Holcim Hungária, Hungary: Successful Community Advisory Panel in Hungary.

Holcim Hungária, Hungary: Successful Community Advisory Panel in Hungary

A Community Advisory Panel (CAP) was established in Nyergesújfalu to cooperate with Holcim Hungária in connection with the planned cement plant in the Nyergesújfalu Industrial Park. It is the result of many efforts on the company's part, and it is already proving to be effective.

The goal was to communicate with the local community in view of the construction of the "Pillangó" project, a new cement plant. The independent CAP allowed for local residents to cooperate with Holcim Hungária from the early stages of the project. For the company, it has proved to be a positive experience of cooperation with local communities. The main advantages of the CAP are:

  • to show long-term commitment to involving the local residents in the environment conscious/-friendly operation of the new plant, and a chance to "control, check";
  • to show transparency and openness;
  • to inform the general public about present and future plans;
  • to build a strong, credible supporter base;
  • to engage various stakeholders (different ages, professional background, etc.).

As part of the setting-up process, potential members of the panel were invited to a Holcim cement plant in Germany. After a lengthy process, the CAP was established in mid-2006. The CAP is open to everybody, but the main goal is to involve key professionals, acknowledged civilians, etc. In order to set-up a credible, independent civil organisation, it was essential to have somebody among the members who does not support the new plant project. This person is a doctor from Nyergesújfalu.

After set-up and discussions on cooperation, the agreement was signed by the parties in early March, 2007. From the early stages of the cooperation Holcim Hungária made a point to keep CAP members informed, and the members had first insight into the Detailed Environment Impact Assessment Report.

From a communications standpoint the CAP can be used effectively to show commitment to local communities and environment protection. Although Holcim Hungária tried to motivate CAP members to be more active in public communication and share the results of the cooperation more frequently, it is an area to be developed. With a more open communication it should be possible to recruit more members into the panel.

Holcim Hungária takes this initiative very seriously, and members of the panel have already expressed their opinion, that the cooperation is fair and open, to local journalists.