As Ghana’s upstream regulator, the Petroleum Commission (PC) believes that Sound community relations and social investment programming promotes sustainable economic growth, education, and the health and welfare of people who live near or are affected by a company’s operations. The PC encourages innovative community relations programming arising from cross-functional partnerships between industry, government and indigenous people. The PCs standards on Community Relations and Social Investments are in tandem with IPEICA and IFC core standards on Social Responsibility in the extractive industries.
Defining Community Relations
The field of Community Relations has gained significant recognition across various sectors – particularly in the extractive industries. Many organizations have come to the realization that business activities do not take place in a social vacuum. Therefore, there is the need for effective community interactions and stakeholder management that takes into consideration the interdependencies of the organization’s activities.
Community Relations refers to modalities that organizations use to establish and maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with the communities in which they operate. When companies accept their social responsibility and take an active interest in the well-being of affected communities, long-term benefits in terms of community support, loyalty, and good will accrue creating a conducive environment for business. To this end, complementary social investment programmes (assisting government to achieve development targets), effective stakeholder engagement and forums for dialogue/sensitization at various levels are critical components of good or effective Community Relations.
Conversely, an atmosphere of poor community relations, minor disputes can escalate into major disagreements, conflict and even wars can engulf nations and spill over to neighboring countries creating a more severe regional problem.
Functions | Responsibilities
Technical Standards for Core Stakeholders
The Petroleum Commission Technical Standards for Community Relations will serve as the recommended foundation for programming between relevant stakeholders. These goals will assist to mitigate the social and human development risks associated with exploration activities and ensure that sustainable development investments are made by oil and gas companies to support the livelihoods of Ghanaian citizens residing in target areas and manage the expectations of indigenous groups:
We protect the social, environmental and economic livelihoods of communities that are affected by the petroleum activities of oil and gas companies.