As we rapidly approach the 2030 deadline to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 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 WBCSD to produce An SDG Roadmap for the oil and gas sector.
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.
Executive Director, Ipieca
In order to successfully tackle these challenges and realise the prosperity for people and planet that the Sustainable Development Goals call for, business, government and civil society must work together to change the systems that have created the challenges we now face – and change them so profoundly that we can legitimately call it transformation.
In March 2021, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), launched Vision 2050: Time to Transform, a framework for business action in line with the urgency of the challenges that we face. At the heart of this piece of work are nine transformation pathways covering the areas of business activity that are essential to society and around which business must focus its efforts to unleash widespread, positive and urgent change.
One of these pathways focuses specifically on energy, envisioning a sustainable energy system providing reliable and affordable net-zero energy for all by 2050. The oil and gas sector has a critical role to play in helping to realise this vision, and indeed the broader ambitions of the SDGs.
Achieving a world in which all individuals and communities have access to the reliable and affordable energy they need to live well, while simultaneously ensuring that global greenhouse gas emissions from the energy system are consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, will call for an unprecedented transformation of the oil and gas sector over the course of the next decade.
The sector faces important and difficult decisions. Inevitably, fossil fuel production will need to decrease, and business models will have to evolve.
A number of companies from the sector, including members of both Ipieca and WBCSD, are already embarking upon ambitious strategies to fundamentally transform their business activities. Ultimately, however, realising the SDGs will require widespread action across the entire sector.
Against this backdrop, WBCSD is pleased to have had the opportunity to work with Ipieca around the development of this SDG Sector Roadmap. With its unique global reach that encompasses private and state-owned enterprises as well as a range of global industry associations, and its long history of bringing the oil and gas industry together to develop and share good practices to address environmental and social challenges, Ipieca is uniquely positioned to inspire and guide the sector through the critical transitions that lie ahead.
WBCSD’s SDG Sector Roadmap framework, upon which this report is based, supports entire industries to explore, articulate and realise their collective potential to advance the ambitions of the SDGs. We hope that this important new roadmap can help to establish a standard for global best practice with regard to how the oil and gas sector and its value chain can contribute towards achieving this critical global agenda on the road to 2030.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted global efforts towards achieving the SDGs, it has also created an opportunity to drive and accelerate change at a completely different pace than we may have previously imagined possible.
At this critical and challenging juncture, we must place the SDGs at the forefront of our thinking as we plan long-term response and recovery.
President & CEO, WBCSD