We define social investment as the ‘proactive contributions or actions we take to help bring benefits to communities where we operate’. Through this, we seek to deliver returns for those communities and the business.
Healthy and prosperous communities and educated workforces in the areas where we operate are important for our business success. We also aim to make positive contributions to local socio-economic development. Examples of some of the potential benefits that the oil and gas industry can bring are described in our Social and economic benefits section (see Social and economic benefits to local communities).
In 2014, we established new guidelines within our Corporate Responsibility Management System (CRMS) for social investment to be applied across the Group.
We recognise that social investment needs to be integrated and aligned with our business and to fit in with other planning processes. We have therefore integrated the management of social investments within our Project Delivery Process (PDP) (see Operational integrity).
We identify possible priorities and needs for social investment through the Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) processes (see Managing social risks), and stakeholder engagement (see Stakeholder engagement and Community engagement). To help us assess these priorities, we have established corporate criteria for social investments. Guided by these, each major project will clarify criteria for determining options and selecting partners for social investment activities. Clarifying our criteria, rules and principles for social investment enables us to make decisions that are aligned with Company and community priorities. Clarity and transparency on how we make decisions also helps to manage expectations and avoid potential conflict.
Case study: Investment in Senegal
In accordance with the Corporate Guidelines for Social Investment established in 2014, we have developed and implemented a Social Investment Plan (SIP) for Senegal. The plan reflects the early exploration and appraisal phase of the Senegal project while recognising the potential for a longer term presence for Cairn in Senegal in the event of successfully proving a commercially viable oil and gas resource for development and production.
Key strands of the Senegal SIP are:
Education and training
This has included:
- Capacity building for key stakeholders – aiming to provide access to key skills for regulatory and other authorities involved in oil and gas activities in Senegal. Last year, we provided a number of capacity-building opportunities to the Ministry of Environment departments and High Authority for the Coordination of Maritime Safety, Security, and the Protection of the Marine Environment (HASSMAR), in particular, regarding health, safety and environment (HSE) and emergency response for oil and gas activities. These have been built upon this year. In addition, we have also set up a rolling programme of English language training for officers of the ministries and departments involved in permitting approvals. At the end of 2015, 76 candidates had taken advantage of these courses, for which we partnered with the British Council in Dakar to provide.
- Capacity building for students in disciplines relevant to oil and gas activities – aiming to provide future geology and engineering students with English language skills and other relevant business skills. A first programme has been established with 28 students of the Institute of Earth Sciences (IST) to provide them with English language training and basic presentation skills. This is again being provided through the British Council in Dakar.
We are proud to be sponsoring the Great Entrepreneur competition for 2015/16 in Senegal, a British Council initiative. The competition selects a shortlist of projects whose sponsors are then given a range of training and coaching opportunities to build their business. From these an eventual winner is chosen. The aim of the competition is to promote opportunities for young entrepreneurs in Senegal and develop their skills to progress their ideas. The winner was announced in February 2016.
In addition, we supported The Hunger Project’s microfinance programme. The Hunger Project (THP) has been working in Senegal since 1991. This non-profit organisation uses integrated programmes that combine confidence-building tools and training to empower communities to take the lead in their own development. Ultimately, the aim is that communities are able to take the necessary steps to end their own hunger and poverty using a model known as the Epicentre Strategy. THP has 10 epicentres in Senegal that serve a population of some 178,000 across 211 villages. Through this strategy, between 15,000 and 25,000 people are brought together in each epicentre –or cluster of villages – giving villages more influence with local government and better access to basic services, and increasing a community’s ability to collectively use resources. As part of the Epicentre Strategy, we have committed to support THP’s programme to create a women-led microfinance programme that will encompass financial management training and seed a microloans and savings facility for rural communities within the epicentres.
Environment, health and wellbeing
We have approved investment in ECOBAG, a project that won the Great Entrepreneur competition in 2014. ECOBAG collects plastic waste from neighbourhoods and recycles it into plastic pellets to sell on to producers of plastic products. The project promotes waste recycling and a community refuse collection system. Cairn is providing support for the purchase of improved equipment to grow the business and promote HSE standards on the site.
Charitable giving and humanitarian aid
There have been no activities in 2015. This strand has been identified to provide some discretionary support in the event of a major emergency in the country, such as major floods as have been experienced in Dakar in recent years.