Libya communications conferred PR Report Award
The comprehensive communications provided by BASF subsidiary Wintershall during the Arab Spring and in the subsequent period in its partner country Libya have now been honoured with this year’s PR Report Award in Berlin as the best in the category “Issue and Crisis Communication”.
The renowned industry competition thus acknowledged the work of the Corporate Communications department, whose work in the North African country specifically combined external and internal communications, political communications, stakeholder management and CSR.
Wintershall, Germany’s leading internationally active crude oil and natural gas producer, has been active in Libya for more than 50 years. When the uprising began, the employees at Wintershall Libya were placed in grave danger. Furthermore, the company was facing economic disaster – particularly given Germany’s abstention from the Libyan Resolution passed by the World Security Council.
“We provided our colleagues in Libya with rapid and targeted help,” says Michael Sasse, Head of Corporate Communications at Wintershall. “But that’s not all. We also took on responsibility through our humanitarian help and, last but not least, we have established a firm footing in the new Libya through our successful communications. We’re absolutely delighted that the judging panel for the PR Report Awards has honoured the work of our team.” They have already won the International German PR Award, which is conferred by the German Public Relations Association (DGRG), and the European Excellence Award.
As soon as fighting broke out in February 2011, Wintershall not only set up a crisis team and a hotline for employees and relatives but also launched comprehensive aid measures. For example, the Kassel-based company provided immediate help for the Red Crescent, the International Red Cross and the children’s charity, Save the Children, and also established an airlift to enable seriously injured war casualties to be treated in Germany. Wintershall employees around the world were kept fully up to date with special pages on the Intranet and in the staff magazine.
In particular, the internal communications enhanced the motivation and identification with the company. This enabled, for example, the oil production in the desert to be restarted again as soon as the fighting ceased in October 2011. In addition, the media analysis has shown that Wintershall has also been able to position itself as a close partner of Libya in the external communications.
The commitment is being continued – to stabilise the energy supplies, to act as a trailblazer for technology and environmental protection, and to provide humanitarian, charitable and social aid in the country. Together with the language centre belonging to the Goethe Institute, Wintershall Libya is currently supporting the exhibition project “Freedom Means Responsibility”, in which young Libyan photographers and reports portray civil society initiatives. Wintershall’s Libyan employee’s also have their sights firmly set on the future of their country: at their initiative and thanks to generous donations, Wintershall managed to open a new child care centre in Omm el-Jersan near Yefren in November 2012.