BG Trinidad and Tobago (Platinum Sponsor of GEW 2015), through its operational diversity, has proven its corporate worth beyond the global LNG business. The evidence of this is profound according to the founding tenets of its Social Performance Policy. “At BG Group, we have fifteen (15) business principles that set out our core beliefs, values and behaviours that govern the way we do business” said Leslie Bowrin, the organization’s Head of Social Performance.
Bowrin continued “social performance describes the way in which we meet our commitments to society; these principles state that we work with neighbouring communities which benefit from our presence; we also listen to those communities, and we support Human Rights within our areas of influence.” The organization firmly believes that social performance begins with recognizing the impact that its business activities would have on the communities and societies within which they operate, that can be either positive or negative. “In our social performance policy, we set out our belief that in order to be effective in meeting our objectives, we need to establish and maintain effective relationships with interested and affected stakeholders, avoid or minimize the negative impact of our activities, and create and deliver opportunities that maximize our business benefits to society” said Bowrin.
There are some specific areas of focus that are aligned to the organization’s social programmes, which seek to promote sustainable development within its neighbouring communities as well as the wider national community. “We believe that sustainable development in energy-based economies such as ours, depend on maximum utilization of our hydrocarbon resources for the development of skills, knowledge, competencies and expertise to generate economic activity in other sectors” stated Bowrin.
BG’s core areas for its social investment include building awareness of and promoting Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and careers; Youth Entrepreneurship and Training and Livelihood Development. The holistic development of young people remains a high-priority item on the organization’s agenda, which has resulted in a global partnership with Youth Business International in the U.K. Describing the partnership, Bowrin articulated “supporting entrepreneurship is a key part of BG Group’s social investment strategy to promote employment in the countries where we work; over the next few years, this global partnership aims to introduce 8,000 young people to entrepreneurship, create 1,500 new businesses and generate 2,600 jobs.”
This strategic partnership enables the BG Group to improve the business skills of young people, support young people to start or grow a business, provide employment opportunities for thousands of people who lack the skills to work directly for BG Group or in BG Group’s supply chain, help grow and strengthen the local small and medium-sized business sector, respond to expectations from communities for economic benefits and skills transfer, through job creation and enterprise development and demonstrate BG Group and YBI’s expertise in supporting enterprise development.
Long-term sustainability is also a critical success factor for the organization. As Bowrin puts it “when we talk about establishing and maintaining effective relationships, our aim is to ensure that host societies and host communities are broadly happy for us to proceed with our investments and activities, and to ensure that they remain broadly supportive in the long run.” The organization believes that it must secure a “social licence to operate” from its stakeholders. Though Governments provide the regulatory context for its operations, a range of other stakeholders also influence the organization’s ability to meet its business objectives successfully.
Entrepreneurial development builds long-term sustainability, and is thus a major area of focus for the organization. Bowrin emphasized the importance in the context of providing greater support towards youth entrepreneurship. “BG identifies entrepreneurship particularly youth entrepreneurship as a critical area of focus for economic development. We prefer not to restrict our focus to high-risk communities as such, but rather to promote youth entrepreneurship wherever there is the drive and capacity to embark on this road. Entrepreneurship emerges from many varied sources and our partnership with Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago (YBTT) is committed to unearthing and developing entrepreneurs nationwide.”
By: Sandrine Rattan
Project Co-ordinator – Stakeholder & Media Relations (YBTT)
Published in the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday on Thursday, November 19th, 2015