Corporate Social Responsibility
Our responsibility to the nation.
As a responsible state entity and a good corporate citizen, NGC takes CSR very seriously. In fact, it is part of our Core Values as a company. We strive to be a leader and innovator in the field of CSR and believe in adding value to Trinidad and Tobago in a way that builds stakeholder and shareholder value. Our support ranges from developing programmes to partnering with and sponsoring the initiatives of hundreds of non-governmental and community-based organisations through grants and contributions.
While our CSR portfolio of investments is extensive, we focus on the areas of:
- Arts and Culture
- Empowerment and Youth Development
- Environmental Preservation
In addition to developing programmes, we also make contributions and/or grants to support a wide range of initiatives. We consider all applications for contributions which we receive and use a rigorous screening process to help us evaluate and select beneficiaries. This process takes into account factors such as project sustainability, employee involvement, level of risk to NGC, level of positive impact on society, and relevance to established needs.
Further value is added through our Employee Volunteerism Programme which encourages employees to contribute their time and effort to the support of CSR programmes. In this way, employees become involved in our mission to enrich the nation and they increase the value of their generous actions by encouraging their families and co-workers to participate as well. There is more. Employees also take part in NGC’s public education and natural gas literacy programmes and are trained to become NGC Ambassadors or volunteers who give of their time and talents to assist.
Our CSR Principles
Our CSR Philosophy commits us to:
- being a leader and innovator in the field of CSR
- creating shared value for our company and our multiple stakeholders
- exercising responsible stewardship for the benefit of the people of Trinidad & Tobago
- supporting initiatives which preserve the national identity and heritage
- adopting a stakeholder approach to all CSR activities
- ensuring transparency and equity in our CSR approach and in the execution of all CSR projects
- seeking to be sustainable in the way our daily operations are conducted and in the social interventions we develop, implement and support
Arts and Culture
A shared national identity and solid compatriot bonds are important for building strong nations, and for that reason, NGC gives cultural and communal activities direct investment attention. This involves support of impactful arts and culture performance groups and initiatives, as well as the restoration and preservation of public spaces that accommodate communal pursuits.
Steelbands in our fenceline communities
NGC’s focus on the national instrument is one of over two decades’ standing. Our support of the Pan goes beyond infusions of capital – we seek to build the capacity and marketability of the steelbands we assist in an effort to secure the future of the instrument.
NGC currently sponsors three steelbands, namely NGC La Brea Nightingales, NGC Couva Joylanders and NGC Steel Xplosion in Tobago, which are based in communities where we operate.
NGC’s sponsorship of the bands is structured to ensure sustainability. It includes a wealth generation fund to support commercial ventures that generate revenue for the band; capacity-building funds to provide training for the management of the band with the aim of increasing operational efficiency; and music literacy funds, to be used to train the band members in the reading of sheet music. NGC funding has also been used to support these bands in their preparation for and performances at Panorama and other national steelband competitions, where they continue to grow in profile and achievement.
The San Fernando Junior Arts Festival (NGC Sanfest)
The NGC Sanfest seeks to empower young people through avenues of artistic expression. The festival pivots around visual, literary and performing arts, and is open to primary and secondary schools. NGC Sanfest is a perfect springboard for young performers and an incubator for the future of the arts in Trinidad and Tobago. Over the years, some of this country’s best-known artistes and role models first experienced the big stage and the demands of tough competition as participants in the NGC Sanfest Junior Arts Festival.
In recognition of the need to preserve this pillar of our cultural landscape, NGC not only gives its monetary support, but assists the organisers in attracting audiences through professional
media and promotional campaigns and special audience prizes. Through the Company’s volunteerism programme, NGC encourages employees to get involved in the coordination of the festival.
The NGC Bocas Lit Fest
The NGC Bocas Lit Fest, which was launched in 2011, brings together writers and readers from Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean. It consists of a week of readings, performances, workshops, discussions, film screenings and other events and has four instalments throughout the year, including a Children’s Bocas Lit Fest, San Fernando and Tobago editions. The festival has turned the page for many of our local and regional authors by aggressively marketing our Caribbean literature to both domestic and international audiences with great success.
NGC became title sponsor of the festival in 2012. Since then, NGC has not only supported through funding, but NGC’s employees have given of their time to assist organisers in coordinating the various festival events. Our support of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest stems from an appreciation of its diligence in service of literature and Caribbean authorship, and its stunning growth and achievement these past few years.
