Dialogue and involvement with stakeholders

Since about twenty years, changes in the regulatory framework have promoted the information, consultation and dialogue with stakeholders prior to making decisions that have a significant impact on the environment.

In addition to complying with regulations, TOTAL sets up structures for dialogue at every level within the Group. The foremost requirement of the Group’s societal directive is that “each asset must consult its stakeholders regularly to gain a clearer understanding of their expectations and concerns, measure their level of satisfaction regarding the Group and identify avenues of improvement for its societal strategy”.

Stakeholder consultation processes

TOTAL strives to develop a continuous dialogue with its stakeholders and to ensure the long-term sustainability of this relationship through various mechanisms and structures. Along these lines, the Group has launched various initiatives in recent years.

In the Group’s Exploration & Production entities, the role of the Community Liaison Officers (CLO) is often decisive. Generally members of the local community, whose language they speak and whose customs they understand, they are employed by TOTAL and trained to the culture and specific characteristics of the oil industry so that they can maintain the dialogue between the subsidiary and the local communities. CLOs promote the Company’s integration in the local context and are the first link in its societal initiative.

For example, Total E&P Bolivia is currently recruiting a number of CLOs within the framework of the Azero exploration license acquired in 2013. Similarly, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, two CLOs have been recruited, a community representative undertakes spot assignments as required and consultation Committees have been set up at various levels (local authorities, NGO, local populations). In addition, the CLOs receive regular training to ensure greater familiarization with TOTAL’s societal practices: in 2014, this applied in particular to Yemen.

Dialogue prior to exploration and production activities

This dialogue can be initiated by local consultants within the framework of social baseline studies. This occurred in 2014 as part of the study conducted for the development of the Absheron field in the Caspian Sea for which interviews were conducted by Azeri consultants in the five villages located in a radius of 10 km around the future offshore terminal:

  • 400 interviews to obtain socioeconomic information directly from the population (living conditions, access to services and infrastructure, economic activities, etc.);
  • ten discussion groups (groups of ten people each, two groups per village, with men and women forming different groups to ensure that everyone felt at ease to express his or her point of view);
  • thirty interviews with key stakeholders (government and local authorities, local industrialists, community associations).

The aim of this preliminary dialogue is to identify at a very early stage, and even before the start of operational activities on site, the stakeholders that may potentially be affected and to understand the human socioeconomic context in this geographical area. This dialogue with the stakeholders will be continued as part of the study of potential impacts and the ways they can be taken into account that will be conducted in 2015.

Agreements may be signed with the communities in order to organize relations with the stakeholders. For example, thirteen five-year Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) are in effect in Nigeria in connection with onshore activities.

Public consultations, meetings with stakeholders, and media campaigns are also organized. In 2014, consultations were held in many different countries, in particular in Bolivia, Bulgaria, Denmark, Mauritania, Myanmar and the Republic of the Congo.

In Denmark, the local subsidiary plans to drill an exploration well to explore for shale gas in the northern part of the Jutland province. For more than two years, a CLO recruited from the local community has been responsible for communications with the stakeholders. In early 2014, a formal period of consultation with the stakeholders began, including a public consultation together with a presentation of the results of the impact study. Following this meeting, a large number of questions were sent by stakeholders, and Total E&P Denmark provided the necessary technical information to the local authority. Since the end of this formal phase, regular meetings have been organized with residents to explain the operating process and its scheduling. Civil engineering work to prepare for drilling started in the fall of 2014 and local associations, the local community, and local and national government bodies are kept regularly informed of the progress of operations.

In France, within Refining & Chemicals, site monitoring commissions were set up in 2014 at the main industrial sites, pursuant to the French technological risk prevention act. These commissions replaced the local information and consultation Committees. The site monitoring commission is a regulatory information-sharing structure which is required to be set up in France in facilities classified for environmental protection (Installation classée pour la protection de l’environnement – ICPE). The commission allows a dialogue to be established, to provide information relating to the operation of the facility and in particular its impact on people and the environment. The commission regroups representatives of public administrations, of the facility’s owner and its employees, communities and associations for the protection of the environment or consumers. The commission is chaired by the prefect.

