Communication and relations with our stakeholders are fundamental pillars of GeoPark’s work. Every year we design strategies to strengthen Company culture, transmit our values to the value chain and consolidate relationships of trust with our stakeholders.
At the start of 2020 we focused on priorities that arose from the Company’s growth the previous year. However, like other areas of the Company, we quickly had to adapt to the challenges posed by the pandemic.
Knowing the importance of communication in volatile and uncertain times, we created and reinforced spaces and processes for transparent, relevant and timely communication with all our stakeholders, both internal and external.
Ensuring that all employees knew the measures they should take to protect their health and that of their families, as well as the importance of their different roles for the Company’s business in unpredictable times, was a strategic focus and one of the main achievements of the Communications team.
To communicate the decisions made by the Crisis Management Team to safeguard the health of employees and contractors, Covid-19 Circulars were sent regularly. This new tool informed all employees about critically important matters, such as working from home guidelines, the protocols for reporting symptoms associated with Covid-19, and channels for reporting emergencies.
Accordingly, we designed and delivered virtual leadership workshops to 50 GeoPark leaders in critical areas of the business, we produced video series and real time events about physical and mental health, and we developed outdoor recreational activities for our employees in the field to compensate for the restrictions brought by the public health emergency.
Together with the Health and Safety area, we updated the scope of wellbeing programs and access to them to ensure that our people had the right tools to adapt and succeed in new work formats.
Virtual Town Halls called Cómo Vamos? were held throughout 2020 to communicate strategic decisions. Six of these meetings were held, informing employees of changes to the work plan resulting from fluctuations in international oil prices, giving them an opportunity to take in updates to the Business Model and on progress in meeting Company objectives. Holding the meetings virtually allowed us to reach larger internal audiences and increase interaction between employees and the Management Team.
To maintain transparent, regular, two-way communication all GeoPark employees attended a weekly two-hour Operations Meeting in which asset leaders reported on the main performance milestones in each block.
Fewer face-to-face occasions for more than half the year affected GeoPark’s interaction processes with external stakeholders. This challenge prompted us to design mechanisms to maintain timely and transparent communication to strengthen good neighborliness and avoid the trust our neighbors place in us from being diminished.
Accordingly, we created communications proposals to ensure that messages reached as many neighbors as possible. We developed short videos and digital flyers for instant messaging, jingles for regional radio stations, GIFs for WhatsApp stories, and banners to be displayed on the streets in the areas of influence of our operations.
We also used virtual formats to strengthen digital communication channels and open new spaces for our audiences to access real time, reliable information on GeoPark. Accordingly, the Good Neighbors blog and the La nueva Amerisur website were created, reporting social, environmental and human rights advances.
Building reputation in Putumayo
The acquisition of Amerisur meant integrating more than 45 employees to our work team and also took us into territory previously unexplored by GeoPark.
Motivated by the prospect of taking our good practices to Putumayo, the Colombian department where most of Amerisur’s blocks lie, we increased our contact with local, regional and national decision makers and media with messages reinforcing GeoPark’s long-term commitment to Colombia.
At the same time, we made sure that communication and information processes regards our neighboring communities were transparent, relevant and timely. In close coordination with the Nature and Neighbors team we helped publicize social initiatives and invitations, and we led campaigns to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in neighboring communities.
We implement relationship agendas in the countries we have activities in to inform stakeholders about the progress of our projects and our initiatives to promote the development of our neighboring communities. Keeping this agenda active allows us to identify opportunities for synergies with different entities and increase the impact of our projects.
After the pandemic started, we made sure we gave timely information to national, regional and local authorities about the strict measures we were taking to protect our employees, contractors, and neighbors, and to evaluate opportunities to work together to slow the spread of Covid-19.
Based on permanent contact with decision makers in Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina, we continued to position GeoPark as a strategic ally of the countries for the sustainable development of the oil and gas industry in Latin America.
We recognize the great value that lies in the knowledge and experience of the people in our work team, and we encourage the exchange of that knowledge with our neighbors and other stakeholders.
To achieve this, in 2020 we made partnerships with institutions and educational centers that share our goal of further spreading knowledge.
In Argentina we held a series of training sessions for students, teachers and education authorities with the support of the Neuquen Province Ministry of Education. In total in 2020 we held 26 virtual meetings that fostered collective learning among the communities close to our areas of operations.
In 2021 we will continue working to strengthen our unique culture and align ourselves to continue to manage our assets in the safest, most efficient and responsible way, compatible with nature, our neighbors and all our stakeholders.
In the second year of the pandemic, we will work to communicate the importance of staying safe and healthy, and support the gradual return of our employees to their offices with effective communications to help them adjust to a new normal.
With our colleagues in Nature and Neighbors, Legal, People and other areas, we will continue communicating our sustainability practices and goals, our culture of respect and promotion of human rights, and the environment of equality, inclusion and diversity that has been fundamental to the success of our Company for almost two decades. Measuring the effectiveness of the channels and messages we use to communicate our values, principles, achievements and objectives will be one of the most important tasks in 2021.
Externally, we will continue working to maintain the trust of the different stakeholders through greater visibility of the attributes and actions that make GeoPark unique. Many of our efforts will be to ensure effective communication with communities and authorities during the critical upcoming environmental licensing processes in the Llanos Exploracion, Oriente and Putumayo assets in Colombia and Ecuador.