As part of IPIECA’s work in developing good practice within the oil and gas industry, the Social Responsibility Working Group monitors initiatives of governments, non-governmental organizations and scientific experts.
These initiatives include the United Nations Global Compact, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, the mandate of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)’s draft guidance standard on Social Responsibility (ISO 26000).
Some companies have written all or part of these initiatives into their own policies and standards, and have also started to incorporate them into their contracts with suppliers.
Improving fiscal accountability and good governance in resource-rich countries
Developing standards for social responsibility
Companies that are committed to sustainability and responsible business practices
Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative
In 2002 the UK government, in consultations with numerous oil and gas companies, trade associations and the US government, launched the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which was motivated by the desire for improved fiscal accountability and good governance in resource-rich countries.
The principles of the EITI affirm that:
- natural resources management is the domain of sovereign governments
- the achievement of greater transparency must respect laws and contracts
- a broadly consistent and workable approach to the reporting of payments and revenues is needed
In 2005, the EITI agreed criteria, guidelines and a sourcebook for implementing countries and participating companies and set up an International Advisory Group (IAG) to discuss the initiative’s future. In October 2006, the IAG recommended how to monitor and validate the EITI process. So far, the EITI has been able to reach consensus on core issues, because:
- The EITI is voluntary
- Its focus is narrow – companies and states must report money paid to, and received by, host governments
- It is implemented by resource-rich countries rather than by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) governments, companies or non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
- It is flexible – EITI guidelines encompass incentives to meet differing countries’ motivations
International guidance standard ISO 26000
The growing demand for all types of organisation to address the principles of social responsibility has broadened the applicability of concepts first developed under the corporate social responsibility (CSR) banner.
In January 2005, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) established a working group to develop an international guidance standard – ISO 26000 – to provide guidance on social responsibility. The objective was to produce a document written in plain language, to be understandable and usable by non-specialists, but not a specification document intended for third party certification.
ISO 26000 is intended to add value to, and not replace, existing inter-governmental agreements relevant to social responsibility, such as the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and those adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO). The new guidance standard should be usable for organizations of all sizes, in countries at every stage of development.
The standard has received input from six ISO designated stakeholder categories: industry, government, labour, consumers, non-governmental organizations and " service, support, research and others " - including a geographical and gender-based balance. ISO 26000 was published in November 2010 and references consensus based social responsibility tools specifically developed by IPIECA members for use within their global operations.
United Nations Global Compact
The United Nations Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.
Launched in July 2000, the UN Global Compact is a both a policy platform and a practical framework for companies that are committed to sustainability and responsible business practices. As a leadership initiative endorsed by chief executives, it seeks to align business operations and strategies everywhere with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Through a wide spectrum of specialized workstreams, management tools, resources, and topical programs, the UN Global Compact aims to advance two complementary objectives:
- Mainstream the ten principles in business activities around the world
- Catalyze actions in support of broader UN goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
Many IPIECA members are also members of the Global Compact.