In Belgium, the “safety and environment commission” of the Feluy industrial park, which was set up on TOTAL’s initiative in 2014, is a permanent voluntary forum for dialogue among industrial players, authorities and residents on the impacts of companies’ operations in the areas of safety, health and environmental protection. In the United States, as of the signature in 1991 of “Responsible Care®”, a voluntary commitment of the global Chemicals industry, Community Advisory Panels have been actively working in cooperation with local residents.

“SRM+” dialogue tool

To put its societal approach at its sites and subsidiaries on a professional footing, TOTAL implemented the internal SRM+ (Stakeholder Relationship Management) methodology in 2006. Its aims are to identify and map the main stakeholders, schedule meetings with them and understand their perceptions and stakes, and then define an action plan for building a long-term relationship. This mechanism represents a unique opportunity to explain the Group’s activities and present the actions it implements, but also to listen to the expectations of local stakeholders and answer questions. It also makes it possible to establish a trust-based relationship and demonstrate that TOTAL is completely transparent in its activities. Ultimately, these discussions allow the Group to consolidate its strategy and identify expectations to which it can respond. In 2014, SRM+ was rolled out to a number of Group entities. Exploration & Production, in particular, has undertaken new deployments:

  • In three countries (South Africa, Uruguay and Bulgaria) in which the development of oil-related activities is still at a low level, SRM+ has been deployed at a very early stage of activity within the exploration process. This approach has made it possible to create a climate of confidence and openness and to launch a dialogue which has enabled the subsidiary to develop a strategy for its relations and communication with stakeholders; and
  • In the Republic of the Congo, the SRM+ approach has made it possible to better understand changes in stakeholders’ expectations. In 2014, a new module was developed and tested in Pointe-Noire. From now on, it will ensure that the portfolio of community development activities is better harmonized with these expectations. Marketing & Services has also undertaken new SRM+ deployments in 2014:
  • At the Hsinchu lubricants plant in Taiwan, sixteen stakeholders were interviewed, raising subjects such as information on Group activities and road safety. The use of the SRM+ tool has enabled the generation of a suitable action plan by the teams and the validation of a number of actions in consultation with the management of the subsidiary. Initiatives in the field of road safety are underway and include, in particular, the planned installation of a “road safety cube” in a nearby school. Following the deployment of the tool, meetings with the various stakeholders (NGOs, authorities) have also been held in order to define joint actions in a number of different fields and increase familiarity with the Group’s activities at a local level;
  • In the United States, the Linden lubricants plant (New Jersey) has been part of the city’s urban and industrial landscape since the 19th century. Eight stakeholders were interviewed during the SRM+ study which was conducted in 2014. The main concerns related to the human and social development of the community in the vicinity of the plant. More specifically, the action plan included visits to the site, a closer partnership with the local University, TOTAL’s participation in its partners’ representative bodies, and involvement in events and local activities;
  • In Africa / Middle East, SRM+ was implemented at forty-two sites in 2014. Nine new subsidiaries drew up action plans following consultations with the relevant stakeholders (Burkina Faso, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Jordan, Niger, Saudi Arabia, Togo and Zambia), thus bringing the number of countries in which the approach has been adopted in the region to thirty-one. SRM+ has been implemented in the vicinity of depots, service stations and the head offices of subsidiaries; and
  • SRM+ has proved to be a very useful tool, for example during the construction of a service station in the Republic of the Congo where the increase in traffic volumes had caused concern among the local population. These fears led the subsidiary to target its interventions on the nearby school in order to familiarize local children with road hazards. In Ethiopia, local communities in Dukam expressed their wish to be involved in a tree planting program around the depot. As a result, 3,000 trees were planted with the help of employees and local residents. This operation, which is known as “Green village of Total Ethiopia and Dukam Town administration village” will be repeated each year. Much appreciated by stakeholders as an original initiative, the SRM+ approach has led to the organization of open-day events at a number of the Group’s gas depots in South Africa, thus increasing the level of familiarity with TOTAL’s sites and reassuring local residents about the Group’s activities.

