When planning and developing new projects, or expanding existing facilities, we assess the potential impact on the environment and consider the views of local communities when we make decisions. This helps us to operate in a responsible way, delivering energy and products that contribute to the world’s economic progress.
When we design a project, we use a systematic approach that includes the steps needed to help reduce the effects on the environment and achieve lasting benefits for local communities. We consider environmental, social and health impact assessments at every review stage of the process as we decide how, or if, we move forward with the project (see diagram below). We often make these assessments available to the public.
At each review stage, we also take into account regulatory requirements as well as the technical and commercial challenges involved. We capture the goals we set in the impact assessments in a management plan. We put this plan into practice and monitor progress through the life cycle of the project.
Working closely with communities
In support of this approach, we employ specialists in environmental and social performance at projects and operations that are particularly complex. They work with business managers to integrate environmental, community and regulatory aspects of our activities, and to consider these in technical and commercial development plans and decisions. Following the successful use of this approach in North America, in 2012 we stepped up this programme by employing more specialists at projects around the world.
Working closely with communities where we operate allows us to better share the benefits of our activities and to reduce our environmental impact. Understanding and responding to community hopes and concerns allows us to help develop local economies through jobs and business opportunities from the outset of a project. This also allows us to avoid delays to our projects, so makes good business sense. Through engaging with people during community meetings, and sometimes in their homes, we learn how to help protect their way of life. We also improve our understanding of how to protect the local wildlife and biodiversity they may rely on for subsistence. For example, we have rerouted pipelines and agreed not to operate during certain periods to limit disturbance to communities and wildlife.
We continue to build a culture where sustainable development matters to our employees across the company. Our annual CEO awards for health, safety, security, environment and social performance recognise the best examples of embedding a sustainable approach in our activities.