Gran Tierra Energy’s operating philosophy, Beyond Compliance, influences the decisions we make regarding how we meet our commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility. Beyond Compliance means that whenever possible Gran Tierra voluntarily goes beyond what is legally required to care for the environment and undertake respectful engagement with local communities.

NaturAmazonas: Gran Tierra’s Largest Environmental Initiative

NaturAmazonas, Colombia’s signature reforestation and conservation project, made progress on multiple fronts in 2018. A year earlier, Gran Tierra entered into a partnership with the NGO Conservation International and committed to contributing $32 billion COP over five years to a large scale reforestation and conservation project in the Putumayo.

The project is a key component of the company’s efforts to utilize, to help restore and protect the Andes-Amazon corridor, one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. One of the project’s major goals is to reforest 1,000 hectares. It is expected that the actions developed by NaturAmazonas will contribute to reducing deforestation in the Amazonian foothills by at least 20% by 2021.

A very important factor in NaturAmazonas’ success is in helping people understand how sustainable forest practices can help increase their standards of living. To maximize its benefits for local communities in the Putumayo, the project focuses on four initiatives: Socioeconomic Activities, Sustainable Production, Knowledge Generation and Inter-Agency Coordination.


  • 200 families will be trained and hired to collect and prepare botanical specimens
  • 500+ local families will benefit from establishing sustainable food projects
  • 150 people will be trained in tree nursery techniques
  • 500 people will be trained and certified breeding native bees and producing honey

NaturAmazonas 2018 Accomplishments

  • Efficient Stoves: As part of this project, an innovative wood-fired stove was developed for use in rural areas without reliable access to electricity. In these areas, trees are frequently cut down for household heating, cooking and lighting. The stoves, which are portable, are 60% more efficient than open wood burning with less emissions. The latest version also generates a steady three volt current which can charge mobile phones and power 10 lights for three hours – a significant benefit for these communities. More than 100 families have received these stoves to date. The project is now looking at how to scale up the distribution of the stoves.
  • Beekeeping: This is an example of how people can generate more income while restoring forest land. Honey production can be a lucrative endeavour, and with over 13 species of productive bees, numerous varieties or blends of high quality food or medicinal honeys are being produced. The association of beekeepers grew significantly in 2018, with 150 current members having been trained and certified, and 200 waiting to join. Participants are selected based on the optimal distribution of bees and trees for future reforestation. The beekeepers have planted over 30,000 trees on over 30 hectares in 2018 alone.
  • Five Botanical Knowledge Expeditions: Forty-eight local residents participated in the collection and categorization of over 10,000 plants.

For more information please click here.

Costayaco Forestry Center: A Unique Resource For Reforestation

The Costayaco Forestry Center (CFC) was established by Gran Tierra in 2010 in coordination with the regional environmental regulator, CORPOAMAZONIA, to produce seedlings for reforestation of nearby forest areas. It has grown into one of the most innovative reforestation efforts in South America and has been very successful in the strategically important area between a heavily forested national park and areas where economic activities like cattle farming have degraded some of the Amazon rainforest. One of the keys to the Forestry Center’s effectiveness is that it helps facilitate concentrated reforestation in degraded areas, rebuilding critical corridors for flora and fauna.

While the Center is a vehicle for fulfilling some of GTE’s compliance requirements to offset both the loss of trees removed for construction of GTE facilities and the use of water in the company’s operations, the Forestry Center’s voluntary activities are also an example of the company’s commitment to go Beyond Compliance.

The Costayaco Forestry Center spans a total of 212.6 ha and with more planned, the Center has grown large enough to become a habitat for animals that would otherwise be in danger. On any given day, hundreds of birds and thousands of butterflies can be seen throughout the area. In addition, two releases of animals – 10 owls and 24 turtles – were made by CORPOAMAZONIA in 2018, adding to the release of animals made in prior years.

The Center also serves as a vital link to nearby communities. In 2018, community groups made 21 visits to learn about GTE as well as the importance of protecting the environment and the reforestation efforts taking place in the area. The Center is working with local schools to catalyse environmental awareness at an early age. In 2018, the Center donated to communities 10,440 trees produced in its nursery.

