Transparency on oil and gas sector impacts

Published date: 08 July 2020

First GRI Sector Standard is one step closer – as public comment period starts

A proposed sustainability reporting standard for oil and gas companies identifies climate change as the single biggest challenge facing the sector.

A 90-day public comment period has launched for the draft GRI Oil and Gas Sector Standard, with input invited from around the world. The Standard identifies reporting across the 22 most critical sustainability topics for organizations with oil and gas activities – covering climate change, the environment, health and safety, employment, communities, and governance.

Oil and gas is a pilot project for the development of GRI Sector Standards. This new addition to the GRI Standards will support organizations in high-impact sectors to identify and address their external impacts, empowering engagement with stakeholders and bringing consistency in how sectors report on sustainable development concerns.

The Oil and Gas Sector Standard has been developed by an expert project working group (PWG) appointed by the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), the independent body responsible for setting the GRI Standards.

Judy Kuszewski, chair of the GSSB, said:

“The GRI Sector Program is about helping organizations to increase transparency by focusing reporting on the sustainability issues that matter most within sectors. For oil and gas companies, responding to concerns about their climate change impacts is at the center of the shared challenges they face.

Our Oil and Gas Sector Standard seeks to provide a framework for any organization in the sector to disclose their sustainability risks in line with global best practice, responding to the information needs of stakeholders. I would encourage all interested parties to help us achieve this aim by reviewing the exposure draft and providing feedback.”

Alexandra Russell is Vice President of Strategy, Policy and Sustainability for energy company Sasol, and a PWG member. She said:

“With the momentum to replace fossil fuels ever increasing, oil and gas firms need to expand their focus beyond short-term issues. The GRI Oil and Gas Sector Standard will help such companies provide feedback to their stakeholders on the impacts they continue to have while navigating their role in this energy transition. Importantly, the factors that this Standard encourage reporting firms to consider can support them in developing opportunities and a business case for change.”

Matt Jones, Head of Business and Biodiversity, UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, is also on the PWG. He added:

“Responsible businesses should be a powerful force for change in the world. Holding business to account relies on accurate measurement and transparent reporting, using clear and consistent indicators. Every sector is different, so this new GRI Sector Standard aims to make sure oil and gas companies can communicate the right information on the right issues to their stakeholders. This public comment period is a vital opportunity for stakeholders to play a role in shaping the development of this Sector Standard.”

Notes to editors

The public comment period for the GRI Sector Standard: Oil and Gas exposure draft is open from 8 July until 6 October 2020. GRI is seeking feedback on the completeness and relevance of the oil and gas content, and the value and feasibility of the Sector Standards approach.

The Oil & Gas Sector Standard pilot project will shape the future development under the GRI Sector Program, with plans to cover more than 40 high-impact sectors. The program seeks to address inconsistent reporting, bring clarity by describing a sector’s most significant impacts, and assist companies in identifying their material topics and what to report for each.

The draft Standard specifies four topics not currently addressed through GRI Topic Standards: asset integrity and process safety; climate resilience and transition; closure and decommissioning; land use and resettlement.

Originally this Standard was proposed to cover oil, gas and coal. On the advice of the multi-stakeholder project working group, coal is being developed as a separate Sector Standard. A Sector Standard pilot is also currently underway for agriculture and fishing.

Free webinars to introduce the Oil and Gas Standard and GRI’s Sector Program are open for registration:

23 July: 10 am CEST and 4 pm CEST

20 August: 10 am CEST and 4pm CEST