Listening is a key element of the attention we give to local communities. Aware that creating shared value with stakeholders is an essential element of its operations, Eni has dedicated an increasing amount of structures, people and energy to the activity of engagement and sharing. In order to effectively listen to the needs of local communities, Eni has adopted tools such as the Grievance Mechanism and the Stakeholder Management System described below.
We listen to and learn from criticism
Responsible business management must also respond to the needs expressed by local communities, contributing to their well-being in the medium and long term. Eni considers the relationship with the people who live in the areas of presence an important element of listening. For this reason, Eni tracks all the requests made by stakeholders and analyzes them in an integrated form for each territory so as to identify the best actions to be implemented to achieve sustainable development in synergy with local communities. In this perspective, grievance management represents a fundamental element of attention to the territories of presence.
Grievances are complaints raised by an individual or a group of individuals relating to actual or perceived impacts caused by the company's operating activities. Eni has established its own Grievance Mechanism (GM) to receive, recognize, classify, investigate, respond and resolve complaints in a timely, planned and respectful manner. The Eni GM, defined in 2014, refers to the international guidelines on the subject (published by IPIECA and active in all subsidiaries since 2016. In particular, the host communities are informed about the possibility and ways to make complaints and clarifications on Eni's activities. In some communities there are community representatives (Community Liaison Officer) whose job it is to contribute to gathering elements and situations to prevent potential grievances through direct and continuous listening to the members of the host communities. As such, the GM allows to reduce business risks, intervene on the territory, and encourage positive communication and relationships with stakeholders based on trust. Both instances and grievances are monitored through a dedicated system called "stakeholder management system (SMS).
The following are summary data of the 2019 grievances recorded by the SMS system, including the number, origin and main types of grievances.
Eni received over 250 complaints from 8 subsidiaries, districts and establishments in 2019, 60% of which have now been resolved and closed (as of April 2020). Most grievances came from sub-Saharan Africa (Congo, Ghana and Nigeria) and primarily concerned the following issues: access to energy, developing employment, education and land management. The cases listed here account for around 50% of all complaints.
Eni Grievance management in Ghana
Eni has ongoing relationships with 79 local stakeholders in Ghana. Listening to stakeholders and understanding their needs is of fundamental importance in order to better contribute to creating shared value with the host population. Listening to complaints is equally important to correct any potential or actual negative impact of operations or local development projects. Responsible complaint management involves the need to introduce new approaches and assessment methodologies appropriate for the different local contexts where we operate, so as to guarantee the best possible resolution of any critical issues raised.
In May 2019, for example, one of the livestock beneficiaries of the “Livelihood Restoration Programme” initiative complained that this activity was not generating sufficient profits to buy enough feed for all the animals and as such continue with the activity, and asked the company toprovide additional feed. Eni sent in experts to identify the reasons for low profits encountered by the breeder. By resolving associated hygiene and transport issues with products and the feed,it was possible to successfully solve this micro-enterprise's problems:these methods were shared with the local breeders' association, so as to improve the knowledge of best practice management.
Knowledge leads to action: the Stakeholder Management System
In order to better track and share information relating to stakeholders, in 2017 Eni established an information system (Stakeholder Management System - SMS) to map and assess the relevant stakeholders for each territory where it operates, identifying their needs and requirements and digitally tracking the relative grievances. The SMS tracks the grievances received and the stakeholders who raised them, as well as:
- The issues named in the request (with particular attention to Human Rights);
- The relevance of the request;
- The reference period;
- The local communities associated with the complaints;
- The status of the request.
Reference documents and their updates can also be attached.
By mapping needs and grievances, it is possible to obtain stakeholder criticality maps in each area of presence, identify relevant issues at a local level and prepare appropriate response or communication measures.
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