Community relations

ExxonMobil takes a multifaceted approach to managing community engagement. Our efforts are rooted in a corporate—wide commitment to responsibly manage our social and environmental impacts, ensure respect for human rights and make social investments in individual communities.

Report Oct. 24, 2018

In this article

Community relations

Managing community impacts

We engage with local communities through a variety of communication channels — including open houses, community discussions and individual meetings — to provide opportunities for dialogue with interested stakeholders. This includes establishing frequent communications with stakeholders from the onset of a project. ExxonMobil works to promote fair and equal representation among community members in public consultation activities.

We use our Upstream Socioeconomic Management Standard to identify potential socioeconomic effects and their associated risks and opportunities early in the Upstream asset lifecycle. By outlining expectations based on the identification of relevant socioeconomic aspects, the Standard drives our Upstream activities to proactively identify socioeconomic risks and implement timely, well-balanced solutions.

ExxonMobil creates grievance reporting mechanisms that provide opportunities for local citizens and communities to raise concerns. Management systems enable us to track, analyze and respond to community grievances in a timely and effective manner. The grievance process incorporates guidance from the International Finance Corporation and IPIECA on best practices for addressing community concerns.

Spotlight

Managing community grievances

ExxonMobil Cepu Limited (EMCL) has onshore operations in the Banyu Urip oil field, located in the Bojonegoro Regency of East Java, Indonesia. For security requirements, operating facilities in the Banyu Urip oil field are secured by a perimeter fence, which is illuminated by outdoor lights.

In 2017, several farmers living in the surrounding area raised concerns about decreased harvests they believed may have been caused by the lighting installed by the company along the fence, despite a lack of data to support such a claim. EMCL agreed to change the direction of more than 50 lights to help demonstrate the company’s serious consideration of community concerns.

In 2017, EMCL collaborated with a local university to create the Agriculture Assistance Program to increase the agricultural productivity in the area as part of a longer-term solution. The program has been implemented in four villages and had participation from more than 100 community members. The program includes a workshop on agriculture issues and training and consultation sessions for the farmers. The university partner also assigned agriculture experts to intensively monitor the areas. Through consistent engagement with members of the local communities, we were able to resolve the grievances without disrupting company activities.

Indigenous peoples

Indigenous communities can be especially vulnerable in a rapidly changing world due to their relatively small numbers and underrepresentation in governments. We are committed to engaging with indigenous communities in a manner that respects and preserves their cultures and customs. Our interactions with indigenous peoples around the world are consistent with the following guidelines:

Photo — A family in Papua New Guinea grows crops near their home.

When our business operations interact with indigenous communities, we conduct frequent consultations to maintain good relationships. This includes understanding how each individual indigenous community prefers to engage with ExxonMobil. For example, communities can decide if they want us to meet with elected leaders, community elders or other representatives, and whether those engagements should be conducted in a formal or informal public forum.

Through open consultation, we work to understand and incorporate indigenous perspectives into project planning, design, execution and ongoing operations. Wherever we work with indigenous peoples, we support both local employment initiatives and cultural heritage programs through local content development and strategic community investments.

Performance and initiatives

We participate in IPIECA’s task force on free prior and informed consent, which focuses on gaining clarity on the definition and best practices for working with indigenous peoples. IPIECA continues to monitor developments related to this topic and holds periodic sessions and webinars to share local knowledge and discuss emerging trends.

Cultural heritage and diversity

Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes of a group that are inherited from past generations, maintained and bestowed for the benefit of future generations. ExxonMobil uses local knowledge, ideas, skills and culture to pursue economic development while protecting cultural heritage. Our goal is to conduct our work while consciously respecting and preserving cultural sites and artifacts.

We integrate our respect for the cultural heritage and customs of local communities into the design and execution of our projects. This includes cultural and spiritual considerations, heritage sites, biodiversity conservation, traditional knowledge and sustainable resource management.

Prior to starting work in an area, we use a cultural heritage identification process, in conjunction with open communication with local communities, to recognize potential sites of cultural significance. If recovery or relocation of discovered artifacts is appropriate, tailored procedures are developed and documented in consultation with technical experts, local communities and appropriate host-country government officials. We use relevant studies to deepen the knowledge among our workforce and provide training to our construction and field contractor personnel on managing cultural heritage aspects in the areas in which we work.

Spotlight

Reindeer Herders’ Festival at Chayvo

In August 2017 a traditional reindeer herder festival took place at the bank of Chayvo Bay, Russia, with financial support from Exxon Neftegas Limited. In addition to cultural exchange, the festival gave the guests an opportunity to learn more about the Sakhalin-1 project, which is located near the festival site. Before the festival, the guests participated in a tour of the production site and learned more about Exxon Neftegas Limited’s approach to managing environmental and social risks. 

“We are deeply impressed by the high environmental standards of Exxon Neftegas Limited. The Sakha Republic in Russia is also presently experiencing rapid industrial growth. We want our industries to follow the environmental path of Exxon Neftegas Limited." — Lybov Khristoforova, State Arctic Committee from Sakha Republic

Land use and resettlement

Part of operating responsibly means respecting property rights in the countries where we operate, including those of traditional land users. Whenever land is necessary for projects, we adhere to applicable host country regulatory requirements that govern land acquisition, in addition to our own internal standards. If projects are externally financed, we comply with lender stipulations regarding land use, access and resettlement requirements.

We aim to minimize involuntary resettlement through a disciplined site selection process. Multiple potential locations are typically assessed based on technical criteria such as availability, accessibility and safety, as well as environmental and social considerations.

When physical or economic displacement is unavoidable, we seek to restore the livelihoods of displaced persons by developing and implementing location-specific resettlement action plans. These plans are informed by consultations with landowners as well as surveying and mapping of housing structures, gardens, wildlife, natural products, harvesting areas and other assets. When appropriate, we assign individuals or groups to priority resettlement assistance programs.

Performance and initiatives

ExxonMobil employs practices and policies to respect property rights in the locations where we operate. We pay particular attention to areas populated by indigenous peoples, or ethnic groups who are the original inhabitants of a given region. ExxonMobil was not involved in the resettlement of any individuals from indigenous populations in 2017. 

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