In the beginning the community thought we were just another oil company with our own objectives. But they have seen our commitment to the restoration of these areas. You only have to look around now to see the results of all these years of hard work. Along with our other efforts, we are showing that hydrocarbon extraction is possible while being environmentally friendly.

VICTOR LINARES, Director, Costayaco Forestry Center, GTE
  • 58,767 trees have been planted at the Costayaco Forestry Center

  • The birth of a “Tigrillo” (Leopardus tigrinus) kitten on the Center’s land indicates that its location and size has created an area where new species can be accepted.

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Improving Life in Post-Conflict Zones

In November 2017, Gran Tierra signed a collaboration agreement with the National Cacao Growers Federation, or FEDECACAO, to establish four cacao (the seeds from which chocolate is made) nurseries in areas affected by the armed conflict. The priority is to start economically productive projects that will improve the quality of life for citizens who live in post-conflict zones. As part of the agreement, GTE will contribute $2,116,307,372 Colombian pesos to upgrade and strengthen cacao development in these regions. The objective is two-fold: to help the reintegration process by getting former guerillas to become involved in making and maintaining the nurseries and to help farmers who grew illicit crops learn how to cultivate cacao, a financially viable substitute.

Two nurseries will be located in the town of Puerto Asís, Department of Putumayo, and two in the town of Uribe, Department of Meta, areas that do not have the resources needed to sustain legal production systems. The government is working on infrastructure like roads, power, and communications to address the situation holistically.

Fundación Nacional Batuta

Since 2015 Gran Tierra has been financially supporting an innovative music education program focused on developing social learning and musical skills of young children, which is run by the renowned National Batuta Foundation. The program was launched over 20 years ago to address the weakening of the social and cultural fabric caused by decades of conflict, criminality and political division. These factors resulted in massive displacement of youth from their homes, intense poverty and other burdens on young people.

Using music as a tool for social reconstruction, the Foundation encourages active participation in society while strengthening social integration and cultural diversity.

In Puerto Limón, several kilometres downriver from Gran Tierra’s operations at Costayaco and Moqueta, students up to the 9th grade from several schools gather for classes at the community centre after school several times each week.

The Centre has had a positive impact on the local community, welcoming 170 children and adolescents to the music centre in 2019, along with providing jobs for musical instrument craftsmen and music teachers. Educators from schools in the area are attributing the improvement of student memorization, increased attention spans, and improved learning in other school subjects to the activities and programs that students participate in at the Fundación Nacional Batuta.

Emprender Paga

Throughout 2018, Gran Tierra focused on combining different social investment programs in the Middle Magdalena Valley (Encontrándo Líderes) and Putumayo (Creando Oportunidades) near where GTE operates to establish a single project, Emprender Paga. The new program has become one of Gran Tierra’s main social investment projects by fostering local business development through entrepreneurship and self-employment.

This initiative was created in response to the desire of communities to recover from economic stagnation and to adopt a sustainable development strategy by rebuilding the productive capacity of their territory. Through a combination of classroom learning and hands-on experience, Emprender Paga is an education and business development program that empowers individuals, associations and community groups to develop a vision; gain confidence in their abilities; create business plans; build a team; collaborate effectively and grow successful businesses. Emprender Paga is intended not only to foster economic growth, but it also promotes strengthening values like inclusion, lawfulness and solidarity among participants.

The program supported entrepreneurship and leadership in communities close to GTE’s operations in the Middle Magdalena Valley. In 2018, 1,216 beneficiaries participated, generating 304 local businesses.

For more information please click here.

PetrolCopa School Challenge

In August 2018, a partnership between Gran Tierra and the Colombian chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) launched the PetrolCopa School Challenge. The competition, focused on protecting and preserving natural sources of water, was conducted by volunteers from SPE and GTE in Putumayo, Cauca and Cesar departments, the areas where GTE’s main operations are located.

1,066 students age 16 to 18 from 22 secondary schools participated in the challenge. Students were encouraged to go into their communities and identify water-related problems and to develop solutions.

Four to five member student teams collaborated on a project and were supported by a mentor as they researched and advanced their projects over eight weeks. The best one from each school qualified for the broader competition which judged these projects on presentation, innovation, technical understanding and other factors.

