Successful community relations activities provide a means by which to proactively engage with stakeholders on a regular and ongoing basis to share information and identify issues, concerns, needs, ideas and values, areas of mutual interest, and potential conflicts with the goals and objectives of any proposed project activity. Integration of learnings should be considered in the decision-making process. A comprehensive grievance mechanism should be implemented with stakeholders.
Community engagement in South Africa and Colombia
As we extend our reach into new areas, it is imperative that we engage with local communities from the onset.
For example, in 2013, ExxonMobil began considering new operations in the Transkei/Algoa Exploration Area on the South African coastline. In partnership with our co-venturer, Impact Africa, a team of ExxonMobil employees and consultants led a series of community engagement meetings in the area.
The key objectives were to communicate currently envisioned project options, develop relationships with community members and discuss environmental sensitivities with key stakeholders. Audience members included local environmental authorities, NGOs, marine researchers and community members. Three stakeholder meetings were held in Port St. Johns, East London and Port Elizabeth in June.
Through this process, we were able to open communication channels between the project team and these communities. We were also able to collect informed comments about how the public could be impacted by the proposed exploration activities. We look forward to advancing potential exploration activities in South Africa and growing our presence in that country.
We are also progressing plans to start onshore exploration in the Middle Magdalena Valley region in Colombia. To address local citizens’ potential concerns, ExxonMobil led a team to begin community engagement in this area. Community engagement specialists have held more than 100 meetings to date in three different regions, focusing on social engagement, environmental studies and other topics.
More than 3,600 local citizens have attended these meetings to date. The meetings have helped establish an ongoing dialogue and identify key community needs, such as potable water treatment systems, which ExxonMobil may be able to provide.
ExxonMobil strives to have a positive impact in each community in which we operate. We believe strong, informed communities pave the way for a successful business environment.