The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are part of the of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and were adopted by world leaders at a historic UN Summit in September 2015. The 17 Goals build on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals, while including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities.

Energy is a key driver of sustainable development and is often described as the ‘golden thread’ that links most of the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda pledge to ‘leave no one behind’. Ipieca convenes the sector to align and accelerate contributions to national achievements of the goals.

SDG Roadmap

In 2021, Ipieca, in partnership with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development launched Accelerating action: An SDG Roadmap for the oil and gas sector. The Roadmap aims to further prioritize areas where the sector can significantly impact SDG progress by identifying key impact opportunities for the most material SDG goals and targets, coordinating effort across the entire industry to establish a collective sector pathway to 2030.

In March 2023, Ipieca published its second SDG Roadmap progress report, building on the 2022 report to demonstrate progress and assess where gaps are. The report includes case studies of how member companies are implementing the Roadmap, as well as examples how Roadmap actions are embedded in the Ipieca business plan.

SDG Atlas

In 2017, Ipieca partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to develop a shared understanding of the implications of the UN SDGs for the oil and gas industry and how the industry can most effectively contribute. The resulting Ipieca-IFC-UNDP SDG Atlas presents the SDGs goal by goal, focusing on the contribution the industry can make to each goal, by integrating them into core business operations and by identifying opportunities for oil and gas companies to collaborate with other stakeholders and leverage experiences and resources in support of the goals.

  • Businesses (including the oil and gas industry) can play an important role, as private sector investment far exceeds foreign aid in many developing countries. As well as their principle role supplying reliable and affordable energy, oil and gas companies also contribute social investments and make substantial tax and other types of revenue payment to host governments.

  • Hydrocarbons are used to supply energy for all stages of food production e.g. powering agricultural machinery, as the raw materials for fertilizers and pesticides, and refrigeration and food transportation. Hydrocarbons therefore play a critical role in food security by increasing the productivity of modern agriculture and enabling the distribution of food.

  • Oil and gas companies contribute to improving health and well-being in a variety of ways, including by providing energy, caring for the health and safety of their workers, investing in community health systems, making fiscal and other payments to governments, and by joining global initiatives to combat infectious diseases.

  • Investing in education and skills-based training in their countries of operation helps oil and gas companies address difficulties finding the necessary technical, operational and commercial skill sets required, as well as providing more local value by increasing the potential for direct and indirect employment of local workers and suppliers.

  • Oil and gas companies work together with governments to enhance their awareness of the culture and practices of the host country. At the same time, company activities bring expertise into developing countries, including labour standards and expectations that can lead to improved gender equality and empowerment. The industry can provide women with opportunities for a better life, including increased employment opportunities, access to revenues, and expanded investment in the local community.

  • The oil and gas industry supports access to and sustainable management of water. The industry is developing water strategies that protect and restore water-related ecosystems to address water quantity and quality in and around operations. The industry is protecting the environment, which may include local water supplies, through effective wastewater management practices, and containment of unintended leaks or spills.

  • Access to affordable, reliable energy is essential for the growth of strong economies, sustained improvements in the quality of life, and the eradication of poverty. The universal global challenge is to ensure access to sustainable, modern energy, while moving towards a global energy system with net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the second half of this century. The oil and gas industry is committed to helping to address this critical issue.

  • Sustainable development requires job creation and inclusive economic growth. The oil and gas industry can make a significant contribution to the overall economic growth of host countries by generating much higher fiscal revenues, attracting significant foreign direct investment, and accruing foreign exchange reserves. Employment is a crucial path out of poverty and towards shared prosperity. The oil and gas industry contributes to local communities, investing in opportunities for job creation and local business development.

  • The oil and gas industry often invests significantly in infrastructure such as roads, telecommunications, ports and local power to enable its operations and to benefit local communities. Building shared-use infrastructure, whereby the oil and gas industry allows other stakeholders to use the infrastructure created for its operations, is a cost-effective way to improve infrastructure access while also benefiting local communities.

  • Oil and gas development and access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy has been demonstrated to significantly and positively impact economic growth and human well-being. Revenues from the production of oil and gas resources, foreign direct investment and establishment of supply industries can be used to reduce poverty. They can also support social developments that promote equality, e.g. in access to health services and education.

  • The industry can help to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage. Governments can use revenues from oil and gas production to invest in making cities and human settlements more sustainable. Oil and gas companies can also provide cleaner and more efficient power generation through the increased provision of natural gas.

  • Oil and gas companies are helping to meet responsible consumption challenges by mitigating impacts and improving the efficiency of their operations and by supporting energy efficiency through e.g. implementing product stewardship principles, eliminating routine gas flaring, ensuring effective management of chemicals and waste, directional drilling when necessary and feasible, developing cleaner fuels, and sharing energy efficiency knowledge and building capacity among consumers.

  • We believe that it is possible to address climate change risks while also meeting global energy demand and supporting economic development. A low-emissions future will look significantly different from the current energy system. It will require concerted scale-up actions by government, business, and civil society and will need to ensure that the transition will not sacrifice economic development, high employment, and other social objectives. The oil and gas industry has a unique role to play including by deploying large scale CCS, reducing emissions in operations and the end-user, and engaging on climate policy.

  • More than one-third of oil and gas extracted today comes from offshore deposits. The industry is committed to protecting the marine environment and its fauna through minimizing the impacts of oil and gas operations e.g. artificial light from offshore installations, underwater sound from seismic surveys, and drilling waste from operations.

  • The industry is committed to responsibly integrate the management of biodiversity and ecosystems services across the lifecycle of oil and gas operations. Projects and facilities are designed to mitigate their potential impacts through avoidance, minimisation restoration and, finally, offsetting (the Mitigation Hierarchy).

  • Responsible business practices contribute to stability and avoiding conflict. Governments have the primary responsibility for maintaining peace and security, while companies contribute by following and respecting the law, adhering to anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws and practices, identifying and mitigating adverse human rights impacts of their activities, and conducting regular and inclusive engagement with stakeholders.

  • In an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, commitment to global partnership and coordinated effort by governments, companies, investors, international organizations and civil society are necessary. Partnering can lead to higher-quality, longer-term sustainable outcomes than any stakeholder could achieve on its own.

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