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Social Environment strategy
Apr 13, 2021

Click here for more information about our Social Settings Management Strategy

The objective of the Social Environment Management Strategy is to contribute to the growth of the economic value of Ecopetrol and the Group by creating conditions for sustainable development that allow the consolidation of operations and viability of businesses.

Below are the specific objectives the Social Environment Management Strategy:

  • Maintain business operations and enable sustainable development in the territories, strengthening the ability to adapt to environmental conditions.
  • Contribute to the generation of economic, social and environmental benefits, and ensure that Stakeholders perceive and recognize that these benefits are generated by the presence of Ecopetrol and its Group in the territory.
  • Achieve levels of environmental performance of excellence in all processes of the organization.

This strategy establishes four strategic axes: Environmental Management, Physical Security, Relationship and Social Investment. These axes are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the National Development Plan.

 

Security

Managing security of individuals, the operation and the Company’s projects, as well as those of its Group. Supporting strategic levers – mainly: Current assets, Colombia exploration and Hydrocarbons in unconventional reservoirs.

Engagement

Building trust-based relationships with the different stakeholders in the territory, favoring both the attainment of corporate objectives and a contribution to sustainable development.

Socioenvironmental investment

Contributing to the generation of sustainable development. Allows for participation in territorial planning and building long-term development plans.

Environmental management

Preventing, controlling, mitigating and compensating potential environmental impacts. Obtaining permits and authorizations. Developing both voluntary and mandatory environmental investment projects.

 

The relationship with the various stakeholders for Ecopetrol and its Corporate Group is the cross-cutting axis upon the basis of which long-term relationships of trust are built with the different actors in the areas where we operate.

Knowledge of the territory in its social, cultural, economic, political, environmental and institutional aspects allows to identify risks and impacts generated by the company’s presence in the territory, with the purpose of carrying out a responsible and sustainable management of operational activities. This knowledge leads to the identification of opportunities to improve the conditions of the territory and contribute to sustainable development.

In this sense, the Environment Management Strategy corresponds to the set of actions aimed at building favorable conditions for the growth of Ecopetrol and its Corporate Group, all the while generating conditions for sustainable development in the territories. Below are four strategic axes in this strategy:

Environmental management

Environmental management in Ecopetrol and its Corporate Group seeks to prevent, control, mitigate and offset the potential environmental impacts of operations and projects in order to contribute to the improvement of the environmental quality of the territories where we operate, while aiming at sustainable development. Additionally, the environmental management division obtains the permits and authorizations from the competent authorities to carry out the works, projects and activities, and monitors strict compliance therewith.

In addition, the environmental management division develops voluntary and mandatory environmental investment initiatives and projects to manage impacts and contribute to the conservation of natural resources in the region. Below are the components of this strategy:

  • Comprehensive Water Management
  • Biodiversity
  • Climate change
  • Circular Economy
  • Environmental Authorizations

Social investment

The essential purpose of social investment of Ecopetrol and its Corporate Group is to contribute to the generation of sustainable development.

The portfolio of social investment projects of Ecopetrol and its Corporate Group is built by classifying the various initiatives into investment lines. The projects that comprise it are identified and prioritized in consultation with the Stakeholders (national, departmental and local governments, society and the community, etc.). These projects are formulated and structured in a rigorous manner, and constitute an integral part of the Company’s environmental plans.

These investments include the projects that the Group’s companies develop voluntarily through their resources, and include those financed through the Works for Taxes mechanism, among others.

These investments by Ecopetrol and its Corporate Group will be focused mainly on the lines described below:

 

Education and Sports

Interventions in education and sports seek to promote educational quality and coverage and school retention in the territories. Through these initiatives, Ecopetrol contributes to Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education, while the Company intends to benefit 252,000 children and young people by 2022, equivalent to 3% of the goal of the 2019-2022 National Development Plan regarding students in the school system with quality.

It is important to bear in mind that the education sector was not oblivious to the health and social emergency derived from COVID 19. In this vein, and given the eventual return of children and young people to the education system (calculated for the beginning of the Q1 2021), interventions in infrastructure and provision of school furniture are expected to become an incentive for students to return to school.

