Big impact on small communities is our corporate opportunity

03.07.2014 | news

SVP corporate communication Bente E. Engesland visiting Kizitepe, one of the villages in the impact area.

SVP corporate communication Bente E. Engesland visiting Kizitepe, one of the villages in the impact area of Kargi hydropower plant.

Corporate Responsibility is often seen as a duty, an obligation that companies need to comply with. I like to think of it also as a corporate opportunity. Acting responsible in the socities we operate offers a great many opportunities to understand the challenges on the ground and to perform better.

Recently I had the pleasure of experiencing corporate responsibility in action during a visit to the little village of Kiziltepe at Kargi in Turkey. I will never forget the warm-hearted meeting with Satimilis Bardak, the Muhtar (Village head) and his men. He spoke openly about his expectations of Statkraft. He was also visibly pleased that the company cares – more than just about the financial compensation for the loss of land and the support for new agricultural projects. Bardak already knows Emre Erdogan, project leader, and Isil Onan, head of Corporate Responsibility. In fact, he knows them well. They listen and understand, the drink numerous cups of tea, they spend a lot of time together.

Building trust

Statkraft’ construction of the Kargi hydropower plant in Turkey is well underway and will be completed early 2015. For the efficient management of social and environmental impact associated with the project, Kargi Hydropower Project pays great attention to build and sustain good relations with local communities. The most critical negative impact of the Kargi Project is on the livelihoods impacted communities. For the construction of the Project, more than 3 million square meters of agricultural land has been expropriated. To overcome the anticipated losses in average household incomes, efforts have been in place during the last three years for income restoration via supporting new modern intensified agricultural initiatives that are less water requiring. Starting with two demonstration gardens, the Agricultural Development Support Program has now dozens of beneficiary households.

Statkraft is engaged in many major development projects around the world aimed to provide a great number of people with clean energy.  However, we are aware that in doing so we also intervene in nature and the local societies – in the ways which changes the settled way of living.

While the construction workers will move once the plant has been completed, the local people will remain. Therefore it is very important that the local community is on board and feels a sense of ownership over our power plants. Naturally, it is not an easy task.

Sustainable growth

It feels good to be a part of journey to Anatolia. To see that a small community in these mountain plains can enjoy sustainable economic growth. Around 150.000 households will get electricity from Kargi when the plant opens next year. This is of great value and even more will benefit from our hydropower projects in the years to come. Statkraft’s business is growing in a country with rising energy demand.

Statkraft’s corporate responsibility report states that we shall; “deliver electricity based on environmentally friendly energy sources, use sustainable and efficient production methods and demonstrate responsible and ethical market behavior”.

So this is why we not only have a responsibility but also a significant opportunity. “Corporate Responsibility” is really “Corporate Opportunity”. We are part of something greater. 

Bente E. Engesland
Senior Vice President Corporate Communication