Impact assessment and management

Minimizing the negative impacts and maximizing the positive impacts

Our aim is to do this with the impacts that arise due to our operations. Therefore, we work hard to learn about the context and the particular social, economic, and cultural aspects of the areas where we operate and identify the impacts our operations may have.

Due to the nature of our operations and our presence in numerous countries, we are aware that our activities affect a large number of very different populations in very different ways. In order to address this challenge, we have a set of processes and activities aimed at preventing and mitigating our impact and maximizing social opportunities in the communities.


Performing Environmental, Social, and Health Impact Assessments (ESHIA)

The first thing we do prior to beginning our operations is to perform an environmental and social baseline study to know and analyze the context as well as the area's specific social, economic, and cultural aspects.

Similarly, and in collaboration with local public authorities and social organisations, we identify the stakeholders to be aware of their expectations, needs, concerns, and aspirations. Among these stakeholders are neighbors, local authorities and associations, our customers and suppliers, in addition to all those who are legitimate holders of rights which we may impact.

To that end, we perform Environmental, Social, and Health Impact Assessments (ESHIA). These assessments ensure that all potential impacts are identified as early as possible in the life cycle of a project, so that they're taken into account in the project's own design with the goal of preventing and mitigating their effects. The impact themselves and those resulting from our commercial relationships are taken into account, including the Extractive Business Partners. The social impacts include impacts on human rights.


Developing a social impact assessment methodology

As of 2011, we have a company-wide internal regulation on environmental, social, and health impact assessments that includes human rights in this assessment process.

The scope of this regulation includes the human rights set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the principles regarding rights established in the International Labor Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and the eight Fundamental Conventions that implement them.

In 2014, we developed our own assessment impact methodology. It is an internal support guide for units that perform environmental, social, and health impact assessments that incorporate a focus on human rights as part of the impact assessment process.

The phases of this methodology are as follow:

Impact management methodology phases image

Designing solutions for possible impacts

Given the nature of our operations and our presence in numerous countries, we are aware that our impacts vary.

Our potential impacts mainly arise in refineries and chemical facilities or in our exploration and production operations. Based on each context and local situation, using constant, participatory and proactive dialogue, we search for solutions in each case by actively cooperating to repair any harm caused by our activity or that of our partners and contractors, among whom we promote knowledge and compliance to our commitments. Once we have identified the impacts, they are shared in a transparent way with the local community through constructive dialogue accessible to all.

Impact management |PDF| 201 KB

A woman from La Guajira covers herself with a scarf

An example of due diligence on human rights

Human Rights Impact assessment in La Guajira.

The human rights impacts assessment was carried out in participatory manner and respecting the indigenous cultures. The Repsol methodology was previously presented to the traditional authorities (Wayuu ethnic group). The interviews were conducted while assuring diversity, with the objective of guaranteeing the active participation of the communities.

Transparency and accessibility to factual information is key for maintaining a relationship of trust with our communities. That is why the results of the study were shared through mass meetings in the local language (Wayunikki) where aspects related to territoriality, young people’s loss of identity, labor, economics, the environment, and women’s rights were identified. However, the most relevant impact identified was the protection of sacred areas and the cultural impact without any possible mitigation measures. Therefore, the Company's decision has been not to continue operations in this block, remaining consistent with our Policy, and recognizing and respecting the communities’ cultural diversity.

This case was presented at the European Parliament in Brussels during the "Companies and Due Diligence in Latin America" private event in 2019.

Resettlement and use of lands

We recognize and respect the rights of the villages and legal rights holders over their lands and natural resources, and we make the means available for protecting them, especially in the case of those groups who are most vulnerable.

In accordance with this commitment and the requirements included in our regulatory framework, prior to the start of any activity, feasible alternative designs are considered to minimize the acquisition of land and restrictions on the surface and subsurface land and soil use, in order to avoid resettlement and adverse impacts on the communities and people who use those lands.

