We engage with local communities to help prevent or reduce the risks and direct or indirect impacts resulting from our operations’ activities. We focus at the local level, we consider the varied circumstances we face wherever we operate and take action to support long-term, sustainable development.
In OMV Petrom we engage with local communities throughout our operations’ entire life cycle, from planning through active operations to decommissioning and site remediation. In this way, we minimize the impacts our presence could have on local communities, ensuring they benefit from our activities. We want to reduce and mitigate the impacts our operations may have on the livelihoods, land, environment, cultural heritage, health, and wellbeing of local people. We work with humility and try to earn local people’s trust through our transparency and actions. We value their local skills and knowledge as employees and stakeholders. We engage with local people and their representative bodies, listening to their concerns and learning from them. Our aim is to find ways of working that deliver mutual benefit, balancing their needs with our business goals.
As a corporate citizen, we aim to be a partner for communities we operate in, through strategies, projects and investments that answer local needs and priorities. As a signatory of the UN Principles on Business and Human Rights, we conduct our activities in communities with the aim to support the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development.
How we manage our community relations
Our community relations and development management process is based on centralized policies and targets and is implemented by locally responsible persons with local resources. Before starting a project in our communities, we conduct a Social Impact Assessment (SIA), which includes free and prior informed consultation and consent of local stakeholders. In specific cases, the SIA is integrated into the Environmental Impact Assessment (ESIA) to foster synergies and efficiencies. The SIA aims to ensure that the local communities’ views are incorporated and addressed throughout all phases of the project life cycle: commencement, operational phase, and decommissioning or abandonment. We also pay particular attention to any possible impact on human rights. Based on the internal regulation for conducting SIAs, we include a baseline study, community needs assessments, stakeholder analyses, and a study of social risks associated with the project. Whenever it is, SIAs are conducted in a participatory manner by directly consulting with potentially affected communities. Our standards require that the outcomes of the SIA are communicated to affected stakeholders.
Based on the SIA’s outcome, we further develop and implement site-specific strategies for community relations and development, stakeholder engagement plans as well as Community Grievance Mechanisms.
To ensure a transparent community relationship process, we comply with national legislation, financial requirements and international standards. We have developed a specific set of internal standards, procedures and directives for the processes: Community Relations and Communities Development, the Stakeholder Engagement, the Upstream Engagement Process of Community Engagement, the Sponsorship Strategy and the Grievance Mechanism. The community relations and development guideline procedure was updated in 2020. The results of our community involvement projects are monitored and measured through pre-set KPIs and baseline studies.
We maintain regular communication with our communities and with major stakeholders.
We also bring our contribution to local development through community or social investments. The investments are prioritized based on the local needs identified through the SIA process and/or during the ongoing consultations with the local communities for developing/revising the yearly development plans.
Our community and social investments are focused on preventing or mitigating social risks and positioning OMV Petrom as part of the social fabric. These also include knowledge transfer initiatives aimed at building the potential workforce’s local technical capacity (e.g., scholarships for students from Upstream communities who take part in vocational schools, requalification training for vulnerable people in Upstream communities). In case of decommissioning or exit, our community relations team ensures that potential social impacts are addressed by establishing targeted community engagement plans, social impact assessment, and management plans and developing exit strategies for ongoing community development projects.
The OMV Petrom Sustainability corporate level function governs and steers the implementation of the community relations and development plans in Upstream and Downstream divisions, receives regular reporting and feedback from stakeholders, monitors and ensures that the Group guidelines, policies, and regulations are correctly implemented. The management process of community relations is set up based on centrally governed policies, responsibilities, targets, and locally-engaged resources. We hold structured, regular alignment meetings with our community development specialists to monitor and steer local implementation of our site-specific community relations and development strategies and plans. The community relations and development guideline procedure was updated.
Community relations and development management activities are designed in each business division in accordance with business strategies. In 2020, due to the coronavirus crisis, part of our planned community relations and development management activities had to be postponed or some of the initiatives refocused on more immediate community needs response.
Our plans cover the activities of all our business segments, meaning 350 localities in Romania and Kazakhstan, where Upstream activities take place, as well as the areas where we have retail presence, through our 793 filling stations (Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria and Serbia).
The community development strategies for Upstream are revised yearly, and the project plans are designed based on consultation with the community, with major stakeholders (e.g., grass roots organization, schools, local public institutions, NGOs, Department for Child Protection, county inspectorate).