Vermilion focuses on a shared value approach to strategically investing in our communities. This is embodied in our mission statement: to deliver superior rewards to investors, employees, partners and the communities in which we operate.
Our communities comprise a wide diversity of people and organizations, but they have one key thing in common: they care deeply about the safety, environmental stewardship and corporate citizenship that we bring to our local operations. At the same time, our people care deeply about their communities –whether we work there or live there, these are the places we call home. We identify areas where the needs of our communities, our business and our people intersect, providing opportunities to offer support where it can do the most good for all.
Through our Vermilion Ways of Caring program, we give back, we give time and we give together. This strategic approach to community investment exemplifies “The Vermilion Way” of getting things done –demonstrating leadership, embracing responsibility and achieving excellence. The program provides a global framework, with clearly identified priorities and activities, that can be customized for local needs within our business units.
This represents our strategic funding initiatives, focused in four key investment areas:
We support the wide variety of not-for-profit and charitable organizations that our staff and their immediate families volunteer at outside of working hours, using a tiered volunteer grant approach: the greater the volunteer hours, the greater the donation to the organization. This allows us to directly support the causes and community organizations that mean the most to our people.
We encourage our people to spend up to two days per year volunteering on company time as part of a team or larger Day of Caring project. These hands-on opportunities help us to put caring into action, building collaborative, trusted and genuine relationships between our people, our company and our communities.
Vermilion has developed a sustainable funding model that links our community investment budget to key business performance metrics over a rolling average of the past three years. This is applied globally to the entire budget, and then by business unit to establish local budgets. This helps to provide stable funding for community investment over time by levelling out one-time changes in annual revenue and production, it directly links company activities with investment in our communities, and it leads best practices in the community investment sector.
We link our community investment work directly with our staff satisfaction metrics through our annual, confidential, third-party-conducted Great Place to Work® people survey. This is carried out through quantitative responses to the specific question “I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community” and through qualitative comments received in the open-ended survey questions.
In addition, we use anonymous staff surveys to develop community investment activities (such as proposing and choosing organizations for our Days of Caring and activities for our United Way fundraising campaign) and to assess their success and potential for continuous improvement.
We use various metrics on the spectrum between Inputs, Outputs and Outcomes to measure the results of our strategic community investment funding, with an increasing emphasis on working with our community partners to establish the means and support to measure outcomes:
As an example of outcomes measurement, our flagship partnership with the YW of Calgary (the Skills Training Centre project that provided 20-week construction training courses for women facing barriers to achieving viable employment) included a study into its Social Return on Investment. Our external consultant found that an SROI ratio of $4.65 of value created per $1 invested was a conservative estimate of the ongoing future value of the Centre’s services.
In addition to the Great Place to Work® survey metrics, we report the value of our community investments using the London Benchmarking Group’s standard "circles" of investment to reflect our total contribution:
We use these metrics with additional information on our community investment program and activities as part of Vermilion’s quarterly senior management team reviews and subsequent reports to the Board of Directors.
We adjust our funding and activities as needed, but on an annual basis at minimum. We identify and contribute to best practices as they develop, increase communication to staff to promote specific initiatives, and respond to changing needs within specific business units. For example, we updated our Ways of Caring framework in 2013 to include our four current pillars, we established our sustainable funding model in 2015, and we launched our Municipal Linkage Program in The Netherlands in 2016. We also launched an online third-party application in 2016 to streamline grant application administration for both Vermilion and our community partners.
In 2017, we assessed our programs in light of the Sustainable Development Goals, identifying opportunities to drive key targets within the Goals that are aligned with our Ways of Caring. This work highlighted the importance of our approach to SDG 17.17, on partnerships.