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A roadmap for a sustainable future

One of the most fascinating aspects of working for IPIECA has been the role the association plays in supporting sustainable development. The association has participated in the UN processes in this area for decades and my first involvement was in the UN conference for sustainable development in 2012, more commonly known as Rio+20. This was the event that produced the draft of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted at the UN General Assembly in 2015 and containing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The goals provide a framework to achieve progress against the major challenges facing the world. A striking feature of the goals is the breadth and depth of support for them from all sectors of society globally. That said, progress towards them has not been at the pace needed.

As we rapidly approach the 2030 deadline to deliver the goals the need for concerted action and coordinated solutions involving all parts of society is more urgent than ever.

The oil and gas industry is an essential partner in achieving the ambitions at the core of the SDGs. It can provide the affordable and reliable energy essential for economic growth, employment, education, eradication of poverty and global health.

However, there are also sustainability challenges facing the sector. While supporting a growing global population’s demand for energy, the industry must continue to scale-up its climate change action, curbing emissions from global energy production and use, and continue to play its part in a world aspiring to net-zero emissions.

In response to the critical need for action, and recognising the industry’s huge potential to support the SDGs, IPIECA has joined forces with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to produce Accelerating Action: An SDG Roadmap for the oil and gas sector.

We established a task force of representatives from 25 organisations from across the spectrum of the IPIECA membership: international oil companies, national oil companies from around the world, independent producers, service companies and industry associations. This group represented the diversity of contexts, portfolios, strategies, and stakeholders, yet they reached consensus on wide ranging actions designed to maximise the positive impact of the sector on achievement of the goals.Building on the IPIECA - UNDP - IFC Mapping the oil and gas industry to the Sustainable Development Goals: An Atlas, and the SDG Sector Roadmap Guidelines developed by WBCSD in 2018, the Roadmap outlines short, medium and long-term actions - mapped against SDG targets – which go beyond business as usual and aim to catalyse the realisation of the goals. 

Integrating the SDGs into core business activities will not only generate significant contributions to the SDGs, it can also help companies build resilience during the energy transition, attract and retain top talent, manage regulatory and reputational risks, and present new market opportunities and access to sustainable finance.

While the oil and gas industry contributes to all 17 SDGs, the Roadmap highlights 10 SDGs where the industry can have the biggest impact, by driving innovations in its own operations and across the supply chain. These 10 SDGs underpin 8 impact pathways, in 3 interconnected systemic themes of Climate, Nature and People.

As well as offering the sector direction on the SDGs, the Roadmap also identifies where to focus collaboration and provides a platform to form industry and cross sector partnerships to further accelerate SDG action.

Our work on the Roadmap is just part of IPIECA’s leadership on climate action, environmental responsibility, social performance and mainstreaming sustainability. Our 2021-2024 strategy supports our members’ contributions to the energy transition and sustainable development through four action orientated thematic strategies: Climate, Nature, People and Sustainability. This framework, combined with our global membership covering the full oil and gas value chain, will enable the implementation of the Roadmap across the industry.

The development of the Roadmap took place during the unprecedented health and social disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. And while the crisis has taken its toll on the realisation of the SDGs, we now have the opportunity to place climate, nature and people at the heart of our recovery and reaffirm our collective commitment to achieving the SDGs.

The crisis has also created a real sense of shared responsibility for building a brighter future and shown the importance of collaboration across communities, sectors and nations to tackling shared challenges. The Roadmap calls for that same spirit of collaboration across the oil and gas industry and beyond as we come together to establish a shared pathway to 2030.

I am confident the Roadmap will help the industry and IPIECA to continue our long journey in supporting sustainable development.


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