The efforts made in 2020 aimed to achieve the following:

  • Better quality: oriented to the implementation of initiatives that promote more and better learning for children. It includes actions for teacher training, provision of relevant pedagogical material and monitoring to ensure ownership and sustainability at the end of the project. Strategies were successfully completed for the provision of pedagogical material, benefiting more than 45,000 children and young people in the municipalities of Villavicencio, Guamal, Castilla La Nueva and Acacías (Meta) and Tibú (Norte de Santander). Similarly, the implementation of the Escuela Nueva Program in the municipalities of Aguazul and Tauramena (Casanare) was completed, thus benefiting more than 900 students and teachers.

  • Better coverage: actions taken to promote more educational quotas. The construction or improvements of new infrastructures are supported and official actions are promoted to expand the offer of educational quotas or scholarships. Ecopetrol contributes to more than 1,750 young people currently accessing higher education within the framework of the National Government Program “Generation E”, Ecopetrol’s “Mario Galán Gómez” high school scholarships and the Utopia Program – the only one in its kind in the country. Regarding infrastructure intervention, it is worth mentioning the completion of four improvements of an educational nature, including the construction and equipment of Phase II Boquemonte campus of Universidad de Los Llanos in Granada, Meta.

  • Greater retention: Development of actions aimed at promoting the good use of free time and incentives to stay within the educational system. It includes quality improvement interventions, as well as the extension of the school day through activities such as music and sports schools or the provision of furniture, household items, kitchen and delivery of school kits. In this regard, musical schools were developed in 2020 by Batuta National Foundation in the Departments of Huila, Nariño and Meta (in which more than 1,400 children and young people participated), and the execution of the “Sembrando Joropo” Program continued to preserve the culture of Casanare with the participation of children and adolescents from the Department. Similarly, 7 furniture projects were completed to benefit 6,580 children and young people from public Educational Institutions in 9 departments of the country. Finally – and although there is a section dedicated to projects carried out within the framework of Works for Taxes – it is important to note that 3 projects for the provision of school furniture were completed during 2020 with coverage in 5 municipalities of Arauca, 14 municipalities of Meta and in Yondó, Antioquia, which benefited 70,427 students. 4 additional projects were initiated to benefit 89,908 students from Casanare, Norte de Santander, Putumayo and Arauca.

Inclusive Rural Development

The objective of Ecopetrol’s investment in this line is to link the communities in areas of interest to productive chains and facilitate the access of the rural population to the public offer of programs, goods and services. 4 projects were successfully completed during 2020, benefiting 509 farmer families in the departments of Santander and Meta. In addition, 10 projects in which 2,650 farmer families participate continue to be carried out. These projects aim at strengthening and developing sustainable productive chains in lines such as sugarcane, cocoa, coffee, fruit trees, bananas, vegetables, livestock and environmental services, in partnership with organizations such as FAO, UNODC, SOCODEVI, Agrosavia, the National Land Agency and the Mayor’s Offices of Barrancabermeja, Sabana de Torres, Saravena and Yaguará.

One of the purposes of the Inclusive Rural Development line is to promote the access of rural communities to the institutional offer and contribute to the fulfillment of the goals contained in the National Development Plan. In 2020 Ecopetrol signed a framework agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development – in addition to the current agreements with the National Land Agency and the Rural Development Agency. These alliances allow coordination with public programs such as contract farming, land formalization, and comprehensive agricultural and rural development projects – PIDAR (from its original Spanish language initials - Proyectos Integrales de Desarrollo Agropecuario y Rural).

The ECO coffee and chocolate program was launched in April 2020 in alliance with Tienda Ecopetrol Store. These products represent the entrepreneurship, collaboration and constant effort of two producer associations from the municipalities of Cubarral and Lejanías, which are part of Ecopetrol’s social investment projects in the department of Meta.

 

Entrepreneurship and Business Development

Interventions in the Entrepreneurship and Business Development line aim at strengthening the business fabric in the territories of interest to Ecopetrol. This is done through the development of capacities for entrepreneurship and the creation of environments that favor innovation, which allow the generation of income and productive occupation of the communities. For this purpose, the Company has set the goal of benefiting 3,872 people / businesses by 2022.