Once the location has been selected, we identify the owners and land users with the help of official mechanisms in each area. Additionally, and with the aim of preserving the rights of those most vulnerable, we perform an active search for any other potential legal rights holders, like indigenous communities who use the land or one of its resources. In Canada, we have a great example of how we've carried out this identification.

When resettlement is unavoidable and before proceeding with the project, the following evaluation and compensation measures will be taken:

  • Ensure that public agencies have sufficiently complied with or sufficiently guaranteed compliance with obligations defined in their legal system. 
  • Carry out resettlement and land acquisitions through agreements negotiated through the consultation and participation of individuals or communities, even though they have the legal means for acquiring land without the community's consent. For that, owners or land users are previously informed of the activities to be carried out, how the calculation will be made and what the method of payment for the compensation will be, and formal permission is requested from them for the use of their land.
  • Avoid forced eviction. 
  • Plan the activities for physical or economic displacement, including the restoration of livelihood to compensate the affected people or communities, in case the land acquisitions or use restrictions involve a loss of goods or livelihood, regardless whether or not the affected people are physically relocated. 
  • Establish a formal mechanism for the constitution of easements or right of way and keep a record in a database.
View of Greek fields

An example of permit management for the use of land in Greece

Identifying land owners, access permits, and compensation management for a seismic survey.

Geophysical surveys require the utilization of large land surfaces during short periods of time, so they may often pose a challenge to our Permit Management Teams. During 2018 and 2019, Repsol conducted a 2D geophysical survey along 400 linear kilometers in the region of Epirus, Greece. The following are the management phases for the temporary use of lands in the area to be studied:

  1. 1. Land characterization and identification of more than 1,400 owners.
  2. 2. Permit management prior to land access: Each of the corresponding landowners was contacted in order to explain the nature and estimated dates of the works as well as how the compensation would be calculated and what the payment process would be. An intervention letter was signed by those owners who agreed to the give formal permission.
  3. 3. Assessment of possible damages and compensation calculation based on the Greek Administration Tables for compensations. After a “Clearance Letter” was signed, the compensation was transferred to the owners to avoid payments in cash. Identification and management of human rights risks

Identification and management of human rights risks

We have an organization, procedures, and systems in place that enable us to reasonably manage these risks to which it we are exposed, being an integral element of our Group's decision-making processes, both in the area of corporate governance bodies and in business management.

Human rights risks are integrated into corporate management as part of the Integrated Risk Management System (IRMS), both in the management of strategic risks (reputation and image) and operational risks (code of ethics and conduct).

Within the operational risks, the risks that affect the Repsol Code of Ethics and Conduct that can also affect human rights are analyzed and managed:

Additionally, within the strategic risks, risks on human rights are included within the image and reputation risks, which may be compromised in case of breach of the commitment to respect human rights set forth in our Code of Ethics and Conduct, as well as in the Human Rights and Community Relations Policy, or that individuals or groups unrelated to Repsol managed to extend the opinion, not necessarily founded, of the Group's breach of its commitment to respect human rights.

Bolivians gathered under a tent

An example of our policy dissemination efforts in Bolivia

Our Human Rights and Community Relations Policy was updated in 2019. In order to ensure its proper dissemination in the Bolivia Business Unit, we carried out an awareness campaign aimed at our employees and contractors, communities close to our operations, partners, and civil society institutions. 

This policy is part of the training process to enter the field in assets operated by Repsol, but this update was used to strengthen the policy knowledge and integration of our commitments into our day-to-day work and that of our contractors. Moreover, we further raised awareness of our operational-level grievance mechanism which was implemented back in 2011. This mechanism ensures that claims, complaints, and compliance breaches are handled properly.

In addition to communication initiatives by means of leaflets and signage, 32 training sessions were carried out where 703 people were trained including all our employees, contractors, and the communities near our Caipipendi and Mamoré operations.