In a world where globalization has become the answer to every problem and population growth the problem to every answer, a mediating force between those who profit and those who suffer had to develop. In a capitalist driven world economy, corporations no longer have the leisurely pleasure to provide social services, but the tenacious obligation to do so.
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development defines corporate social responsibility as “the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families, as well of the local community and society at large.”
Several international corporations have taken steps to assure their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is met. In Egypt, an awareness of CSR has evolved not just from corporations, but entities that monitor the economy. For instance, the American Chamber of Commerce has created a CSR committee where companies can gather to discuss their initiatives and cooperate on information regarding new issues in their programs. The last meeting held for the committee was on September 12, 2006. The guest speaker at the meeting was Barbara Ibrahim, director of the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Social Engagement at the American University in Cairo.
The Egyptian Center for Economic Studies, a non-profit, non-government think-tank whose mission is to promote economic development in Egypt has also dedicated a prospective study on CSR in Egypt, its extent and those bodies who attempt to enhance it.
We at Egypt Oil & Gas Newspaper wholly support CSR and believe that some of these initiatives merit mention. Thus, what follows is essentially a highlight of some of the largest corporations in the oil and gas sector and the initiatives that they have undertaken in Egypt.
BP: Road Safety
British Petroleum (BP) is one of the world’s leading oil, gas and energy businesses. Across BP’s global operations, driving safety has been the biggest single cause of fatalities over the last five years. Each year, globally, it is estimated that over one million people are killed in crashes and over 15 million injured. BP decided to dramatically reduce driving related fatalities and injuries in their activities. The company is committed to health, safety and environmental performance. They maintain a policy of “no accidents, no harm to people and no damage to the environment.”
At the beginning of 2001, the Egyptian government introduced a new law making the fitting and wearing of seat belts compulsory. To support the new law, and as part of a wider initiative on road safety, BP Egypt launched a seat belt campaign in partnership with their compressed natural gas subsidiary NGVC (Natural Gas Vehicles Company). The simple principle was to install, free of charge, a set of four seat belts to any vehicle that converts to use compressed natural gas at NGVC’s conversion centers. BP donated the belts (imported from the UK) and NGVC provided the labor to fit them.
In 2004, they sponsored a children’s book aiming at raising the children’s awareness of Road Safety issues. The book was entitled “Stop and Learn from the Wise Elephant.” It won the “Suzanne Mubarak Competition for Children’s Literature.” The book highlighted several key road safety messages, including, abiding by the speed limit, driving in the wrong direction, wearing seat belts, children sitting in the back seats, and respect for people on the road.
In 2005, the company continued in its efforts towards road safety awareness by sponsoring the annual conference for Road Safety & Traffic Management in Cairo. The conference’s objective was to improve road safety awareness in Egypt through education, training and setting examples of best practice.
In 2006, the British Council and BP teamed up and launched a campaign aiming at raising awareness about the risks of road accidents and the rules of safe road behavior in Egypt through workshops and sessions that brought together 150 experimental schools’ pupils aged between nine and 11 years.
Children, Education and Health
On 31 March 2006, Orphan’s Day took place at Al-Azhar Park. More than 7,000 orphans attended a fun-filled day of games, live music and celebrity appearances. BP Egypt organized a fundraising campaign amongst its employees. This initiative was to raise funds to buy new clothes for the children in this special occasion. The company managed to dress-up 106 orphans thanks for donations raised by their employees. BP Egypt staff are volunteering some of their time and effort to participate in the Injaz project. The project is implemented by Save the Children Federation Inc., an international nonprofit, nonsectarian, private voluntary organization (PVO) providing development and humanitarian assistance around the world, with a focus on health, education and economic opportunities for children and women.
In an effort to help enhancing the quality of public education in Egypt, BP Egypt also donates money for the renovation of public schools in Egypt. Recently the company has granted $65,000 to Maadi Secondary School to renovate its utilities. The school was repainted and equipped with new lavatories, new playground, new desks and new electricity system. The refurbishments were all complete in less than 3 months.
Regarding the renovations, Hesham Mekawi, BP Egypt President, stated: “We are very pleased to play a role in ensuring that young generations receive high quality education, delivered in modern, attractive and comfortable school premises.”
In terms of health, BP has led several initiatives in order to benefit its surrounding environment. For instance, for the third consecutive year, BP Egypt utilized the amount traditionally allocated to New Year’s gifts, which are usually given away at the end of the calendar year, to offer a donation to the Association of Friends of the National Cancer Institute (AFNCI); an Egyptian non-governmental organization dedicated to improving cancer care, education, and research in Egypt. In addition to this year’s donation, which amounted to LE248,000, an amount of LE1,000 was collected by BP Egypt’s safety team for the AFNCI and matched by BP Egypt.
