Social responsibility of an organization refers to its responsibility vis-à-vis impacts and consequences of its decisions and activities (products, services and processes) on the society and the environment.
Leading corporates have always tried their best to strike a balance between their economic concerns and society and the environment and take their own social responsibility seriously.
What is today known as a legal obligation is a responsibility for corporates and organizations to feel responsible for the unfavorable impacts of their activities on the society on one hand and take into serious consideration social and environmental concerns alongside their business performance on the other.
The environment, ecosystems, plant and animal species, air, water and soil are another topic of corporate social responsibility as they are affected by the companies’ decisions and activities. In this domain, corporates are required to adopt responsible approaches and follow them. Some examples are as follows: preventing environmental pollution, i.e.
preventing the emission of air pollution (pollutants: lead, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, harmful particles to ozone,…), preventing water contamination (marine environment, surface water and water tables), management of waste, particularly hazardous wastes (radioactive wastes), disposal of hazardous and poisonous chemicals (either natural or synthetic) as well as other kinds of pollution (noise, smell, visual pollution, vibrations, radiations, infections like virus or bacterium).
Sustainable use of these resources imply that to ensure the availability of resources in the future, the current procedures of production and consumption must change and be in full coordination with the capacities of earth. Furthermore, the corporate’s orientation has to be towards renewable resources.
The main climatic condition affecting nature and human environment is caused by greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen dioxide). The consequences include high temperature, precipitation changes, severe weather events, sea level rise, water crisis, ecosystem changes, agriculture and fishing among others.
Corporates are expected to undertake responsible measures like what follows:
• Direct and indirect sources of greenhouse gas emissions and definition of responsibility, optimal scales for minimizing greenhouse gas emissions within the boundary of their authority;
• Examining the amount and category of fuel they use and implementing productivity improvement plan;
• Saving energy (purchase of highly energy-efficient commodities) and promoting such commodities
As far as protecting the nature and helping natural environment renewal are concerned, such actions as protecting ecosystems, services and functions for supplying water, food and fuel, weather regulations, soil formation, flood control and pollination are instrumental. In this regard, corporates are expected identify the harmful impacts on ecosystems and eliminate or minimize them. Action has also to be taken for protecting species or habits that are facing extinction and are easily affected. Any action that would accelerate the extinction of species and proliferation of invasive species must be avoided. Moreover, necessary products have to be purchased from sustainable technology suppliers.
Protection of the environment in the petroleum industry is among the major objectives of corporate social responsibility within the Ministry of Petroleum. To that effect, emphasis has been laid on respecting environmental regulations in designing and implementing petroleum industry projects in all areas. Protecting environmental indices is of high significance for the Ministry of Petroleum. Green industry development would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, turn off flare gas, help manage detritus and industrial waste, upgrade development of healthcare and hygiene services and protect biodiversity.
Our environmental vulnerability is extremely high. In fact, the environment and communities are interconnected when it comes to vulnerability. Therefore, in parallel with showing sensitivity to local communities, attention must be paid to biodiversity, expansion and protection of green space. Pollutants including gas, soil and water pollutants must be prevented so that we can contribute to the environmental stability of our region.
Local communities refer to a group of people with a specific identity living in oil operation areas and are directly or indirectly affected or affect petroleum industry activities.
The areas of petroleum industry activity, in terms of significance of influencing or being influenced in connection with local communities, are as follows:
Pars zone (Assaluyeh, Kangan and Jam) and West Karoun
Geographical zones administered by National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC), Iranian Central Oil Fields Company (ICOFC), Iranian Offshore Oil Company (IOOC), Arvandan Oil and Gas Production Company as well as refining facilities associated with the upstream sector, including Shahid Hasheminejad, Bid Boland 1, Parsian and Qeshm gas refineries
The Mahshahr Special Economic Petrochemical Zone is categorized under Zone 2.
Other zones across Iran
Economic, social and cultural development is achieved through fulfilment of social responsibility in oil-rich zones. Doubtlessly, the petroleum industry has been associated with social and economic development everywhere it has emerged. Some environmental impacts have been also seen in local communities and therefore the concept of social responsibility has been developed to address this issue in the oil sector. In doing so, people living in areas associated with the petroleum industry would benefit from the interests and value-added created by this industry.
For this reason, we have recommended drafting bylaws and guidance related to social responsibility in a bid to boost the local economy.
Empowerment is an example of social responsibility. It refers to benefiting from various supportive, facilitative, awareness-raising and educational methods (particularly technical and vocational training and upgrading the scientific base of low-income schoolchildren with special focus on women and girls) for self-reliance and development of human resources in local communities.
Our managers and officials are well aware of the necessity of empowering local manpower and they know how they can be instrumental in the development of petroleum industry zones.
The Ministry of Petroleum is supposed to be present in these areas for long years. Therefore, it must arrange for peaceful co-existence and equality. From the standpoint of social development, we are seeking to empower social infrastructure in these areas and we believe that social infrastructure is a must in oil-rich zones.
Dependence on oil resources and revenue would change the behavioral culture of society, which would in turn, affect production and productivity in a society. This issue is more tangible and objective in the areas where the petroleum industry is directly present.
The level of public expectations in the surroundings of the petroleum industry stands high, adding to complexities.
The petroleum industry is now convinced that it has to accept certain obligations. But it means that other organs should also fulfil their roles so that a general cycle would be created to provide support while being effective, sustainable and consistent.
The influential role of development projects in the petroleum industry environment is undeniable. It may be referred to as an element in the development of local communities.
Oil companies deeply believe that local communities are a must and sustainable development naturally materializes in the light of special look at local communities. Contribution to development and empowering local communities would create capacities in the local environment, develop infrastructure, facilitate partnership with organizations and local institutions and build culture.
Anyone failing to adapt himself with intra-organizational processes, i.e. in the absence of organizational sociability, will not show loyalty for the organization and employees will not love their job as they must. Nor will they believe in the objectives and values of the organization.
One issue upon which research seems necessary is the social responsibility of staff.
The activity of manpower as corporate beneficiaries is an issue covered by social responsibility in the Ministry of Petroleum. The decisions and activities of every corporate will be automatically affect their working conditions as well as the life conditions of their staff. The way the corporate reacts to these impacts may be analyzed from the viewpoint of social responsibility and in the form of willingness to increase the positive impacts and decrease the negative impacts of corporate decisions and activities.
The women employees of the petroleum industry may be influential in the realization of social responsibilities and help sustainable development materialize. Furthermore, owing to their high emotional intelligence and ability to support the rights of their children and future generations, they can be effective driving forces in this sector.