The FINANCIAL — As one of the largest foreign investors in Georgia, BP Georgia has operated here since 1996 and spent hundreds of millions of dollars with local Georgian companies.
BP Georgia promotes setting high standards for corporate responsibility within Georgian businesses. BP’s projects and operations have the potential to positively impact local communities by creating jobs, generating tax revenues, providing opportunities for local suppliers, and supporting community development initiatives.
The FINANCIAL talked with Rusudan Medzmariashvili, CSR Manager of BP Georgia, about the company’s CSR initiatives and practices.
“CSR is something that goes beyond the company’s core activities and demonstrates BP’s goodwill and readiness to be a good neighbour to the society of the country it is operating in,” Rusudan Medzmariashvili told The FINANCIAL.
“Our CSR initiatives are targeted at community development through empowering community based organizations and supporting the establishment of small businesses, creating additional income and workplaces in the settlements along our assets,” she added.
In Georgia, BP focuses on helping protect the co-venturers’ asset base and overall investment by retaining the goodwill and supporting the work of key stakeholders – communities adjacent to the facilities, government and the NGO sector, and the local business community.
“We have also supported the establishment of several educational programmes which benefit the entire society – e.g. Project Management College together with Free University, and Georgian technical training centre with the Georgian technical university. We are also active in the environmental field through our eco-awards programme for Georgian environmental NGOs,” Medzmariashvili said.
Q. What is the main challenge that BP Georgia is facing at present in the field of CSR?
A. Managing the expectations of local stakeholders is the main challenge we face. Although BP is one of the biggest investors in the country, it must keep its programmes focused and strategically aligned with the country’s needs and company’s priorities, therefore we cannot meet the needs of all stakeholders.
Q. What business value have you seen from your environmental sustainability efforts?
A. Apart from supporting biodiversity and environmental protection efforts, which have a positive impact on the environment, it also helps to build local institutional capacity in the field of environment.
Q. In your opinion what kind of CSR activities does society expect from BP Georgia?
A. As a result of the more than 20 years of our operations in the country, our CSR activities are well known to Georgian society. We are very clear and transparent in our undertakings and therefore successful in addressing society’s expectations.
Q. How has CSR helped BP? Can the experience of BP in CSR activities be helpful to other oil companies?
A. CSR helps a lot by contributing to the company’s image, reputation and cooperation in the country with stakeholders at all levels and also supports the creation of a favourable business environment for our activities.
Companies must follow environmentally acceptable practices and standards and act as role models for others to follow.