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Materiality Interview Series – Valeria Santos, Sustainability Manager at Pacific Rubiales

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Materiality Interview Series – Valeria Santos, Sustainability Manager at Pacific Rubiales

This post is the fifth of our Materiality Interview Series, dedicated at understanding how Sustainability Managers of key industry companies are assessing their materiality. This series is part of a more global materiality study, published through a free-ebook and an article summary in TriplePundit.

This week, we are proud to welcome Valeria Santos, Sustainability Manager at Pacific Rubiales, a major energy company in Colombia.


Q: Hi Valeria! What exactly do you do at Pacific Rubiales? What are your missions as a Sustainability Manager ?

A: Through my leadership, the company has published three corporate sustainability reports, including two G3.1 reports which reached the highest  score (A+), and one G4 which obtained the GRI Materiality Check. Under my management, the sustainability department led the entrance of Pacific Rubiales into the DJSI North America in 2013 in its first try. Additionally, I have implemented CSR, Environmental and shared value projects that have generated a positive impact within Pacific’s areas of influence and contributed to the reduction of Colombia’s extreme poverty targets. My work in this department has granted Pacific Rubiales prizes and recognitions that have put the company in the world spotlight. Most recently, World Finance, a London firm, recognized Pacific Rubiales as the most sustainable Oil and Gas company in Latin America.

My mission as a Sustainability Manager is to guarantee that the company has among its objectives to conduct a responsible business that adds value to its surroundings while growing the business. My goal is to set up the conditions that allow our strategic intention to materialize: Pacific Rubiales will be the first privately owned Oil Company in Latin America in terms of reserves, production, and generation of value. It will be amongst the most recognized for its contribution to the sustainable development of its surroundings.


How long has your company been publishing Sustainability reports? And conducting a materiality analysis?

Pacific has been publishing Sustainability Reports for 4 years following the GRI methodology. Our reports have received A+ rating in the GRI 3 and 3.1 versions and the Materiality Check for the latest 2013 report. Each of these reports has its specific materiality analysis however 2012 and 2013 represent the most comprehensive materiality exercises done in our company.


Your last report (published in 2014) is one of the few GRI-G4 reports in your industry. How did you get your hands on this new framework?

Pacific is a modern company, always at the forefront of sustainability practices. When we found out about the changes in GRI methodology, my team and I took a course dictated by Price Waterhouse Coopers to get a handle on the concepts and analysis we would have to implement during the following reporting cycle. Since our materiality analysis had been done following strict methodologies in the previous years, we were able to comply with what we considered to be the fundamental change between 3.1 and 4, and reported only what was material to your organization.


What tools were you using in the process of creating your Sustainability report?

For the past four years we have been gathering information through specific Excel formats. However we are in the process of implementing a software that will allow us to accomplish the following:

  1. Optimize the collection, consolidation, management and reporting of information related to Pacific´s stakeholders.
  2. Provide tools for managing sustainability commitments through the display performance indicators and impact.
  3. Provide tools to monitor the impact of operations on the territory associated with the assets.

All of this will help us have a narrower vision over all our work including a vision per field and even in the supply chain, allowing our report to have real time information and for us to explore new possibilities of interaction with our stakeholders besides the annual report.


Was your company used to conduct stakeholders engagement and materiality analysis processes?

As mentioned before, our company has been conducting materiality analysis for the past 4 years. Stakeholder engagement has also been a permanent practice of the company since its creation in 2008.


What was your main materiality sources?

Our main sources of information are the dialogue tables that we have set up in our main region of operation, in which we discuss different topics of interest with several of our stakeholders. We also look at metrics and questionnaires that we conduct on a yearly basis for each stakeholder group to understand how they view our level of commitment with the sustainability model. The issues that we report on come from these analysis. Finally, we take into account the different reporting channels and the recurrent topics that come up in conversations with our peers on the field.



What are your key material aspects? How different are they from your industry peers and competitors?

Our material aspects can be discovered in our Sustainability Report (page 56-57) or directly through the Publisher Materiality e-book (screenshot below).


16-12-2014 17-45-56
Although they are somewhat similar to peers and competitors because our sustainability model was built taking the industry´s best practices and standards into account, we found some issues that were more relevant in our countries of operation.


What type of design did you choose to illustrate your materiality matrix? Why?

We chose the graph above to show the exact level of importance that each of our 33 issues represents for the company and for its stakeholders. It is easy to read and identify each issue.


What was your biggest challenge when working on your Sustainability report? How did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge with a report is convincing people within the company to report their performance in a timely manner and to make them understand the value in communicating performance to our stakeholders in a transparent manner. We have definitely overcome this. Today, we even have a joint report putting financial and operational information at the same level of importance than sustainability performance.


To conclude, what makes a good Sustainability Report and Stakeholder Engagement process in your view?

A good sustainability report is one that truly answers stakeholder concerns and that promotes a transparent and open dialogue between the company and the actors that are impacted by its actions. On our website you can find a copy of our stakeholder engagement policy in which we enumerate how we see stakeholder engagement processes and what makes them successful.


We greatly thank Valeria for this awesome testimonial! Interested in learning more about Materiality? Download our free benchmarking e-book here!

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