Ipieca Deputy Executive Director Sophie Depraz reflects on 30 years of working with Ipieca.
December 2022 marked my 30th anniversary with Ipieca.
What a journey it’s been! For me, the Secretariat, our members and indeed the whole industry: the change and progress we’ve made together over that time is amazing.
When I started, there were only four of us in the Secretariat, now there’s over 20. It’s always been a great team, enthusiastic to work for Ipieca and our sector, delivering value for our membership.
I joined as technical assistant for what was supposed to be a 6-month contract….and 30 years on I’m still with Ipieca as Deputy Executive Director.
Within the first few weeks of my work at Ipieca, I started to engage with several United Nations initiatives. This included our work with IMO on oil spill contingency planning, taking me to Gabon in only the second week of my arrival! A flying start indeed. I also led Ipieca’s work to understand the outcomes of the 1992 Rio conference (also known as the Earth Summit) and how our industry can contribute. This work is now to some extent captured in our work on the Sustainable Development Goals.
Through the years, I’ve covered all our focus areas. Ipieca was initially focused on environmental issues. However, we rapidly started to address social responsibility topics for our industry. Playing an instrumental role in establishing our Social Responsibility Group is one of my proudest achievements at Ipieca.
I’ve seen growth and development of our membership which today stands at 80 members, demonstrating the importance the industry places on the sustainability issues we deal with and an understanding that these topics are too large and complex for any one company to tackle alone. Our members really are committed to contributing to the sustainable development agenda. And with membership covering the full value chain and operating in over 180 countries, we are advancing climate action, environmental responsibility, social performance and integrating sustainability right across the industry and around the globe.
With a sustainable development landscape forever changing and the need for a net-zero future which leaves no one behind, Ipieca is always busy, adapting to our members’ evolution and stakeholders’ expectations of our industry. But to achieve this future, no one industry can do it alone. Collaboration and partnership are critical. Convening stakeholders is core to Ipieca’s role. Stakeholder collaboration and partnership, including our strategy development, is a priority and importantly, challenges us to be bolder and more ambitious.
Ipieca was established to be the interface between our sector and the United Nations. Today, we engage with United Nations organizations across our four strategic pillars – climate, nature, people and sustainability. Over the years we have reinforced this differentiator, in particular through our non-lobby status. This enables us to gain the trust of stakeholders and develop meaningful relationships around our vision of advancing environmental and social performance across the energy transition.
Recently, we have strengthened our role on the energy transition with a more ambitious vision. This included the addition of a workstream on renewable energy, a recognition of the diversifying portfolios of our members, and the need to ensure environmental and social performance in this sector as well. And last but not least, we very excitingly put in place a new condition of membership with eight Ipieca Principles around our strategic pillars of climate, nature, people and sustainability. This is a major step for Ipieca, and one I am very proud of.
Next year, we will be celebrating Ipieca’s 50th anniversary, and I know we will continue to work with our members to drive the industry’s contribution to the energy transition and sustainable development. I am proud to work with this industry, and thank our members and stakeholders I work with for making this journey so rewarding and inspiring! I look forward to continuing to work with you in the decades ahead.