BP Egypt has, for the second year in a row, sponsored the annual event Run for Cure. The objective of the run is to raise funds to support breast cancer research and services. In addition to the financial sponsorship, many BP Egypt employees helped in the fundraising activities and participated in a community walk to increase the awareness towards this disease.
BG: Education and Health Care
In 2006, the British Gas (BG) company signed a memorandum of cooperation with the British University in Egypt (BUE) to establish the “BG gas and petroleum Lab” for the first gas and petroleum engineering faculty in Egypt. The lab will be located at BUE. BG Egypt will finance the purchase, delivery and installation of the state-of-the-art equipment for the lab over a period of three years (2006-2009).
On the day of the memorandum signing, BG Egypt’s President Ian Hewitt stated: “I am pleased to be here today to enter into this partnership with the British University in Egypt. As one of the largest British investors in Egypt; BG Egypt has a strong commitment to supporting the community where we work. We are pleased to respond to Egypt’s need for the quality enhancement of higher education in Egypt by supporting the British University.”
In October of this year, under the auspices of the previously mentioned Injaz project, BG adopted the “El-Horeyya” preparatory school for girls in a disadvantaged area in the Maadi district. The school consists of six classrooms in which 240 young adolescent girls are taught. Six BG staff members have volunteered 10 hours over a period of ten weeks. The staff were be trained by Save the Children on participatory learning approach which fosters creative thinking, critical problem solving and interpersonal communication skills.
During the 10 weeks, young students are mentored by company staff in various subjects. By the end of the program in December students should have critically investigated career paths, developed special skills including resume writing, presentations, community service and leadership.
BG Egypt also has plans to improve the physical environment of the school. Such improvement would be comprised of renovating the general school building including classrooms, activity rooms, and utility facilities.
This year, BG in collaboration with Nahdet El-Mahrousa has supported a National Awards Sponsorship project. The “Young Innovators Award” gives 15
National Awards for the academic year 2006/2007 (renewable annually upon review) to eligible students. Five of the awards are dedicated solely to Women Young Innovators Awards. The awards will target students at the chemical, metallurgy, and mechanical departments at three national universities: Cairo University, ’Ain Shams University, and Alexandria University serving an average pool of 75 students.
In terms of better health care in Egypt, BG has donated the amount of LE48,000 to the Idku central hospital, a government hospital serving the population of the district of Idku (206,770). The hospital lacks essential financial resources, human expertise, and equipments. The donated amount will cover maintenance fees for 6 months starting from January to July 2006. The money will also go towards the purchase of sterilization appliances, elevator spare parts, batteries for ICU, and an incinerator. Also in Idku, which happens to be the area of BG Egypt’s principle operations, the company along with its joint venture Egyptian LNG (ELNG) has supported a national Road Safety Campaign for the third year. The campaign’s goal is to enhance safety awareness in the community, and educate and train children and mothers in Road Safety to eliminate traffic accidents and fatalities. The company has also initiated an environmental awareness campaign for Idku school children.
Poverty and Children
For the third consecutive year, BG Egypt has chosen CARE Egypt to organize its Annual BG Egypt Energy Challenge 2006, along the coast of Hurghada, the Red Sea where 30 teams have participated collectively, and pledged the total of $150,000 to help fight poverty in Egypt.
Teams formed from oil and gas companies consist of 4-6 members, all male, all female, or mixed hiked an average of eight hours the first day. Each team raised $4,000 or more to participate in this year’s BG Energy challenge.
For children, BG and ELNG have supported the challenged children centre in Idku, which caters to 88 children. In the interest of increasing the capacity of the NGO and improving the quality of education for the children, BG supported the participatory needs assessment and capacity building program. The company has commissioned the reputable Cairo-based NGOs “Life Lovers” and “The Right to Live Association” to network with the Idku NGO, carry out mentoring capacity building programs for teachers, management capacity building for NGO board, and assessment and tailored educational programs for the children.
Shell: Education and Awareness
In 2004 Shell Egypt launched their Intilaaqah program in an effort to support youth development and encourage young people to set up their own business and work for themselves. To date, the program conducted 25 awareness sessions, 11 workshops and 15 five-day training programs. At the moment, 37 new businesses started and there are eight more in the works.
In the same year, the company with the cooperation of the Arab Roads Association (an NGO concerned with promoting road safety awareness) and the Roads and Bridges Authority (Ministry of Transport) began providing support for the drivers’ training centre affiliated with the Authority. Shell has provided two training vehicles for the centre to help upgrade the training of drivers receiving training at the centre.
