With all the preparation that is taking place for the oil sector, it appears that a policy that speaks to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has fallen off the map. In fact, the Guyana Standard was able to confirm today that this is yet to be addressed by the Energy Department.
Furthermore, the Department’s Head, Dr. Mark Bynoe has never spoken of this issue since taking up the new position last year.
In the meantime, Guyana’s international partners continue to urge that there be a robust policy in place and not just a CSR Programme that is subject to change.
The World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) are two agencies which have constantly advocated for resource-rich nations such as Guyana to ensure oil companies provide ample compensation in every sphere of their operation. They said that this is especially as it relates to Corporate Social Responsibility.
In fact, both financial institutions contend that building a town hall or health clinic in a mining community, for example, where the most apparent impact of the activity is large-scale environmental degradation or forced relocation of villages might be viewed as simply an attempt to buy off the community and create space to go on with business as usual.
On this note, the institutions said that CSRs must be relevant to the needs of a country’s communities.
The Banks said that while oil companies are allowed to extract a country’s resource, meaningful investment must be aligned to the development of a country’s human and social development. They stressed that Christmas parties and hampers would not cut it. They said that CSRs which do not seek to transform the country’s human capital only compromise the growth of the communities within the country.