CoM). Under the covenant,cities have undertaken to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020 _ an ambitious target.
The project supports the CoM by implementing large-scale demonstration projects in each participating city. Initiatives are intended to serve as practical examples for other projects. Each municipality is developing a sustainable energy action plan to achieve the CoM target. The plans include a list of publicly owned buildings where energy efficiency projects could be launched. They include schools, kindergartens, medical centres, art and sport schools, and orphanages. Projects for each city will be selected, with an approximate investment value of $60,000 per municipality.
To date, four projects have been implementedin three municipalities: Gori, Telavi and Rustavi. Work has begun to identify projects in the other municipalities.
 
Georgia investment climate project

This project, being implemented by the International Finance Corporation, seeks to promote sustainable private sector growth by increasing the competitiveness of local companies.
The project has three focal areas:
• Simplifying tax administration (primarily VAT).
• Streamlining customs procedures and systems.
• Revising existing investment legislation to promote trade and foreign direct investment.
The direct initial beneficiaries will be the Ministry of Finance and State Revenue Service. In time, a simpler administrative environment should bring benefits to operating companies.

Encouraging trade and investment

We support the EU-Georgia Business Council (EUGBC), which was established with a $300,000 grant under the BP pledge agreement with the government of Georgia, signed in 2004. The EUGBC is a business driven organization who’s main
purpose is to:
• Encourage investment and trade between EU and Georgia.
• Promote Georgia in the EU as a place to invest and do business, and vice versa.
• Promote and protect the common business interests of its members.
• Foster ties in the EU and Georgia between businesses, governments and civil   societies.

EUGBC members include the Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the American Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Georgian Businessmen and the Association of Georgian Exporters.

In 2014, EUGBC activities included meetings with Georgian government and European Union and international finance officials, carrying out business delegations to Europe, and holding trade seminars for Georgian small and medium-sized business.

International School of Economics, Tbilisi

Support for education has long been an important element of our development initiatives in Georgia. This includes support for schooling, tertiary education, and continuing professional development. We continued to support the International School of Economics in Tbilisi, which aims to bring world class teaching and research methods to the study of economics for the benefit of the region. The school has continued its work to develop a focal area in the economics of human resources within the MA programme. This will prepare students for analytical careers concerned with labour market regulation, healthcare and education reform in Georgia and the South Caucasus region.

Media capacity building

‘English for Media’ is a sought-after language training programme for Georgian journalists that has trained approximately 300 journalists in Tbilisi and regions since its launch in 2005. The programme is delivered by the British Council with financial
support from BP.

We have always sought to make sure that the course moves with the times. Last year, English for Media provided an opportunity to selected students to enhance their skills by attending a course delivered by Thomson Foundation lecturers the world’s oldest international media development organization, with a 50-year history of training journalists. The course covered blogs, social platforms, citizen-generated and social media content verification, and data journalism. It provided various digital tips and tools for creating timelines, maps, panoramas, annotated images and other multimedia content.