Finally, in Refining & Chemicals, the SRM+ approach is currently being implemented at the Donges refinery in France.

Dialogue with indigenous and tribal peoples

TOTAL is aware of the specificities of indigenous and tribal peoples (as identified in the International Labor Organization’s Convention No. 169), and has introduced a charter regarding indigenous and tribal peoples with guidelines and principles to be followed with communities that are in contact with its subsidiaries. Under this charter and in compliance with its Code of Conduct, the Group strives to identify and understand the legitimate needs of the communities neighboring its subsidiaries. In particular, this charter encourages the subsidiaries to call on experts to identify and understand the expectations and specificities of indigenous peoples, to consult and dialogue with them before starting industrial projects and to make a positive contribution to their socioeconomic development.

Fully aware that taking human rights into consideration is one of the cornerstones of its industrial projects with respect to local populations, in 2012, TOTAL participated in the work of IPIECA (the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues) to develop the guide entitled “Indigenous Peoples and the oil and gas industry: context, issues and emerging good practices”. The Group thus shared its experience with the Guarani people in Bolivia. Total E&P Bolivia has started a partnership with the Guarani communities in the Santa Cruz area and has launched a number of socioeconomic development initiatives, by engaging in the fight against discrimination, and especially gender discrimination.

Dialogue with indigenous communities in Bolivia

Since 2011, Total E&P Bolivia has been developing a gas field discovered in 2004 in the eastern lowlands of Bolivia. The Incahuasi project involves the construction of a gas plant located on the Guarani territory of Alto Parapeti as well as a 100 km-long pipeline which will run through three other Guarani territories. The legal framework within which the project is being conducted is extremely protective of the rights of indigenous peoples. The consultation process must make it possible to identify the economic and sociocultural impacts of the project and determine the economic compensation for unavoidable impacts. The consultation process initiated by the subsidiary in 2011 to obtain the environmental permit was suspended in the wake of opposition from an indigenous organization that owns a part of the area regarding rights of use and passage.

Consultation with the indigenous peoples was resumed again from May to September 2013. Total E&P Bolivia played an extremely active role in the consultation process and negotiations resulted in an agreement concerning the joint identification of the environmental, social, economic and cultural impacts. The unavoidable sociocultural impacts will give rise to compensation, which is to be negotiated between the indigenous organizations and the Company. Open-mindedness of spirit coupled with perseverance have enabled the community development team to build an atmosphere of trust and conduct discussions with a wide range of partners, including both official and unofficial leaders, as part of a direct dialogue with the communities rather than simply with their representatives. 2014 was marked by extensive negotiations with four indigenous Guarani organizations and involved more than thirty meetings.

Transparency with regard to the agreements signed with the local authorities and respect for their application are key principles underpinning the responsible, credible management that makes it possible to construct a long-lasting trusting relationship. The community leaders, though sometimes reticent, recognize the positive impact of this approach, including in terms of their own role within their communities.

The implementation of a procedure for the handling of grievances represented a major challenge. In a country which is used to seeing demonstrations and blockades of all types, this new mechanism had to prove its effectiveness. Of forty complaints received since the beginning of the year, only two are still currently unresolved.

The participatory approach set up to identify, monitor and assess societal projects encourages the involvement of the persons who are affected. Partnerships with institutions possessing in-depth expertise have strengthened the credibility of the societal team. The communities involved sometimes prefer to entrust Total E&P Bolivia and its partner institutions with the responsibility of implementing the projects in order to guarantee that all their members share equitably and transparently in the benefits.