The most relevant projects in 2020 include the continuity of the Entrepreneurship and Business Development Centers in Putumayo, Meta and Santander, which have benefited 458 people and have focused on supporting entrepreneurs and businessmen to overcome the economic crisis generated by the pandemic. The Entrepreneurship Centers – which are part of the Sacúdete strategy led by the First Lady of the Nation, The United Nations Development Program UNDP and Ecopetrol – have promoted innovation, entrepreneurship and business development and as an achievement for the year 2020. “ENRED -SACUDETE” was created – a directory of Entrepreneurs in the departments of Putumayo, Meta and Santander, to give greater visibility to the undertakings in these territories and promote the activation of collaboration networks.

 

Institutional and Community Strengthening

Ecopetrol promotes efforts for institutional strengthening in the areas where it operates, based on the coordination of the State and Stakeholders. In this sense, there are initiatives of Good Governance and Citizen Participation – including the execution of projects to strengthen Local Cultural Expressions in Puerto Wilches (Santander) in the Central Region and in Valle del Guamuez, San Miguel, Orito and Puerto Asís (Putumayo). These projects benefit 16,570 inhabitants of the community in the area of ​​influence of the South Region.

Ecopetrol supported the implementation of the Public Employment Service in El Centro district in Barrancabermeja (Santander), with the aim of contributing to the development of the public employment policy by the Central Regional Branch and in the Eastern Regional Branch. An Agreement was signed for the formation of Community Action Boards in 2021 in Puerto Gaitán, in partnership with UNDP.

Public and Community Infrastructure

Ecopetrol’s social investment in the line of public and community infrastructure aims to improve the conditions of the communities regarding accessibility and terrestrial interconnectivity to facilitate commercial exchange and productivity in the regions, as well as to promote projects for the generation of spaces for coexistence, participation, education and recreation; in harmony with the programs and development plans of the territorial entities of the areas of interest, with the aim of improving the quality of life and promoting sustainable development.

The partnership with the National Federation of Coffee Farmers was formalized in December 2020. This partnership aims to develop projects that meet the needs of road and community infrastructure, while contributing to the economic reactivation of the regions through the generation of temporary employment and the consumption of local supplies in areas of common interest.

In addition to the above, it should be noted that progress has been made since 2019 in the execution of the agreement with Universidad Industrial de Santander, focused on conducting applied research to the physical, chemical and mechanical properties of oily waste, in order to determine the technical and economic feasibility of obtaining products that allow improving the tertiary road network. In 2020, sample collection activities were carried out at the national level as part of the technical characterization study phase of oily waste that will allow the development of a methodology for transforming this waste into products for the improvement of roads with low traffic volumes.

 

Road infrastructure

8 road infrastructure projects were successfully completed in 2020. 238.4 km of roads were intervened to benefit 471,000 ca. inhabitants, contributing to their mobility and land interconnectivity, the dynamism of the regions and the generation of – mostly local – jobs:

Regional branch

Project

Department

Scope or impact

Catatumbo Arauca

 

Acquisition of machinery and vehicles: El Teorama

North of Santander

12 km of the road network, benefiting 22,438 inhabitants of the area.

Catatumbo Arauca

Acquisition of machinery and vehicles: El Tarra

North of Santander

12 km of the road network benefiting 11,002 inhabitants of the area.

Catatumbo Arauca

Acquisition of machinery and vehicles: Convención

North of Santander

12 km of the road network benefiting 13,030 inhabitants of the area.

Central

 

Paving for urban roads in Carrera 3 between Calle 5 and 7 in the municipality of Puerto Wilches

Santander

3,000 inhabitants of the urban area of ​​the municipality of Puerto Wilches

Central

Paving the road that connects the Magdalena Medio highway with Ruta del Cacao and the highway from the Barrancabermeja - Puerto Wilches road to Guillermo Gaviria Correa bridge (21 km)

Santander

230,000 inhabitants of Barrancabermeja and Magdalena Medio and generated more than 2000 – mostly local – jobs.

East

Maintenance of roads: Puerto Gaitán (173.4 Km)

Meta

Inhabitants of the Puerto Triunfo, Santa Helena, Rubiales, Santa Catalina, Comejenal, Alto Manacacias, and Alto Neblinas villages located in the municipality of Puerto Gaitán Meta.