Tassa drumming is a legacy of our East Indian heritage. In an effort to support both the preservation of traditional tassa and innovation in the art form, NGC sponsors the Trinidad and Tobago Sweet Tassa Enterprises and the crossover band Bao Simba Entertainers of Tobago. As with our sponsored steelbands, NGC gives financial support to the tassa bands, assists with wealth generation initiatives, and provides training to equip participants to run successful businesses and remain competitive in an aggressive industry.
Track and Field
NGC Right on Track
Developed over a decade ago with the guidance of Olympic Gold Medallist Hasely Crawford TC, the NGC Right On Track Development Programme teaches skills in both Track and Field and Basketball to children at the primary and secondary school levels, via its roving Coaching Caravan.
Through this initiative, NGC provides practical instruction to young persons, aged five to 18, from schools and communities across Trinidad and Tobago, as well as critical training for coaches to promote sustainability and build capacity in these sporting disciplines.
Since its inception in 1999, the NGC Right on Track Development Programme has benefited more than 20,000 participants in 105 communities and eight institutions; it has trained almost 100 coaches and it has formed and/or restored seven athletic clubs.
Recognising the importance of nurturing sporting talent and encouraging aspirations from a tender age, NGC has for many years been supporting the Primary Schools Track and Field Games in the Moruga Zone and in the St. Patrick and Caroni Education Districts. The Caroni Education District Games are in fact the most long-standing recipient of NGC’s sponsorship. These Games not only provide productive outlets for youthful energies and extra-curricular lessons in discipline and fair play, but critically, they expose the budding talent of these young citizens/athletes and introduce potential athletic stars.
National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA)
At the professional level, we partner with the National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) to help build the capacity of and industry around Track and Field. Our investment is used to foster the improvement of governance and operational effectiveness of the organisation by supporting its development programmes for coaches, volunteers and elite high-performance athletes.
NGC is also a proud sponsor of the NAAA Championship Month: an annual season of competition which sees our nation’s top young athletes – juniors, juveniles and seniors – compete at the national level. These games have provided an indispensable platform for exposure and growth, as they have fielded athletes who have gone on to excel in national colours on the regional and international stages.
Partnerships with The University of the West Indies (UWI)
NGC has actively engaged with The University of the West Indies (UWI) since 1994, through our sponsorship of the Eric Williams Memorial Collection, support of the Institute of Engineering, grants for BSc students in the Petroleum Geoscience Programme, contributions to the university’s Graduate and Research Fund, as well as its Development and Endowment Fund and sponsorship of several Conferences on the Economy. In 2012, NGC strengthened its commitment to investing in research through its sponsorship of The UWI Research Awards, Research Forum, Research Expo and a Chair in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Most recently, NGC has committed to support the University’s Trevor Boopsingh Energy Research Endowment, which was launched in 2011 to provide scholarships for students in the Petroleum Engineering Programme.
Special Schools Projects
In order to produce a cadre of professional, motivated, tertiary level students, primary and secondary schools must be properly outfitted to inculcate a culture of and passion for learning. These schools always have special infrastructure and equipment needs, and NGC has set aside part of its CSR budget to help address those needs. Over the years, NGC has facilitated requests for funding to implement literacy programmes, purchase furniture, library and office equipment, carry out minor infrastructure repairs or to implement agricultural projects which are used to raise funds.
Though all schools are deserving candidates for support, NGC allots assistance based on our assessment of the scope of the project, the school population, the location of the schools in
relation to NGC’s pipeline network, access that the schools may have to corporate funding, the level of parent/teacher involvement or potential for engagement of NGC staff through employee volunteerism.
Building Natural Gas Literacy
NGC helps students of all ages improve their understanding of the energy sector via several platforms. At the primary school level, NGC introduced two mascots, Monkey and Iguana, to aid educators in increasing knowledge about natural gas and its role in the country. Teachers were given a variety of teaching aids such as posters, booklets, exercises and actual puppets of the mascots to help them build natural gas literacy on their own. To complement these resources, NGC hosts an award-winning Education Centre on its website, where both primary and secondary school students and teachers can access additional content, games and experiments.
For students at tertiary level institutions, NGC has hosted, in conjunction with the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), free natural gas workshops which provide valuable insights into the Company’s business and operations, and the gas-based energy sector as a whole.
Throughout the year, NGC facilitates school visits at its headquarters. These allow primary, secondary and even tertiary level students to experience presentations on NGC’s role, its business, its product and safety. NGC also arranges tours of the Point Lisas Industrial Estate for the visiting students.
