A special focus was placed on improving labour conditions and minimizing disruption to the local community. In addition, given the area’s cultural significance, a thorough assessment of the work site was carried out. When we found objects of possible historical significance, work was paused so that archaeologists and historians could complete their investigations. The work site was in a remote location, which meant that creating comfortable conditions for the workforce was key to maintaining a positive atmosphere. Boskalis rented and renovated sleeping quarters to make sure accommodation was up to scratch, and we provided daily lunches to all workers on site, including external contractors. This, in addition to the provision of sport facilities and teambuilding activities, put everyone on an equal footing. Ensuring that local communities were disrupted as little as possible was a key priority. Ben Mooibroek notes that it wasn’t always easy: “For instance, large trucks carrying heavy equipment sometimes passed through the local village by mistake, which raised safety concerns and upset local residents.” To resolve this, Boskalis improved road signage, guiding drivers to the work site via the correct routes. “We looked at the situation in its uniqueness, and we came up with a specific plan that considered each party’s needs”, notes Ben. “In this way, we could ensure the project was successful from a social integration perspective, as well as an engineering one.” This tailor-made approach was what set the project apart. “Ultimately, we want our work to benefit the community”, explains Daniël. “Early and frequent engagement is important to establish good relationships and create positive change.” Boskalis implemented a Community Grievance Procedure to deal with any issues, as well as creating a project- specific Community Engagement Policy for employees. This contained guidelines on cultural specificities to consider and recommendations on how to engage with the community in a positive and respectful manner.
For instance, local fishermen were consulted on the project before it began, since our vessels needed to work in waters used by local fishermen. This meant they could share their concerns or specific needs – such as worries about continued access to the port, light pollution, or having to sail further to access their fishing grounds. We also completed several infrastructural improvements that improved access to the facilities, such as renovating the harbor slipway. These actions made our operations more efficient but they will also benefit the community for years to come. “You can’t have a one-size-fits-all plan when you’re dealing with international and long-term projects”, points out Ben. “However, you can approach the project with an open mind-set. In the TurkStream case, we took time to listen to suggestions from the client, the subcontractors and the local community; we didn’t assume that we knew everything from the outset.” This project reinforced how, when we integrate a wider range of perspectives into our approach to social impact, we can optimize our business operations as well as improving local conditions. Ultimately, this resulted in a win-win outcome that shows the value of thoughtful, tailor-made CSR activity.
Engagement with the fishermen led to Boskalis lighting the site access stairs with led strips under the handrail, to ensure safety whilst minimizing light pollution.
Information meetings with local fishermen were held together with our client.