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Arctic petroleum and Corporate Social Responsibility interpretations. Arctic oil and gas is contentious. How do Arctic communities and petroleum companies interact?

arctic, oil, gas, environment



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Arctic petroleum and Corporate Social Responsibility interpretations

Published on Monday, 2nd November, 2015 at 22:01 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.

Arctic oil and gas is contentious. How do Arctic communities and petroleum companies interact?

Julia S.P. Loe doing field research
Julia S.P. Loe doing field research
Photo: Nadezhda Nazarova


Corporate social responsibility (CSR) covers the environmental and social performance of a company. Unsurprisingly, people's views differ on CSR's meaning. Through more than 100 interviews over nearly a dozen trips, we spoke to communities and companies in Norway and Russia to ask what CSR means to them for Arctic petroleum.

In Hammerfest in northern Norway, the offshore petroleum development revitalised the town and area. CSR was equated with the economic boom and very few have been left out of the affluence. Most locals felt that positive effects outweighed any negative impacts.

Murmansk, Russia expected significant petroleum development, but work is currently on hold. Petroleum-related CSR received generally negative comments due to broken, or perhaps just postponed, promises.

Also in Russia's Arctic, both Komi Republic and the Nenets Autonomous Okrug are earning significantly from petroleum. Yet community views on CSR were split.

Nenets has long traditions of interacting with the petroleum industry. The sector's importance for the region's economy and welfare is accepted. Nonetheless, those receiving CSR-related benefits, such as project funding or direct support from companies, tended to appreciate petroleum more than those left out of benefit sharing.

Meanwhile, in Komi, the city dwellers gain significantly from the petroleum industry and were content with CSR's benefits. In the villages, people wished that CSR would mean reducing spills and better information sharing.

Companies working in these communities raised important questions about their role. They often genuinely wish to help, but recognise that they would never take full responsibility for community welfare.

In the end, there is no single, successful approach to CSR for oil and gas. While dialogue and exchange could always be improved, at times disagreements must be accepted. And as many outside the communities advocate, the option also exists of leaving the petroleum in the ground.

Ilan Kelman (UCL, London and NUPI, Oslo), Julia S.P. Loe, (FNI, Oslo), Emma Wilson (ECW Energy, London), Elana Wilson Rowe (NUPI, Oslo), Nina Poussenkova (Sampo, Moscow), Elena Nikitina (Sampo, Moscow), and Daniel Fjærtoft (Sigra Group, Oslo) are the project team for CSR Oslo. большое спасибо to the Research Council of Norway's NORRUSS programme for funding this work.



Published on Monday, 2nd November, 2015 at 22:01 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.

This post has the following tags: arctic, oil, gas, environment.





  
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