Winners received personal items such as laptops as well as monetary awards for improvements to their schools.The top three projects, selected by the students themselves, received personal items such as laptops as well as 12M, 8M, 4M pesos for improvements to their schools.

When we heard about PetrolCopa, we were excited because it had to do with the preservation of natural resources. It is a huge initiative because the students get to go beyond the theory and put their projects into practice. We want to express our gratitude for this novel program that strengthens interest in learning among students and teachers.

ALVARO HERMAN APRAEZ YELA, Director of the Institution Educativa Amazonica, a public school in Puerto Guzmán

People began to believe in this PetrolCopa when the students told us about what they were learning, and we realized the program was well organized and meeting its promises.

OLGA LUCIA PLATA, English teacher, San Martín

Rigorous Planning to Protect the Environment

Gran Tierra performs rigorous environmental impact assessments of its proposed projects.

An important part of GTE’s approach is being transparent about environmental practices, inviting communities to witness its activities and dispelling myths. The goal is to show communities what the company is doing, rather than just talking about it. If you are interested in visiting us please contact us at:

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Protecting Colombia’s Water

Gran Tierra believes that the protection of freshwater is an essential part of responsible oil and gas exploration and production. The company is committed to ensure that its operations do not have an impact on groundwater and aquifers. Independent monitoring and testing has confirmed that Gran Tierra has fully safeguarded groundwater quality throughout its history of drilling operations in Colombia.

For more information please click here.

Inviting Communities to Participate in Water Monitoring

Gran Tierra regularly monitors and analyzes surface and groundwater using an external lab certified by government authorities. GTE stands by these results and will fund additional independent studies of the water if the communities wanted to hire their own laboratory (as long as it is certified by Colombian regulators). GTE then takes its own samples and compares them with the communities’ sample and shows the results at a community meeting.

For more information please click here.

Encouraging and Enabling Local Suppliers

As Gran Tierra increases its field operations, economic benefits flowing to local businesses and communities are also growing. GTE’s Fair Bidding Process and other procurement procedures are designed to maximize opportunities for local and regional communities.

Gran Tierra is committed to:

  • Comply with all national laws.
  • Share the same information with all potential bidders, including strong tender documents and clear and fair rules about the proposal process.
  • GTE will inform each vendor about the results of the bidding process, and bidders can request additional information to help them understand what they need to do to improve their chances in the future.

For more information please click here.

Mocoa Relief Effort

In August 2018, Mocoa was again affected by heavy rain and flooding which displaced many families and compromised the infrastructure around Mocoa and Villagarzón. Gran Tierra responded quickly by providing emergency relief, flood mitigation and rebuilding projects with commitments totaling over USD$62,000. Gran Tierra distributed over USD$45,000 in emergency relief support and undertook the following actions:

  • Provided materials to repair the Villagarzón aqueduct, this repair benefited 10,914 people.
  • Provided equipment and gravel to fix an emergency exit road, this repair benefited 1,800 people.
  • Provided clean drinking water.
  • Provided emergency kits to 30 communities in Mocoa.
  • Supplied 169 elementary students with school kits so they could continue to attend school.
  • Plotted all related maps for the Mocoa Risk Committee & CORPORAMAZONIA so they could better understand the effects of flooding.

In the longer term, Gran Tierra continues to provide support through a commitment of USD$17,586 to help families as they rebuild. Gran Tierra is undertaking this project alongside Vetra who has pledged USD$10,345 and the Mayor of Mocoa. Through this project 48 Mocoa residents will see their homes restored.

Gran Tierra Energy is committed to helping our neighbouring communities by providing the necessary support needed in times of crisis.

Heavy rain during the early morning of April 1, 2017 caused catastrophic flooding and mudslides in Mocoa, the regional capital of the Putumayo Department, resulting in the tragic loss of over 300 lives and major damage to the city’s infrastructure.

Immediately starting on April 1, 2017, Gran Tierra provided assistance to the disaster recovery and relief efforts. Our initial focus was to assist the Government and rescue teams. We delivered over 20 tons of food and water and more than 5 tons of goods and basic necessities to the impacted areas. Gran Tierra also provided equipment, civil works and infrastructure to help with the re-opening of roads and assisted in the reconstruction of bridges to allow the entry of humanitarian aid to Mocoa. Gran Tierra also provided electricity to the regional hospital and the Mocoa mayor's office building, as well as transported a water treatment plant from Bogotá to Mocoa. We cooperated and coordinated with the national and regional Governments to implement infrastructure projects to support Mocoa’s recovery.