The focus for the company has been on Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) programs that began with a series of lectures to enhance the awareness of students and teachers. In 2005, Shell Egypt started a number of key road safety initiatives aimed at promoting safe motoring behaviors on the widest scale possible. In 2006, Shell Egypt started promoting the concept of road safety in schools, believing that educating students on safety principles early in their life would make them better drivers and road users in the future. Shell also organized defensive driving training for school bus drivers.
Shell has concentrated on education under the supervision of the Ministry of Education by adopting local government schools, renovating their facilities and supporting student activities. Shell’s adopted schools include Al-Makrizi, Almaza School, Red Crescent and Mustafa Kamel complex of schools as well as Tal’aat Harb and Taha Hussein Preparatory Schools. The scheme presently benefits more than 6,300 students.
Shell Egypt has also signed a protocol of co-operation with the Faculty of Science – Cairo University, to upgrade the faculty laboratories and encourage more intensive research efforts. It has recently provided the faculty with video-conferencing facilities to encourage more interaction with regional and international academic quarters. The company is also committed to offering training to top faculty students at the premises of Shell Egypt as well as organizing tailored seminars to familiarize students and teachers with different aspects of the oil and gas industry. Shell seeks to enhance the faculty’s involvement in its activities by offering seats for faculty staff and students in conferences and events sponsored by Shell.
Shell also contributes to the Chevening Scholarship Programme, which enables young Egyptians with outstanding academic merit to pursue post-graduate studies in the UK and has played an important role in supporting the petroleum class and it’s Diploma –established by the Ministry of Education in Matrouh. The company has provided the school with audio-visual equipment, computers, videos, reports, books, magazines and dictionaries. Shell also organized a 6-week English language course for the students in the summer of 2004 and 2005. During 2004/2005 visiting lectures were made to widen the curriculum and provide contact with oil industry representatives. Shell intends to take a long-term interest in the school to ensure that courses remain up-to-date and that graduating students have access to oil industry employment.
Since the support of the company the top 10 students within the Technical Education of Matruh Governorate were from the Matrouh Petroleum Class. Five out of those 10 students were among the top 10 within Damanhour Technical Education Sector, which includes four governorates (Alexandria, Beheira, Kafr El-Sheikh and Matrouh). Three out of those 10 students were among the highest 10 at the overall country level.
On March 9-12 2006 the company co-organized a preparatory workshop planned ahead of the second Annual Conference for Engineering Students (ACES). The conference, which attracted intensive participation from engineering students in Egypt, basically sought to enhance student interaction with modern technology and its influence in their practical life. This year’s conference focused on the knowledge sharing among students as a mainstay of the learning process. This was encapsulated in the motto “From Students to Students,” which was the underlying theme of the whole event.
Sustainable Development through Sustainable Energy
Shell Egypt identified the opportunity to supply several of the governorate of Matrouh’s more remote health centers with electricity to provide power for lighting and refrigerators in which to store medicines and vaccines. These medicines include items such as insulin for diabetic patients, vaccines for young babies and anti-venom for patients who suffer from snake and scorpion bites. Shell has provided Matrouh Health Directorate with 10 solar systems to be installed in 10 rural health units situated in villages deprived of energy supply. These panels are situated on the roof of the building and 12 special solar batteries are used to store the captured power. The total cost of the provided 10 solar panel systems was $87,091. The easy-to-install Shell solar power systems are photovoltaic, which have no mechanical parts and so are virtually maintenance-free.
Shell Egypt, in partnership with Matrouh governorate and an Egyptian NGO, the Association for the Protection of the Environment (APE) have agreed to provide Marsa Matrouh City, which produces 584 tons of plastic waste per year, with a plastic waste recycling plant that was built close to the organic compost factory where Matrouh’s waste is sorted. The plant target is to recycle 0.4 tons of plastic waste per day, equivalent to 183 tons per year. Shell Egypt funded the original feasibility study and provided the finance for the machinery and equipment. Shell also provided working capital for the project to ensure that it did not run short of funds in its first year, and insured the plant, its machinery and staff for the first year. The plant helps reduce the environmental impact of plastic waste and provides jobs for local people. Revenue to the City Council can be used for further development of waste management issues. Moreover, the plastic bag products of the plant are sold to hospitals in Matrouh city.
Halliburton: Taking the Challenge and Securing Employee Safety
In 2001 Halliburton Egypt launched its web-educational program entitled I Learn. In essence, I Learn is a learning system that contains learning catalogues, information, on Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) requirements and online web-based training. The tutoring of the program has two modes: 1) instructor led activities and 2) on-line training. This program was initiated in order to better inform the employees of the company.
