To assist oil and gas companies with reporting on nonfinancial performance, the Oil & Gas Industry Guidance on Voluntary Sustainability Reporting was published in 2005 as a framework for improving the quality and consistency of voluntary sustainability reporting. The guidance was revised in 2010 and again in 2015. This paper discusses the value of sustainability reporting, the motivation behind the most recent update, and the changes made and provides an overview of social performance indicators in the third edition.
The Value of Sustainability Reporting
Oil and gas companies were among the earliest businesses to adopt sustainability reporting and, since it gained traction in the mid-1990s, have provided some leading examples of reporting practices. Key business drivers identified by companies in support of sustainability reporting include
Through communication on sustainability issues, a company’s report becomes a reliable source of information for its stakeholders. By transparently describing its biggest challenges, reporting underpins stakeholder engagement and represents the company’s values in action.
Oil & Gas Industry Guidance on Voluntary Sustainability Reporting
First and Second Editions. To help member companies develop or improve their sustainability reporting, IPIECA, the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP), and the American Petroleum Institute (API) jointly published the Oil & Gas Industry Guidance on Voluntary Sustainability Reporting in April 2005. The document was produced to assist companies across the oil and gas industry in reporting on environmental, health and safety, social, and economic performance measures by providing sector-specific guidance. The aim of the document was to assist oil and gas companies in developing and enhancing the quality and consistency of their reports.
The publication was revised in 2010 with changes to improve the comparability of reports and help companies establish and communicate their strategic approaches to sustainability.
Changes to the Third Edition. The 2015 update was designed with the aim of preserving continuity with the previous edition and to facilitate implementation of improvements by minimizing changes to the overall structure and core content.
The third edition addresses feedback from subject-matter experts and improvements in reporting practices.
Key changes within the 2015 update include
Changes to Social and Economic Indicators. The 2015 update reflects the ever-changing landscape of social responsibility reporting and expectations. Recent years have been characterized by an evolution in existing frameworks on voluntary sustainability reporting, the emergence of new voluntary initiatives, and mandatory sustainability reporting requirements in some countries. These varying expectations and different definitions of how and what companies should report have led to challenges for many oil and gas companies.
For this reason, IPIECA, API, and IOGP believe that it is essential to continue providing this robust industry-developed framework to help companies shape the structure and content of their sustainability reporting and better respond to the evolving expectations of society.
The UNGPs were a key development that motivated the update. Endorsed by the United Nations in 2011, the UNGPs encompass the following three pillars outlining how states and business should implement the framework:
Aligning the document with the internationally accepted standards of the UNGPs was an important goal of the revision.
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