Feature: OECD: Inclusive Growth
Vermilion was honored to participate in the launch of the OECD’s Roundtable on Inclusive Growth and Business, which brought together leading experts on sustainability and business, and provided important recognition of our work in this area.
The Inclusive Growth Roundtable, held at OECD headquarters in Paris on Nov. 15, 2016, was an initial conversation on inclusive growth and how the business community is addressing it. Participants included the General Secretary of OECD, the State Secretary of Labor and Education for Slovenia, the Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, as well as Ambassadors and Ministers from OECD member and partner countries, and selected business leaders Danone and Vermilion Energy.
How does Vermilion define inclusive growth?
For Vermilion, inclusive growth means making sure that everyone has an opportunity for economic advancement, regardless of their economic class, gender, religion or disability. We look at this as long-term capacity development, focusing on productive employment for our employees, contractors and local suppliers.
We also undertake environmentally sustainable development, having examples of these projects in several countries. And, we stress strategic community investment in the locations in which we operate, identifying critical community needs where our financial contributions and our employees’ volunteer time can make a difference.
Inclusiveness is focused on equality of opportunity and capacity-building for our local labor force, our business partners that supply us, and our local communities. Here are a few examples:
- In Parentis, France, we began a project in 2008 to take unused heat energy from the produced water in our oilfield operation, and use it supply heat to a new tomato greenhouse industry. We are heating this greenhouse free-of-charge and free of carbon emissions for 25 years, which has made the greenhouse operation profitable to build and operate, and certifiable as an eco-greenhouse. This original investment has catalyzed a large tomato industry in Parentis, which now represents 27 hectares, 350 long-term jobs, €37 million invested in economic diversification, and 15 million kilos of tomatoes each year. It also saves 15,000 tonnes of CO2emissions per year, and is the largest tomato production in France from non-fossil fuel sources. It received the Minister of Ecology’s “Circular Economy” award in 2013, and is an excellent example of the oil and gas industry:
- Creating new jobs in a new industry
- Making both industries (oil and agriculture) more sustainable, and
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions while increasing economic development.
- Another example is our “Eco-neighborhood” being built in La-Teste, France. This is a 30-year partnership with the city and a local developer to use our recycled geothermal energy to heat 450 apartments. This saves 50% of the heating bill for the residents, and a third of the apartments are reserved for low-income social housing. It also saves 650 tonnes per year of CO2.
- We also support programs and contribute volunteer time to an Early Childhood Development Centre in a rural oil-producing area in Canada that had no such programs before.
- In The Netherlands, our flagship program focuses on a non-profit called JINC, a national program to assist underprivileged children between 8-16 to stay in school and develop their careers. JINC’s motto is “Every child deserves an equal chance to find a job.”
- In France, we are supporting a mentoring program called NQT, designed to provide mentoring and job skill assistance to recent college graduates from modest social environments, particularly in inner-city and poorer rural areas.
Projects such as these are demonstrating that green growth, sustainable growth and inclusive growth go hand-in-hand. They have carbon emissions, developed co-industries that can last for long periods of time, and led to substantial increases in employment, often in under-developed small-town and rural areas.