Empowerment and Youth Development
Community Awareness and Emergency Response (CAER) and Community Emergency Response Training (CERT)
The Community Awareness and Emergency Response (CAER) programme was initiated in 2008 and focuses on communities in proximity to NGC’s critical gas infrastructure. CAER educates adults and schoolchildren in those communities about the risks of natural gas, mitigation measures and appropriate responses to an emergency. Activities under this programme include emergency response training for volunteers, the supply of emergency equipment and educational visits to schools.
As part of the CAER programme, NGC partners with Regional Corporations and Disaster Management Teams to build a team of first responders to treat with potential crises through Community Emergency Response Training (CERT). Volunteers who reside in the impact neighbourhoods are given training in firefighting, first aid, CPR and search and rescue. Schools are also provided with safety drill training and safety equipment such as fire extinguishers.
Habitat for Humanity Trinidad and Tobago (HFHTT)
Habitat for Humanity Trinidad and Tobago (HFHTT) began operations in 1997 with a vision to help secure decent and affordable housing for impoverished families across the country. Since its inception, HFHTT has worked with vulnerable households on housing solutions, training initiatives, and disaster risk-reduction programmes.
In 2005, as part of our 30th anniversary portfolio of corporate giving, and having first-hand knowledge of the needs of many of the residents from our fence line communities who were in most urgent need of a basic human right (decent shelter), NGC sought a five-year partnership with the organisation to provide homes for members of those communities.
In 2012 and 2013, NGC partnered with HFHTT to construct three homes for families using the support and skills of NGC’s employees in the build, painting and installation of electricals. In
2014, NGC entered into a third partnership with HFHTT to give $1 million per year for three years to assist over 30 families with securing home and shelter.
Police Youth Clubs
Police Youth Clubs (PYCs) were established by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service in 1974 to provide young people between the ages of five to 25 with avenues to access social and community work, sports, cultural activities, education and character development.
Currently, NGC sponsors the La Brea, Couva, Penal and Laventille Road and Mayaro / Guayaguayare PYCs, selected on the basis of their proximity to major NGC installations, prior relationship with the Company, and the socioeconomic backgrounds of the communities. In addition to supporting the PYCs’ regular activities, we collaborate with our sponsored steelbands – the NGC Couva Joylanders and NGC La Brea Nightingales – to enhance the music literacy of the club members, and with the TTCB to hold cricket camps. We also facilitate personal development training in conflict resolution, communication and etiquette skills, and sponsor vacation camps and field trips that help children fill long school breaks with productive activities.
In a bid to ensure these clubs remain sustainable, NGC has also sponsored capacity-building workshops for their leadership and executive teams.
Community Cricket and Community Football
NGC has partnered with various community organisations over the years to host cricket and football competitions in their areas. These events allow NGC to build relationships all over Trinidad and Tobago, and are important for nurturing rapport amongst participating villages. They also create a platform for the exposure of young sporting talent. On another important level, the various tournaments stimulate grassroots business by providing opportunities for sale of related goods and services, and generate use of grounds and community centres, some of which have been restored with NGC’s assistance.
In recognition of the importance of sustainable development, NGC makes all business decisions with the sensitivity of the natural environment in mind. This includes the choice of minimally disruptive routes for pipelines or the use of Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) to avoid cutting across natural habitat surfaces. Additionally, guided by a no net loss principle, we have committed funds to a reforestation programme to replenish areas cleared during pipeline construction activities.
Our large-scale, tree-planting exercise was launched in 2005. For more than a decade, we partnered with community groups and with the Forestry Division to put some 315 hectares of degraded forest lands back under leaf and bark. The objective is to restore a dense, mixed-species tree canopy back to the southern watershed, which would serve as a habitat for wildlife
preserve soil and reduce the incidence of bush fires. Adjunct to these benefits are the education of the rural community on how to take care of the youthful forest, and the generation of short-term employment for some in these communities.
Trees planted include apamate (pink poui), teak, cedar and mahogany. The programme has been extremely successful and always exceeds the 80% benchmark survival rate established by the Forestry Division.
The NGC Reforestation Programme is supported by the physical input of the respective communities and their deep knowledge of their own surroundings. Both men and women partner with the experienced foresters of the Forestry Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries and share their knowledge of the often highly uneven terrain so that planting activities can be executed safely and effectively.