BG Group has had a presence in Kazakhstan for almost 20 years, since shortly after the country’s independence. In that time BG Group has paid close attention to business ethics and corporate social standards in how the Company works with its partners, personnel and neighboring communities.
Corporate Social Responsibility and the Role of Corporate Standards
The ways in which the private sector and the community can interact are numerous. Accordingly, corporate social responsibility can mean different things to different people. We think corporate responsibility is about how business ensures that communities benefit from its presence on an enduring basis. This can be through economic impact, corporate governance and care for environment.
In 2008, BG Group developed and implemented a corporatestandardon business social responsibility. In line withInternational Finance Corporation requirements, the BG Group standard sets out our business principles, describes our approach to social responsibility and outlines other core behaviors integral to the way the Company operates. The areas governed by our corporate social standard include efficient monitoring of socioeconomic changes; socio-economic impact assessment; consultations with partners and community; land acquisition procedure for construction; accounting for legal and cultural peculiarities of ethnic groups and security for vulnerable groups; social heritage; social investments; social programs delivery strategies; governance, analysis, and evaluation procedures.
Business will not succeed if there is no support and understanding from the public. Here a thorough and well-judged strategy of social investment, aligned to state social and economic priorities, is critical.
A global overview of social investments made by BG Group shows a commitment to supporting strategic and long-term projects. We are continuously improving our processes for planning, governance and monitoring using the experience gained in implementing new social standards in countries where the Group is operating.
Social investments of BG Group in Kazakhstan
Social investment by BG Group in Kazakhstan includes charitable donations, contributions towards development of local communities, regional development and other social needs. Since the Company entered Kazakhstan, it has done projects aimed at developing important skills in young people, rehabilitation programs for disabled kids, education and sports.
Investment in developing local staff should start with youth. For the past six years BG Group has supported the annual international forum of students in the oil and gas industry held at the Kazakh National Polytechnic University. Through this forum the students acquire practical skills in oil and gas while the companies create a pool of potential national staff.
In the past seven years we have been cooperating with the Almaty Institute for Energy and Communications under the BG Chair initiative. This involves funding research and educational projects under the master’s degree program, focused on environmental protection, energy and sustainable development.
In 2011 BG Kazakhstan launched a scholarship program for graduates from West-Kazakhstan Oblast that covers a bachelor’s degree program with the Nazarbayev University. A scientific library and BG Chair will be set up at the Center for Energy Studies under the University. Funds will be allocated for training employees of the Center under the master’s degree program at the certified universities of the UK.
Projects aimed at supporting vulnerable groups, including disabled children, are being delivered. As part of this, BG Group has been cooperating with the Society of Disabled Children, Kazakh Society of Hearing Impaired People and Special Olympics for equal rights and opportunities for handicapped people.
Another project involves a dedicated study of the Kazakh and English languages, computer skills and business systems. The program is done in cooperation with IBC Group in Uralsk for orphanage upperclassmen and graduates. The most successful project participants had an opportunity to get a scholarship for studying in the Uralsk universities.
Community support projects are mainly implemented through the Karachaganak gas field development program (KPO), where BG Group is an operator together with Italian company ENI. KPO is constantly engaging with local communities close to the project sites. Priorities for social investment are identified together with residents through village councils. Asocial performance plan for 2010–2011 was developed, helping KPO target its contributions to broader socio-economic and sustainable development of the region. KPO received “Paryz” award for corporate social responsibility twice.
Programs to improve quality of life and public health are being done in association with disabled persons of Burlin district. Work here is directed at medical and recreational treatment, summer vacation for children, sports activities and medication for people with special needs. A special committee for disabled persons has been established to consider individual means-tested support applications where needed.
Another interesting project in the area of foster care is done with KPO’s support to “Umyt” – women’s union of Transurals region. The main objective of this project is to raise people’s awareness of children deprived of parental care and the problems this can cause. The aim is to give such children a chance to experience family life and home care. The qualified lawyers, psychologists and social workers participating in the project provide their technical support to public bodies responsible for selecting and training potential foster parents.
BG Kazakhstan expects these standards will come to be seen as a core part of business, and not an imposition. The experience gained by the Group in Kazakhstan demonstrates that social standards and efficient and effective social investment are critical in building and maintaining the Company’s reputation as an investor and a business partner.
BG Energy Challenge – Social Partnership of Oil and Gas Sector and NGOs
BG Kazakhstan has run the BG Energy Challenge for the past six years. This is a unique example of cooperation between business and non for profit sector which is held every year to raise funds for charity. This initiative provides an opportunity to exchange experience, skills, business plan development and project delivery, to build new contacts and acquire new skills.
A gradual transition from one-time charitable donation to strategic and comprehensive social projects requires a new model of cooperation. The BG Energy Challenge is an example of this, in particular how to involve business in addressing long-term social problems and, at the same time, engaging public organizations. It is not just about raising funds for charity. It is a chance to share knowledge about the social development that is needed for productive dialogue between business and society. BG Energy Challenge that took place in Kazakhstan on the 27th of August 2011 in the beautiful village of Zerendy. It united one 155 participants from various energy companies, journalists and lawyers. About USD 115 000 were raised for the Society of Disabled Children of Astana city. Fund will go towards the development and rehabilitation of kids through special educational and health programs. Since it was first held in Kazakhstan six years ago, the BG Energy Challenge has raised about USD 550 000, all thanks to the partnership between private companies united by single goal to help those in need.
“This is an excellent example of corporate social responsibility” – said Kamka Zhassanova, Director of the Society for Disabled Children.
· 1992: BG Group Kazakhstan opens an office in RoK and acts as a representative of BG Group, a world leader in natural gas that operates in over than 25 countries on five continents on the following areas – exploration and production, LNG, transportation and distribution, energy generation.
· 1997: execution of Final Production Sharing Agreement. BG Group Kazakhstan is a co-operator with Italian ENI for development of Karachaganak natural gas deposit.
· 2008: BG Group is recognized as the Best Investor in Kazakhstan.