Globally, the growing demand for energy has translated into an increasing expectation on organisations in the extractive sector to fit sustainable corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies in their business models.
On this premise, energy companies are required to set part of their focus on committing to addressing the challenges associated with their operations – a responsibility very well understood by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
By any objective measure, GNPC has demonstrated its commitment to social accountability under the leadership of its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Opoku-Ahweneeh Danquah. The company’s dedication to both itself and the communities it serves in Ghana is evident. GNPC aims to be a leading global oil and gas company, recognizing the profound impact its operations have on the quality of life for the people of Ghana.
Beyond the safeguarding of the environment through sustainable practices, the national oil company continues to demonstrate unwavering resolve to provide critical support to communities and their development through the designing and implementation of tailored intervention programmes aimed at ameliorating the environmental, social and economic impact of its activities within its production enclave and beyond.
Despite the myriad of challenges and opposition in the execution of its CSR strategies, the GNPC CEO has committed to ensuring the consolidation of gains made by the GNPC Foundation in protecting the assets of GNPC and its partner operators in the upstream petroleum sector.
With the Western Region serving as home to the core of Ghana’s current oil operations, and given the geographical scope of the Voltaian Basin Project, Mr. Danquah believes that upholding the tenets of the corporation’s CSR activities across the country is an integral component of its strategy to securing the social license needed to peacefully operate, averting potential sources of conflict and opposition that could hinder the goal of increasing oil production and growing GNPC’s core business.
While this is not an exhaustive list under its CSR scope, a key area for the advancement of GNPC’s support to communities and people development is the investments in education and training. GNPC has supported the training of about 6,000 qualified Ghanaian students with scholarships to pursue various graduate and postgraduate studies across institutions both home and abroad.
The foundation continues to commit funds to erecting school infrastructure while providing basic social amenities in areas in dire need of them. GNPC has completed 91 classroom blocks, with 50 more at various levels of completion; 5 dormitories, with 6 more pending to be completed; 3 science laboratories, with 5 more at various completion levels; and 16 Astro Turfs, with 16 more pending completion in communities and schools. Also, there are 383 boreholes and 32 sanitary facilities, with 319 and 54 respectively at various levels of completion to help alleviate water and sanitation-related health challenges in rural communities.
Furthermore, through the Skilled Artisans project, GNPC is enhancing the livelihoods of some 2050 youths who are being trained with employable skills in various vocations. These youths are being supported with requisite tools relevant to their respective vocations to begin their entrepreneurial journeys, keeping them off the streets and from becoming burdens on society.
While these activities are far from an exhausted list of its CSR scope, it offers credence to O-A Danquah’s belief that the business of corporations like GNPC must continue to impact positively on communities; that CSR and community investment strategies must align with GNPC’s business decisions on sustainability and creating economic, social and environmental value.