Additionally, the construction of the Improvement of tertiary roads in the municipality of La Gloria and Rehabilitation of the Tame - Corocoro road in Arauca was advanced through the Works for Taxes mechanism. Details of these projects are presented is in Chapter 7.

 

Public infrastructure of community interest

3 community infrastructure projects were concluded in 2020, thus contributing to cultural development in the Orinoco region, union and coexistence in the Central and Eastern regions. These projects are as follows:

Regional

Project

Department

Scope or impact

Orinoco

Restoration and adaptation of the House of Culture and acoustic shell at San Martín de los Llanos

Meta

Inhabitants of San Martín de los llanos.

Central

Improvement of the communal hall and sports field in the Cayumba district and the communal hall of the El Pedral district – municipality of Puerto Wilches

Santander

Inhabitants of Cayumba and El Pedral townships in the municipality of Puerto Wilches.

East

Adaptation and improvement of the existing social, cultural and sports meeting spaces at Puerto Triunfo village, in the municipality of Puerto Gaitán

Meta

Inhabitants of the village of Puerto Triunfo.

 

Public services. Results in drinking water and basic sanitation.

Ecopetrol makes use of water resources in 71 municipalities. During 2020, Ecopetrol supported the execution of a project associated with access to drinking water solutions in the municipality of Puerto Wilches, Santander department, which benefits 5,792 people, and a basic sanitation project in the village area of the municipality of Carmen de Chucurí, expanding coverage to 212 people and allowing the start-up of the Domestic Waste Water Treatment Plant (PTARD). Additionally, the construction of 108 sanitary units was advanced in the municipality of La Gloria, department of Cesar. By 2021, the expansion of the aqueduct networks of the municipality of Riohacha, department of La Guajira, will begin. Details can be found in Chapter 7.

7 projects are currently underway, seeking to benefit more than 900,000 people by 2022. These projects include the construction of the alternate water collection system for the aqueduct in Villavicencio, Meta; the metropolitan aqueduct of the municipalities of Cúcuta, Villa del Rosario and Los Patios, in Norte de Santander; the construction of the San Silvestre WWTP in the city of Barrancabermeja, Santander; and the implementation of four individual water purification solutions in educational institutions in the municipality of Puerto Wilches, through the “Water for Education, Education for Water” program in partnership with the EPM Foundation.

 

Household gas

Ecopetrol, the Government of Arauca and the Mayor’s Office of Cubará (Boyacá) signed an agreement to support the massification plan for the public gas service network. The strategy foresaw co-funding of connection fees.

Coverage was expanded in Tame (Arauca) for 1,200 new homes to have household gas service.

Similarly, it was possible to expand the coverage of the household gas service through the construction of networks and the provision of connection fees for 560 homes in the rural area of ​​the municipality of Támara (Casanare).

Engagement

The engagement strategy of Ecopetrol and its Corporate Group seeks to build long-term, trust-based relationships with the different actors in the territory. In turn, the objective is to favor the achievement of corporate objectives and to contribute to sustainable development. In this sense, the promotion and participation of Ecopetrol in different engagement opportunities allows Ecopetrol and its Corporate Group to act as one more stakeholder in the territory, share knowledge, expectations and requirements, to disseminate information on activities and results of the company, to jointly plan the territory and to build long-term development objectives. The key components of this axis are as follows:

  • Territorial Dialogue and Agreement
  • Commitment Management
  • Participation in Benefits
  • Territory Management
  • Employability
  • Institutional and Community Strengthening

Security

Security Management seeks to implement a preventative model that increasingly incorporates more technology. This model is supported by better contracts, exceptional support from the Law Enforcement Agencies and more prosecution actions to facilitate the feasibility of Ecopetrol’s operation and projects, as well as those of its Corporate Group. The components of the strategic axis are as follows:

  • Protection of people
  • Protection of Infrastructure
  • Continuity of operations and projects


Management of social impacts

Impacts associated with business activity and measures to manage them

All operations and projects developed by Ecopetrol must comply with the regulations and legal requirements established by environmental authorities, such as the Ministry of the Environment, the National Environmental Licensing Authority (ANLA) and the Regional Autonomous Corporations. It is through these instruments that Ecopetrol ensures the identification and assessment of social and environmental impacts, and the definition of compensation or mitigation measures necessary to manage them, ensuring responsible business management with the communities and the environment.

