Insights

Energy Sector Opportunity to Comment on GRI Draft Sustainability Reporting Standard

Firm Thought Leadership

On July 8, 2020, the GRI Global Sustainability Standards Board released the draft “Sector Standard: Oil and Gas” for public comment, covering upstream, midstream and downstream operations.  The draft standard is available here.  The Sector Standard: Oil and Gas will become part of the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards and apply to any organization that undertakes activities in the Oil and Gas sector, which includes:

  • Exploration and production of onshore and offshore oil and gas, including by integrated oil and gas companies.

  • Supply of equipment and services to oil fields and offshore platforms, such as drilling, exploration, seismic information services and platform construction, including by owners and contractors of drilling rigs.

  • Storage and transportation of oil and gas, such as that conducted by midstream natural gas companies, pipeline operators, and oil and gas shipping.

  • Manufacturing and marketing of oil and gas products, such as refined petroleum products and consumable fuels. The draft Sector Standard identifies 22 topics that are “likely material” for an organization in the Oil and Gas sector and therefore potentially merit inclusion in sustainability reporting. 

GRI is one of the most widely used sustainability reporting frameworks. The draft Sector Standard: Oil and Gas marks GRI’s first foray into industry sector-specific reporting guidelines. At a time when sustainability reporting across the global oil and gas supply chain is increasingly scrutinized, the public comment period also marks an important opportunity for the energy industry to proactively provide feedback on how and what they report.

The draft Standard contains guidelines and cross-references to GRI Topic Standards for determining what to report on each topic.  The following topics have been identified as “likely material” for the Oil and Gas sector and contain specific reporting guidelines:

  • Climate Change: Greenhouse gas emissions; Climate resilience and transition.

  • Environment and Biodiversity: Air emissions; Biodiversity; Waste; Water and effluents; Closure and decommissioning.

  • Health and safety: Asset integrity and process safety; Occupational health and safety.

  • Employment: Employment practices; Diversity and non-discrimination; Forced labor and modern slavery; Freedom of association and collective bargaining.

  • Communities: Economic impacts; Local community impacts; Land use and resettlement; Rights of indigenous peoples; Conflict and security.

  • Transparency and governance: Anti-competitive behavior; Anti-corruption; Payments to governments; Public policy and lobbying.  

The draft Sector Standard has an emphasis on climate change, including board responsibility for climate change, detailed reporting on emissions targets, related management incentives, and public policy advocacy on climate change.

Comments on the draft Sector Standard are due by October 6, 2020.  The Standard is expected to be finalized in first quarter 2021.

GRI will also be hosting webinars to introduce the Sector Standard: Oil and Gas on July 23, 2020 and August 20, 2020.

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