Gran Tierra Energy, along with our partners, responded to the crisis and supported the immediate recovery in the following ways:

  • Contributed more of 5 tons of goods and basic necessities.
  • Provided 90 feeding kits and 3,000 liters of bottled water.
  • Provided remittances for 25 families (10 people per family) for 5 days.
  • Provided 4 deliveries of household supplies including: sheets, blankets, emergency tents and mattresses.
  • Employees collected and donated 25 boxes of clothes and non-perishable food.
  • Supplied 120,000 gallons of water daily for the hospital and neighborhoods.
  • Supplied more than 4,000 gallons of fuel for airport support, power plants and to operate the machinery for road improvement.
  • Contributed electricity to the Hospital and to the Mocoa Mayor's Office building.
  • Assisted in the reconstruction of bridges with rig mats (platforms and structures) to allow the entry of humanitarian aid to Mocoa.
  • Provided equipment, civil works and infrastructure to help with the re-opening of roads.
  • Mobilized electrical experts to carry out a study of the state of the Electrical System of the Junín Station and managed measures to fix it.
  • Provided transportation for the delivery of food, for rescue teams and for members of the government commission.
  • Provided additional transportation support including helicopters, light and heavy trucks and airplane tickets.
  • Transported a water treatment plant from Bogotá to Mocoa.

The President and CEO of Gran Tierra Energy, Gary Guidry, also announced a matching program hours after the tragedy, whereby any donation made by employees would be matched dollar for dollar by the Company. The total donation raised was over $126,000,000 COP from employees in Colombia, Canada, members of the Board of Directors and the matching contribution from Gran Tierra Energy.

Computer Classroom Donation to the Colegio Ciudad Nueva Mocoa Institution

With the funds GTE raised after the Mocoa disaster a donation of a computer classroom was made to the Colegio Ciudad Nueva Mocoa educational institution.

Located in the direct impact zone of the disaster, Colegio Ciudad Nueva Mocoa was one of the most affected schools – 80% of the school population lives in the worst hit neighbourhoods.

This initiative was requested by the Mocoa community in order to strengthen education and digital literacy in the region. Once the computer room was built, it was equipped with 20 computers, Microsoft Office licenses, a video projector and screen, tables, chairs, and air conditioning for the room. Additionally, the donation included a series of entrepreneurship workshops to provide graduating students with tools to formulate business ideas.

Caliyaco Rural Education Centre

Gran Tierra Energy also made a donation to the Caliyaco Educational Centre. This school is located in the village of Caliyaco in Mocoa, Putumayo, and was also devastated by the impact of the disaster.

After analyzing and discussing the various needs and priorities that the educational institution required after the disaster, it was decided to support the school by providing building and construction material, new kitchen appliances and furniture, office equipment, as well as computers and a printer.

Through this donation, the Caliyaco Rural Education Centre was able to reintegrate students back to school in a positive way.

This donation is very important for the educational community, because it helps to provide better service and at the same time improves the quality of the education that the students receive; we express our thanks for this huge and timely support.

Raul Escobar, Director CER Caliyaco

Gran Tierra Volunteers to Restore Area Contaminated During Colombia Conflict

An example of the impact Gran Tierra’s Beyond Compliance philosophy can have on important decisions took place on October 4, 2017, when the company signed an agreement with the Government of Colombia to voluntarily restore an environmentally sensitive area that was contaminated years ago when an oil well was targeted during the armed conflict.

Although this well, the Azul Grande, in southwest Putumayo did not belong to Gran Tierra, and the company has no legal obligation to engage in the cleanup, GTE chose to participate as part of its commitment to environmental protection. Also participating in this project is CORPOAMAZONIA, an Autonomous Regional Corporation (Corporación Autonomia Regional–CAR), which has jurisdiction over departments in the southern Amazon region of Colombia and is responsible for overseeing environmental management within their jurisdiction.