The impact identification process is carried out through Environmental Management Plans (EMP). The impacts and risks of the activity are identified and assessed preventively by the company, defining the plans and measures required for their proper management. Likewise, spaces for citizen participation are generated, where it is possible to identify those other impacts and management measures that, according to their relevance, can be included in the impact assessment and environmental management plan.

Management records are established around each of these variables, the monitoring and evaluation of which is in charge of the authorities.

By 2020, the company implemented new forms of relationship and work to promote the participation of communities and different interest groups, complying with the measures provided for the prevention and control of the health emergency adopted as a result of the COVID pandemic. -19.

Despite the effort and the good results, the lack of accessibility of the communities was evident in many regions of the country, where telecommunication technologies do not have wide coverage, which required continuing with the physical presence in the territory.

Some of the impacts of the activity carried out by Ecopetrol and of the measures adopted by the Company to manage them are presented in the table.

Impacts associated with business activity and measures to manage them

Impacts

Measures

Generation of expectations

Generation of noise and luminosity.

Use of public infrastructure (eg roads). Generation of particulate matter. Generation of emissions.

Contamination. Waste disposal.

Changes in regional economic vocations and their social dynamics.

Communication and information strategy regarding the activity and its different stages.

Installation of equipment with new technologies that produce less noise as well as barriers that mitigate light.

Attention to the damages generated by the mobilization of equipment, guaranteeing that the roads remain in the same or better conditions than those initially found, as well as the management of traffic and particulate material, with the participation of the community.

Disposal and treatment of waste, according to the classification, characterization of the environment and established regulations.

Development, promotion and execution of sustainable productive projects in the regions, in order to strengthen the productive vocations of the territory, promoting entrepreneurship and economic diversification.

The exercise of identifying impacts and defining management measures is carried out continuously during the execution of projects and the development of Ecopetrol operations in all its areas of operation in the national territory.

Mechanisms for participation and involvement of stakeholders in the management of social impacts

In order to ensure that all possible impacts and risks are identified, the process includes different mechanisms of participation and involvement of stakeholders, 

Mechanisms for participation and involvement of stakeholders in the management of social impacts

Participation Mechanism

How it is applied in Ecopetrol

Socio-environmental impact assessments.

In accordance with current regulations, the process of requesting or modifying environmental licenses requires studies to identify social and environmental impacts and define management measures to mitigate, control or compensate for them.

Stakeholders are involved in the process of preparing these studies, for example, through informational meetings for initiation, follow-up and evaluation, and workshops to identify impacts and management measures.

The application of this mechanism is evidenced in the case of updating the Environmental Impact Study (EIA) of the Exploratory Drilling Area of ​​the Farallones prospect in the municipality of Ubalá (Cundinamarca).

Public content about the results of the evaluations.

The disclosure of the results of socio-environmental studies and other information of interest is disclosed, for example, through the implementation of follow-up committees for environmental monitoring, such as those developed in the deployment of these results to stakeholders, through communication strategies house to house, with town criers, due to the biosecurity restrictions set by the national government, in order to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Community development programs based on the needs of local communities.

In the process of defining projects and initiatives supported with social investment resources from Ecopetrol, the company takes into account the expectations of its stakeholders. These expectations are identified through the realization of spaces for relationship and joint construction that are crystallized in actions and significant investments at the regional and national level.

The application of this participation mechanism, where through tripartite dialogues between communities, municipalities and Ecopetrol, social investment projects were carried out based on the most pressing needs of the communities, such as access to public services; Home Natural Gas where residents of the municipalities of San Vicente de Chucurí and Barrancabermeja (Santander) accessed Gas Natural through networks; improvement and expansion of 7 educational venues; improvements of sports venues and improvement and provision of the health center.

Participation plans based on stakeholder mapping.

All the regions where Ecopetrol operates have Comprehensive Environment Plans, which include different types of relationship activities, most of them defined and agreed with the communities in the process of coexistence of business operations in the territory, which They promote spaces for dialogue with stakeholders, such as national, regional and local institutions, local authorities, contractors and the community in general.

