POLSKIE LNG’s Social Dialogue Project
Taking into consideration the fact that the construction of the LNG terminal will have a significant impact on the Świnoujście local community and that the expectations as to the involvement of project partners are constantly increasing, the company decided to adopt a proactive approach and cooperate with its representatives to establish good rapport with the local community, especially the residents of the Warszów district. Therefore, on 1 October 2012, the "Social Dialogue" project was initiated, consisting in 2 dialogue sessions with major partners of the construction of the LNG terminal in Świnoujście.
The first stage of the project involved verification of the overall involvement of the company in issues related to CSR and sustainable development, particularly – relations with the company's stakeholders. As a result, the company came up with a list of partners and topics to discuss with stakeholders.
The next step was a dialogue session with company's stakeholders, held in Świnoujście on 13 March 2013. Its main objective was to acknowledge actual needs and expectations which were of importance to the project site and Polskie LNG. Sixty two external stakeholders' representatives and 9 internal stakeholders' representatives (company employees) took part in that dialogue session. External stakeholders' representatives represented groups such as: scientific and academic circles, local communities, NGO/pressure groups, authorities and regulators, the media, business partners and suppliers.
During the teamwork session, stakeholders' representatives put forward a total of 75 issues and expectations in the domain of conservation, safety, education and local policy.
Subsequently, the stakeholders’ expectations were collected and categorized, and an action plan was drawn up to be presented during the following dialogue session, scheduled for September 2013, when the company shall present particular commitments and projects according to the stakeholders' expectations and its social involvement policy.
The local community is very positive about the company’s openness to social consultations. Eagerness to cooperate and increased transparency demonstrates the company’s responsiveness to its neighbours’ needs and expectations. The participants of the first session assessed the organisation and content of the first dialogue session very positively, however, while presenting their expectations towards the company they frequently expressed willingness to cooperate, build partnership and strengthen mutual relations. This shows they are open and eager to get involved in further cooperation between the company and the local community of Świnoujście (Warszów).
The Social Dialogue project is implemented pursuant to the principles of AccountAbility 1000 Stakeholder Engagement Standard (AA1000SES) ensuring that:
· the opinions and expectations of all stakeholders are taken into consideration,
· a complete verification of the process is performed by an independent auditor,
· partners are well-informed,
· the principles of this process are included in the company's operations, decision-making processes and management,
· measures whose aim is to streamline the social aspect of the company's activities are considered as a response to signals from the stakeholders, in particular the local community,
· reports on the process are published on a regular basis.
Both the AA1000SES standard and the social dialogue projects are the solutions widely used all around the world as elements of strategic infrastructure project management according to the principles of corporate social responsibility.
The strategy of open and partnerly communication with local community adopted by Polskie LNG S.A. is called Social Dialogue. The first edition of this programme finished in the end of 2013.
Social Dialogue programme allows PLNG to act in a transparent manner, to make decisions better adjusted to changing social expectations and enables local community to better understand the intentions of the company and the LNG terminal construction process.
The project was implemented in five stages. In the first stage (from October to December 2012) consisted in an audit of Polskie LNG’s communication strategy as well as identification of stakeholders (i.e. individuals, institutions, organizations, business entities and groups) particularly interested in progress of the construction project or whose activity may influence the project in some way.
From among 100 identified company stakeholders, the first dialogue session – i.e. the second stage of the project – was attended by 62 representatives of external stakeholders and 9 representatives of internal stakeholders (Polskie LNG S.A.). External stakeholders' representatives originated from scientific and academic circles, local communities, NGO/pressure groups, authorities and regulators, the media, business partners and suppliers. Social Dialogue Session was held on 13 March 2013 in the Community Centre in Świnoujście, Branch No. 2 – Warszów; 18, Sosnowa St.
The subsequent stage involves arranging the petitions filed by the stakeholders and developing the response to the reported petitions. During the first dialogue session, 75 questions and expectations were raised by the attendees, which categorized according to main subjects resulted in 18 expectations on environmental protection, 18 petitions on safety and education and 39 on local policies.
All the petitions raised by stakeholders were recorded by Polskie LNG and their completeness was confirmed. The document was forwarded to stakeholders on 4-12 April 2013. The company requested for repeated verification of petitions and possibly providing other petitions which were omitted earlier. In response, 8 new expectations were added to the list. Since some petitions addressed similar subjects, they were aggregated accordingly. As a result, a list of 56 aggregated expectations and petitions was drawn up and reviewed by the auditor.
The final list of petitions and expectations became a starting point for developing responses by Polskie LNG (with a definite deadline and project accomplishment indicators) and as a basis for the second round of dialogue session. The second social dialogue session was also held in the main hall of the Świnoujście Community Centre branch No. 2 Warszów, on 30th September 2013. Its main objectives included presentation of Polskie LNG’s responses to the expectations raised by stakeholders in the areas of environmental protection (7 responses), safety and education (11 responses) Local policy (38 responses).