Our approach to managing community grievances follows the precautionary principle of ensuring local approval for OMV operations by identifying and resolving the issues of concern to the local community early on. We strive to conduct our operations in a way that limits any disruption to our neighboring communities to a minimum; however, grievances may still arise. We manage these grievances through localized Community Grievance Mechanisms (CGMs). Community Grievance Mechanism (CGM) at OMV is a process for systematically receiving, investigating, responding to and closing out complaints or grievances from affected communities in a timely, fair and consistent manner. We define grievances as an expression of dissatisfaction stemming from a real or perceived impact of a company’s business activities through its own actions or through actions of its suppliers. . Our grievance management system aims to be based on dialogue with our stakeholders first and foremost, and is designed so as to prevent any retaliation risks.
The CGM helps OMV and those potentially impacted by its operations to resolve issues in a non-judicial manner. However, OMV’s CGM does not replace, nor obstruct affected stakeholders, including local community, from access to judicial or to other forms of remedial systems with regards to their complaints/grievances. The CGM offers a channel to resolve grievances in non-judicial manner and, depending on the case, access to remedy for community members.
At each OMV operated site a grievance expressed by our stakeholder goes through the below 5 step process.
Grievances can be written or verbal and can be expressed in local languages. They can by lodged by email, phone, through our community relations and development staff working locally, and other locally dedicated channels, as well as at Corporate level. The grievances can be expressed anonymously, as well as on behalf of another individual. The channel is also open for our local suppliers. Local community grievance mechanisms are regularly communicated to local communities. Each grievance is acknowledged once received, and the complainant is informed of the next steps.
Once we receive a grievance, we assess its severity and assign an OMV employee, who will follow through to ensure that the issue is investigated by departments that are best suited to do so, and that the complainant is responded to in due course. Grievances with high severity levels are escalated to senior management levels.
The grievance manager and the respective departments investigate the grievance and respond to the complainant informing them about the proposed resolution. In some cases more information may be requested from the complainant to ensure a thorough investigation.
We strive for our community grievance process to be based on dialogue where a resolution can be found together with the complainant. Remedies may be are proposed depending on the case. If the solution is refused, the complainant can appeal, in which case the grievance will be re-evaluated by alternate investigators. Once the complainant accepts the solution, the grievance is considered resolved.
A key step in the process is regular review and extraction of lessons learned from the grievances received. Grievance trends are regularly discussed with senior management at operated sites. They inform the adaptation of operations to prevent future repetition of the same community concerns, or improvements to the grievance management process itself.
We aim to solve all grievances quickly. Depending on the severity level of a grievance and the type of issue raised, the response to the complainant can take anywhere between first 24 h in cases where immediate resolution is necessary and/or possible up to a maximum of 45 days in cases where detailed investigations or resolutions are required.
Our community grievance management aims to be fully aligned with the IPIECA best practice guidelines. To ensure that, OMV has further set a target to assess the CGMs at all of its sites against the UN Effectiveness Criteria for Non-Judicial Grievance Mechanisms by 2025, to ensure all sites follow the criteria. The UN Effectiveness Criteria require the grievance mechanism to be legitimate, accessible, predictable, equitable, transparent, rights-compatible, a source of continuous learning, and based on engagement and dialogue. During these assessments internal and external stakeholders are consulted on current CGM performance and improvements necessary in its design. The implementation of action plans resulting from the assessments are closely monitored by the Group community relations expert.