A proposed draft for the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Oil and Gas Sector Standard has opened  a public comment period on the report’s findings, inviting input from individuals and corporations across the globe. Isobella Colletta reports

A pilot project for the GRI Sector Standards, the draft identifies coverage across 22 of the most critical sustainability topics for firms which deal with oil and gas activities. These topics include organisations coverage of climate change, environmental developments, health and safety, employment, communities and transparency and governance. The draft opened to public consultation on 8th July and will close on 6th October 2020. 

The proposed draft for the GRI Oil and Gas Sector Standard identified climate change as the greatest challenge facing the sector. It is hoped that this expansion of GRI standards in the Oil and Gas sector will assist firms in identifying and solving their external impacts and bring greater consistency in how firms report on their sustainable efforts and concerns both with stakeholders and publicly.

An expert project working group (PWG) have been responsible for developing the Oil and Gas Sector Standard. The group was appointed by the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), the independent body responsible for setting GRI standards.

Judy Kuszewski, chair of the GSSB, said: “The GRI Sector Program is about helping organisations 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 centre of the shared challenges they face. 

“Our Oil and Gas Sector Standard seeks to provide a framework for any organisation 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.”

Matt Jones, Head of Business and Biodiversity, UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre and member of the PWG, also added: “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.”