Navigating the overwhelming maze of ESG data
The oil and gas sector is complex, and it’s easy for people to misunderstand and dismiss its value. It’s even easier to vilify it and believe it can be eliminated entirely. However, it’s integrated into our modern lives in a way that will be painfully difficult to detach any time soon. Nonetheless, the oil and gas industry is under increased scrutiny, due in large part to the ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance) movement, but it’s not all bad news for the industry.
The focus on ESG has the ability to create real and sustainable environmental and social change. One example of this is The Great Canadian Tree Challenge. Citing trees as a meaningful way of reducing our carbon footprint, the group behind the challenge has a goal of planting millions of trees in Indigenous communities across Canada, starting with 56,000 for their initial project.
This challenge isn’t the brainchild of a multinational corporation with large ESG and communications departments. Rather, it’s lead by a small oilfield service company, LV Energy Services, in Alberta that has a commitment to environment and safety at its core. To get involved, check out their website: https://projectforest.ca/great-canadian-tree-challenge/
Your company doesn’t have to undertake a massive project like The Great Canadian Tree Challenge, but you do have to have an ESG plan and you have to tell your stakeholders about it.
A strong, measured ESG strategy is a competitive advantage now for companies in the oil and gas sector, but it will be an expectation in the near future, much like health and safety. Not having an ESG or sustainability disclosure, be it a report or another form, will be a barrier to entry. Without it, you may not be able to bid on jobs. You may have to pay a premium for insurance or you may not be able to procure it from some insurers. Soon, it may impact your ability to attract and retain employees, particularly young people.
The good news is that your company is probably already doing what is needed to produce a strong ESG story. Now you need to measure it, report it, and boast about it.
The time to begin the work on your disclosure statements or sustainability reports is now, before there’s urgency. It can be challenging and resource-intensive when you don’t have an entire department or a full-time ESG professional on staff who has time to focus their attention on collating the data points, or creating presentations, let alone keeping pace with the myriad of ESG frameworks and their changing metrics.
The other challenge is the near-impossible task of connecting ESG data from your entire operations and supply chain into one comprehensive, easy-to-read document.
The technological key to creating a successful disclosure document is having the right software to help your company measure and disclose its ESG metrics.
Calgary-based startup GreenWorks Environmental Partnership Inc.noticed a gap and is filling it with software that enables efficient consolidation of your company data and connects the requirements across all ESG frameworks.
Founder Demian Newman didn’t start it to capitalize on the 40 trillion-dollar ESG phenomenon, but instead to highlight the environmental and social achievements he has witnessed first-hand in his 20-plus years working in the oil and gas industry.
Demian recently told me, “It’s quite astounding how we’ll all sit in Calgary coffee shops talking about these incredibly exciting environmental achievements the industry is making, but never take this information outside the echo chamber of those interactions. Then we get upset that no one outside the industry understands what’s required environmentally and socially to do work in oil and gas in Canada. People working in this industry should be proud, but they should also understand why every Canadian outside this industry paints them with the “dirty oil” brush, and not the innovative ESG group they have become.”
Officially launching their full software this fall, the team at GreenWorks is excited about their first market-ready product.Their automated materiality assessment tool allows a company to meaningfully and efficiently engage all stakeholders - employees, investors, customers, suppliers and vendors, government representatives, industry regulators and communities, to name a few - to understand what’s important to them.
Demian and his team spent two years doing market research to ensure they were developing the right solution for companies.
“We’re eliminating ‘death by spreadsheets’ and reducing time and human error that comes from circulating a large data document. Through our research we’ve built the most effective solution to alleviate our clients’ ESG pain points and we are excited with how well our initial product is working.”
Chances are your company already has a great ESG story, and if you use the tools available, you can measure it, report it, and share it publicly.
This series is specific to the Canadian Oil and Gas Industry and explores how ESG will impact the industry moving forward, how the sector can embrace it, and what reporting tools are available. This is article four of six.
Deidra is not employed by the companies or organizations referenced in the article.