The Role of Sustainable Development Planning in Our IndustryPublished October 15, 2014
Sustainability, nontechnical risk, environmental and social performance, as well as corporate (social) responsibility are interrelated terms that refer to an important set of competencies viewed as increasingly strategic in value for the oil and gas industry. Over the past 15 years, sustainability as a term has matured from its initial “green” scope to embrace social agendas and has evolved from being an external force to become a set of organizational values and operating principles that govern development and operations in the oil and gas sector. A plethora of standards, guidelines, and good and best practices have been created by various sectors with the oil and gas industry being one of the most active in evolving its own guidelines. Both corporate strategy and corporate risk management have identified opportunities and risks and built in new checkpoints in their processes.
Consequently, securing and maintaining a license to operate (as well as growing the commercial value beyond this threshold) extends well beyond legislative and regulatory permitting to encompass both the mitigation of adverse social and environmental effects as well as the advancement of financial, societal, and environmental benefits by the execution of strong sustainability performance. Significant to this is the new organizational refinements on, not just the license to operate, but also new phrasing such as “social license to operate” and “permission to operate” with the accompanying strategic financial benefits of becoming a preferred developer or operator.
Given the increasing prominence of sustainability in the oil and gas industry, SPE embarked on a path in 2010 when it created a Sustainability Task Force to
- Explore SPE’s role and strategy in addressing sustainability.
- Explore SPE’s role in encouraging a methodical approach to sustainability for our industry.
- Generate proposals for the SPE Board to direct resources to address identified needs and opportunities.
- Fully participate in global sustainability discussions as an enthusiastic participant and contributor and not as a passive observer.