In 2003, the company launched its “Beyond the Red Zone” program, where the ‘red zone’ is defined as the immediate work area. Halliburton attempted to ‘own’ the red zone by managing all the risks that occur at the work site in order to secure the safety of its personnel. However, it appeared that many of the health and safety issues faced by Halliburton employees existed outside of the concept of the ‘red zone’. Hence, a program was developed in order to expand the idea of safety to beyond the work place. This includes areas where most danger lies, such as traveling to and from work, at the home place, and the community at large.
Halliburton has found that once people are ‘beyond the red zone’ they are no longer bound by the safety rules and supervision of the workplace, but many fatalities occur away from work, such as falls, poisonings, drowning and choking incidents. These incidents can be easily prevented if awareness is spread about the issue. “Beyond the Red Zone” was created to spread such awareness in order to secure their employees not just at work but also, and, more importantly, away from work.
Continuing in its focus on health, Halliburton donated $20,000 to the Children’s Cancer Hospital in Egypt in 2005.
In February 2006 the company participated in the Road Safety and Traffic Management Conference and Exhibition in Egypt. The exhibition was designed to allow access to the latest safety developments for the industry to the public but also to educate and inform all visitors on what road safety is about and how it can help to save lives. For this reason the exhibition was open to the general public with particular attention being paid to organize visits from schools, the police, etc.
Halliburton contributed a booth to the exhibition. Large posters were supplied from USA about Halliburton services and safety rules. The booth was divided into two sections each with a plasma screen. The first screen displayed the World Health Organization Concerns with a speech by Kofi Annan about road safety with two vehicle accident clips. The second screen presented a part of the defensive driving Crash Course video produced by COASTAL training institute in the USA. The company distributed booklets in English and Arabic about seat belts and how to keep children protected cars. The area manager of the company, Hesham Ismail, delivered a presentation on defensive driving at the conference.
The conference was in step with Halliburton’s already established convention about road safety. The company has for quite a while concentrated its efforts on training its drivers to navigate the wild streets of Egypt safely. The objective of their Defensive Driving Program is to improve the driving skills of all Halliburton employees in light and heavy vehicles. Essentially, to drive a company vehicle all Halliburton drivers, whether employees or a third party, must go through a mandatory Defensive Driving Training program that is administered by internal trainers provided by the company Exploration Logistics. The drivers are then given a competence test every two years to earn a driving permit. In short, at Halliburton the simple equation is: no permit = no driving.
Most recently in November of 2006, Halliburton Egypt sponsored a team in the above-mentioned BG Challenge. By trekking their way through Egypt’s South Sinai, five Halliburton employees raised $4,000 for CARE’s humanitarian efforts. The money raised by the BG Challenge was given to CARE Egypt, which utilized the money on three of its programs: 1) ALIVE, which sponsors water, sanitation and environmental education, as well as micro-finance projects, aimed at improving quality of life for thousands of Egyptians. 2) SAFE, which teaches water- and soil-management practices in Upper Egypt to help 6,000 small-scale farmers enjoy a secure livelihood. And 3) EMPOWERS, which involves locals in public decision-making, ensuring vulnerable populations’ long-term access to water.
Apache: Springboarding for Girl’s Education
In 2003 Egypt commenced its National Girls’ Education Initiative. The program focuses on providing education to underprivileged girls living in remote areas. Springboard – Educating the Future, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization, has teamed up with the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development to support Egypt’s National Council for Childhood and Motherhood by raising funds to construct one-room school buildings in areas with high rates of out-of-school girls.
Springboard was launched in Egypt by the Apache Corporation. The initiative constructed 200 one-room schools for girls in Egypt at the end of 2006. The first of these schools has already been built with the financial and administrative aide of the Apache Corporation. The school was built in Abu Sir, a small village 16 kilometers south of the Giza Pyramids. The project was completed in 2004. Recently, six other schools have been completed in the Fayoum governance and preparation is currently taking place in order to build 25 additional schools. Each school costs $15,000 to build and accommodates 35 girls taught by two teachers administrating modern educational techniques.
The schools were built and funded by Apache officers, directors and friends. The president of Springboard and executive vice president and general manager of Apache’s Egypt region, Rodney J. Eichler, stated that if the goal of 200 schools is met, the program will expand the initiative to 1,000 schools.
In other CSR projects, Apache sponsored two teams to the above-mentioned BG Challenge and donated $9,000 to the event.