Despite substantial headwinds facing the global oil and gas industry, and the uncertain future of many of its players, the importance of remaining good stewards of the environment remains relevant. The approach toward environmental stewardship and making public the efforts taken toward those goals has emerged as a key priority for many upstream companies.

On March 30, the API, IPIECA and International Association of Oil and Gas Producers released the latest edition of their Sustainability Reporting Guidance for the Oil and Gas Industry, a 200-plus-page report that provides companies operating in the upstream industry direction on the content of their sustainability reporting.

Brian Sullivan
Brian Sullivan

“Since we released the previous edition in 2015, there has been a massive increase in industry stakeholders and the general public’s interest in the role oil and gas businesses are playing in the energy transition,” said Brian Sullivan, executive director of the IPIECA. “That’s why the 2020 edition has been designed to provide a framework to allow companies to report on how they are managing climate, environmental, social and sustainability impacts and opportunities in a way that can be understood by their clients, contractors, the investment community and the general public.”

The new report’s guidance covers six primary themes: reporting processes; governance and business ethics; climate change and energy; the environment; safety, health and security; and social issues. The updated report was compiled from insight over 15 years from more than 80 representatives from 28 oil and gas companies around the world, as well as an independent external stakeholder panel comprised of experts representing NGOs, investors, banks and consultants.

Sullivan said one of the key objectives from the onset was for the new guidelines to be usable by new and experienced sustainability reporters.

“When producing this guidance, a great emphasis was placed on creating something that could be used alongside other reporting tools and resources out there,” he said. “For example, our climate reporting module was prepared in line with the TCFD’s (Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures) work in this area.”

Sullivan said the next phase of the association’s outreach efforts on the guidance strategy is disseminating the latest information to the people and groups in the oil and gas industry by leveraging the reach of its member companies and partners.

“We then want to make sure they can implement it effectively to produce their own sustainability performance reports by providing educational and learning opportunities such as ‘how to’ webinars and peer-to-peer training,” he said.

For information and to view the report, visit