Repsol commissioned Plexus to conduct an independent Social Performance Review (SPR) of its upstream oil and gas assets in Bolivia and Peru. The objective was to independently assess compliance with Repsol’s Indigenous Peoples Policy, to measure the effectiveness of its stakeholder engagement and approach to grievance management and to indicate corrective measures where needed.
The SPR covered four licensing blocks at different stages of development, from early exploration to field development and production. The focus of the SPR was Repsol’s Relations with Indigenous Communities Policy and its associated Indigenous Peoples Policy Norm. The review involved the design of a programme to test the application of these policies and principles, the use of appropriate consultation skills with Indigenous Peoples, and the analysis of the effectiveness of the implementation and the development of pragmatic recommendations.
We mobilised a multi-disciplinary team comprising international and local experts – with direct operational experience in Bolivia and Peru – in the area of community relations, social performance, relations with Indigenous Peoples and HSE management.
Plexus interviewed a wide range of local, regional, national and international stakeholders including local communities, Indigenous Peoples federations, civil society representatives, women’s groups, oil industry representatives, research centres, government representatives and national and international NGOs. An integral part of the SPR was to carry out visits to Repsol’s oil and gas concessions.
Additional deliverables included: the preparation of detailed stakeholder lists and site visit reports; the drafting of issue reports; and the preparation of a social auditing manual for future Repsol application. The SPR was reviewed by a panel of independent experts.
The SPR resulted in a concise report identifying key issues for senior management and setting out recommendations for optimising the application of Repsol’s Indigenous Peoples Policy and improving overall community relations. Recognising areas of strength and good practice, the report provided actions for subsequent follow-up by Repsol, including institutional, policy and procedural measures, and a new framework for community investment.
SPR has proved to be a cost-effective assurance tool that can verify a company’s operational performance and identify and address social risks. Repsol’s SPR, for example, confirmed the value and need for early, continuous and intensive stakeholder engagement. It also demonstrated that adopting a low profile is an ineffective way to manage stakeholder expectations. Significantly, it showed that communities often need capacity building to reach effective and durable agreements with companies.