Oil firms come together to improve sustainability reporting

Source: Global Reporting Initiative, 17 February 2009

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) today announced that five international oil companies are to help craft new guidance for measuring and disclosing their economic, environmental and social impacts.
Amerada Hess (USA), BP (UK), ENI (Italy), Shell (UK) and StatoilHydro (Norway) have come together with GRI to devise guidance on sustainability reporting for all companies in this crucial sector.

The GRI Guidelines are the world’s most widely-used sustainability reporting framework. The common framework enables like-for-like comparison to be made between companies, and for change to be effected from within a company.

Maaike Fleur, Sector Supplements Manager at GRI said: “The Oil and Gas Sector has many companies within it who have a long track record in the practice of sustainability reporting. However the sector has a huge potential impact on the environment and on societies globally, therefore specific additional guidance on what to measure and report on from the developers of the world’s most widely-used sustainability reporting framework is critical.”

Issues the working group is likely to consider will include greenhouse gas emissions, alternative / renewable energy investments, emergency preparedness and response, as well as programs to assist developing countries to manage and invest fossil fuel revenues and how to implement the principles of the Extractive Industries

Transparency Initiative.

GRI is hoping that more oil and gas firms will join the working group, which, will also consist of representatives from key stakeholder groups including investors, NGOs, labor organizations and others. Final draft guidance for the sector will be agreed upon by this multi-stakeholder group and then opened up to public consultation.

“We’re delighted that some of the largest oil firms from Europe and the United States have come on-board already, but we hope oil and gas companies from other regions of the world recognize the importance of getting involved in this project. The guidance that is created through this unique multi-stakeholder process will become the industry standard for sustainability disclosure, and therefore companies who get involved in the working group at this stage will be ahead of the curve,“ added Ms Fleur.

In related news, GRI recently opened draft guidance for the Mining and Metals sector for public comment. The draft guidance was agreed by a wide range of mining firms in conjunction with representatives from organizations including IUCN – The World Conservation Union, Fauna & Flora International, Centre for Human Rights and Environment and others. The public comment period on the Mining and Metals guidance will be open until 29th April 2009.