We believe building strong relationships with and supporting the communities in which we live and work is fundamental to our success. We focus on driving community development through local skills training, job creation and targeted community investment. This helps support the long-term growth of our local communities and builds critical relationships and talent pipelines that underpin our business success. We implement a comprehensive approach to community engagement to build respectful, collaborative relationships and respond proactively to our communities’ needs and concerns. We also strive to avoid and minimize any negative impacts on local communities, and address them quickly if they do occur.
Our community work is rooted in relationship building. We align our community investments with local needs to deliver lasting benefits and strengthen connections with our neighbors. We have long focused our community development efforts on building local workforces and supplier bases, which benefits our business as well as our communities.
We invest in opportunities to help local students gain specialized skills and create local jobs. For example, we sponsor apprenticeship programs structured to provide a direct pathway to employment. We also sponsor internships for high school students from underserved Houston communities.
We implement a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)-focused corporate giving strategy to help align our community investments with our overall strategy to advance DEI where we live and work. We also continue to invest in projects and organizations that protect and restore the Gulf Coast ecosystem near our U.S. liquefaction operations and respond to other local needs throughout the year.
Community engagement and impact mitigation
We engage regularly with local community members across the lifecycle of our operations. We focus on building relationships and two-way dialogue with our stakeholders to understand, and then actively address, potential concerns associated with our operations. We have developed and follow location-specific stakeholder engagement plans at each of our LNG facilities.
We consider social risks as part of the permitting process to understand our potential impacts and local community needs before beginning construction and operations of our liquefaction facilities and pipelines, and we update these assessments to stay current with changes and needs in our communities. Our social risk and impact assessment process includes human rights considerations and is guided by international standards including the Equator Principles and the International Finance Corporation’s Environmental and Social Performance Standards.
We have a formal stakeholder feedback mechanism for each of our LNG facilities in Louisiana and Texas and the Midship Pipeline in Oklahoma. These enable community members to provide feedback on our operations by email, toll-free phone numbers, social media and websites.
We respect the rights of Indigenous peoples and recognize the importance of preserving the cultural heritage of Indigenous communities and lands of historic tribal importance in proximity to our operations. Our operations in Texas and Louisiana are not located on or near designated Native American lands, and none of our operations have caused resettlement of Indigenous peoples.
Our vice president of state and local government and community affairs provides executive oversight and leadership on our stakeholder engagement, community investments, corporate giving and volunteer efforts. This team provides periodic updates to the CEO, members of senior management and the board at least annually. Board members receive updates on a range of community issues including social risk assessments, community feedback received and community investments.
Our stakeholder engagement approach focuses on listening to and engaging with local stakeholders regularly from early project development through all phases of permitting, construction and operations. We work with numerous stakeholder groups including residents, landowners, elected officials, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, civic groups, first responders, local media, indigenous peoples and other community leaders.
We empower our site managers to serve as the primary engagement leads in our communities. This helps break down the barriers of single-point communication, guiding and empowering experts and senior leaders within our facility to engage with their counterparts outside of our fence line.
In 2021, we continued to advance our overarching framework and goals for our community engagement and investment activities to help organize the investments currently conducted and provide data-based guidance for future performance. This framework helps to formalize our approach to many important community engagement issues including engagement with Indigenous communities.
We have a formal stakeholder feedback mechanism for each of our LNG facilities. These enable community members to provide feedback on our operations by email, toll-free phone numbers and other venues. Once received, we follow a formal process to collect, record, investigate and respond to issues. This includes the following steps:
- Formally register the communication in our tracking system.
- Assign assessment and follow up to relevant personnel and notify senior management immediately if necessary.
- Acknowledge receipt with the stakeholder within 72 hours.
- Conduct investigation and, if needed, escalate the issue to senior management. The public affairs manager monitors progress and ensures compliance during the investigation process.
- Communicate a proposed resolution to the stakeholder and seek feedback as needed. We incorporate feedback and ensure implementation of the resolution.
In 2018, we established a formal CAP representing residents from communities near our Corpus Christi facility. This was created to facilitate the ability of stakeholders to ask questions and share feedback and suggestions with site leaders from the facility. It also provides a forum for Cheniere to present information on current and upcoming activities that have the potential to impact the community. In 2021, we helped form a regional CAP in response to the positive community and industry feedback we received about the Cheniere-specific group. This new CAP includes community members and representatives from other regional facilities and aims to help members understand and address the cumulative impacts and opportunities of our combined operations on the nearby communities. We participate in a similar forum that meets quarterly to engage with community leaders at our Sabine Pass facility.