Overview of the Community Engagement Standards Indicator

CES Indicator developed by CSR-in-Action


One of the greatest challenges facing humanity is how to manage relationships; between companies and communities, and between communities and governments. Business activities have impacts. These impacts could be positive or negative.

'While these companies operating in developing countries have contributed towards improved social development through providing jobs, paying taxes, building an industrial base, enhancing efficiency, earning foreign exchange and transferring technology, they have also been linked publicly to deepening disparities in wealth, poor labor conditions, pollution incidents, health and safety failings, forced displacement and other human and civil rights abuses (Thomson & Joyce 1997). This has led to an increasing pressure from NGOs, Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) all over the world for multinational corporations to become more accountable' (Amponsah-Tawiah & Dartey-Baah, 2011, p. 62).

Over the years, tremendous efforts have been focused on how to maximise the positive impacts of business on society and how to minimise the negative impacts. In fact, the sector which has posed more challenge than any other is the extractives sector. This is because extractive industries, by their very nature, disrupt and dislocate both people (communities) and livelihood systems. Second is that extractive industries are, more often than not, multinationals whose origins and influence are pervasive. Third is that more enlightened members of any community where minerals are exploited, have in their sub-conscious the colonial experience of their various countries. The history of minerals, metals and hydrocarbon extraction is closely intertwined with experiences of colonisation, independence and development. In many parts of the world, the extractives sector is central to the economy and, as a result, to the political legitimacy of a country's leaders (Chatham House 2013).

In developing this Community Engagement Standards, particular attention has been focused on extractives generally with oil and gas as the main focus of analysis. Second, Nigeria has also been used as a frame of reference. This is because of the not very inspiring experience with extractives. Moreover, when it comes to the extractive industries, Nigeria could be said to have seen it all. From human rights violations to environmental degradation, from violent conflict to community induced production disruption and general insecurity.

Over the years, the government, international community and non-state actors have responded to these challenges in very many ways. Laws have been enacted, uprisings brutally put down, activists have been jailed and some judicially murdered, but the problem seems to defy most of these responses. In fact, the challenge has more often than not, taken on new colourations as the Nigerian state evolved.

This Community Engagement Standards starts from when a company is about to start a project in an area. Second phase focuses on when the company has settled down and commenced operations and finally when the company is about to exit. Experience from the field show that the issues which the Community Engagement Standards shall deal with in each phase differ in scope, magnitude and significance.

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More Reports

This particular paper is the first in the research journey, and it x-rays the conflict management strategies adopted by several oil-rich countries across the world. 

The condition of stakeholder relations in oil & gas producing communities

Comparative analysis of modular refineries

Strategic assessment of financial viability of government-owned refineries