IPIECA, API and OGP Publish Sustainability Reporting Guide for Oil & Gas Sector

While GRI’s sector supplement is still work in progress, IPIECA, API and OGP jointly published the second edition of the Oil and gas industry guidance on voluntary sustainability reporting in December 2010.The International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA), the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (OGP) teamed up in 2008 to update the first, 2005 edition of the Oil and gas industry guidance on voluntary sustainability reporting. IPIECA also utilized a BSR facilitated  stakeholder dialogue workshops  held in San Francisco from 11 – 12 June 2008. This workshop helped develop (document?) a shared understanding of existing and emerging challenges facing the oil & gas industry and the Facilitator’s Final Report (which can be accessed here). The Guidance process also included the use of an external expert panel, which I mentioned in an earlier blog.

According to IPIECA’s webpage on reporting, the Guidance is designed as a ‘stand-alone’ reference tool and differs from GRI G3 in four ways. First, it is designed to provide flexibility to meet the reporting needs of a variety of organizations in the petroleum industry, such as multi-national majors, national oil companies to smaller international and domestic companies. Second, the Guidance captures industry consensus on the material sustainability issues faced by oil and gas companies, accompanied by appropriate indicators and reporting elements for these significant issues. Third, the Guidance shares oil and gas industry-specific good practice. Fourth, it is aligned with recommendations from other good practice and guidance documents published by IPIECA, API and OGP for their members.

The Joint Statement of the Independent Stakeholder Panel acknowledged the improvements in the Guidance. However, the Panel also singled out some shortcomings. These include limited emphasis on the need for the industry to report on actions taken to reconcile the twin challenges of energy security and climate change. One notable example is greenhouse gas emissions related to the use of petroleum products. Other aspects included the absence of minimum reporting standards, more emphasis on target setting, the role and performance of contractors, and need for further engagement towards standardization (e.g. GRI) and integrated reporting.

GRI is still in the process of finalizing a Sector Supplement for the oil and gas sector. GRI expects to release the final draft Supplement around March 2011. GRI targest the release of the final Sector Supplement for late 2011. Even if GRI highlights common working group members (BP, Eni, Hess, Shell, Statoil and Petrobras - kudos to them for participating in both processes), the parallel developments by oil & gas industry bodies and the GRI is one of the interesting side shows. Or is this one of the main acts? 

What is your take of this parallel development? Do you feel that the second edition of the IPIECA/API/OGP Guidance will help boost the uptake of sustainability reporting in the oil & gas sector? Or are there still other barriers which are preventing more rapid sustainability reporting uptake in the oil & gas sector?