This mechanism was applied throughout the national territory, mainly in the development of new projects in the production and exploration segments, such as the Llanos 121 exploratory prospect, in the municipalities of Tame (Arauca) and Hato Corozal (Casanare) where The mapping and diagnosis of the supply and capacities for the new business activities and investments was carried out, disclosing aspects of interest in the hiring of labor and local and regional goods and services. In the same way, in order to propose to the ANH, the Pilot Projects for Integral Research for the development of hydrocarbons in unconventional deposits in the municipality of Puerto Wilches (Santander).

Consultation processes with ethnic groups.

 

In order to avoid intercultural conflicts, Ecopetrol strictly complies with environmental legal regulations and the prior identification of the presence of ethnic groups in the areas to be intervened. Likewise, it carries out prior consultation processes, when these are required by the Ministry of the Interior.

Additionally, in each area of ​​operation the ethnic groups are identified and an approach is sought to understand the cultural particularities of each community, which allows the construction of a direct dialogue.

An example of this participation mechanism was the prior consultation process in Block Llanos 38, Califa Exploratory Drilling Area. Saravena (Arauca).

Formal complaints and claims processes in local communities.

In all the regions where Ecopetrol operates, formal channels are in place for stakeholders to file their requests, complaints, claims and requests (PQRS).

The information from the PQRS allows Ecopetrol to identify opportunities for improvement in the organization's processes and to build alternative solutions in the face of dissatisfaction situations.

Since 2014, the requirement of citizens and interest groups, the PQRS, has been met with an opportunity greater than 99.97%. Particularly in the year 2020, these communications increased, for an attention of 36,231 communications, with a response opportunity of 99.98%.

Similarly, by 2020, due to the need to get closer and facilitate communication between the community and the company, a new citizen participation office was opened in the municipality of Puerto Wilches (Santander), in order to have a more expeditious and formal channel, to attend to the concerns and requests of the closest community of the research activity of hydrocarbon exploration in unconventional deposits

 

Environmental incidents

The Environment Process (GDE) in its promise of value seeks to contribute to the generation of social welfare conditions at the regional and local level and, simultaneously, to the construction of environments favorable to the growth of the companies of the Ecopetrol Business Group. Environmental management activities must be carried out through the use of analytical, managerial and performance tools, which allow the viability of projects and the consolidation of operations, ensuring the growth of the economic value of ECOPETROL SA and the business group.

In this sense, the company has developed the environment monitoring sub-process that systematically analyzes the environment through the monitoring and assessment of situations that can put the operation of the company at risk, which are classified as alarms or incidents, and are They study from their causes, interaction of actors, situations and dynamics that converge in the territory, which is constituted as the fundamental unit of analysis for strategic decision-making.

An environmental alarm is any auditory or visual notification of any internal or external condition, circumstance or situation that indicates proximity of an incident. An alarm warns of the possibility of an action (blocking, cessation of activity, attack, among others) that may impact the normal execution of the organization's activities. On the other hand, an environmental incident is an action, condition, circumstance or situation that intervenes in the normal development of operations and activities, impacting the environment or the fulfillment of the organization's objectives. In some cases an incident corresponds to the materialization of a previously identified alarm.

 

Land rights

Resettlements

Ecopetrol has a Procedure for the resettlement of the population in the development of operations and projects, developed and formalized during 2019, whose purpose is to draw the conceptual and methodological route that allows to prevent, mitigate, correct and compensate the economic and social impacts caused by displacement. involuntary population, caused by the implementation of operations and projects, and define the actions and responsibilities of each of the areas within the company, which allow to reestablish the socioeconomic conditions of the population and turn the resettlement of the population into an opportunity for the improvement of the conditions of the population to be resettled.

The document takes as reference frameworks the UNRP, the International Policies on Population Resettlement: World Bank OP 4-12, the IDB standard OP-710 and the Manual for the Preparation of the Resettlement Plan of the International Finance Corporation ( IFC).

The document defines a series of principles, resettlement modalities, and intervention components: technical, environmental, social, and real estate law, which must be considered in each of the phases to be carried out for resettlement. In this way, the scope of social risk assessment activities and accompaniment throughout the entire process for resettled persons is strengthened.

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