We transitioned to a digital approach for our sustainability reporting in 2019. Previously, we developed standalone annual reports that reflected activities from the prior year. This meant that many of our performance examples were already more than a year old when published. To provide stakeholders with timelier information we now provide performance examples as they occur — not just once a year. These highlights and our performance metrics are integrated into the foundational information on our website and consolidated into our Sustainability hub, which can be accessed from the top navigation. Performance metrics are updated yearly prior to May 31.
We recognize that an annual report is still important for many stakeholders and will continue to consolidate annual performance information and metrics at the end of May into a report that can be found in our Company Reports and Resources section. Stakeholders can also create customized reports, based on topics of interest, by using our report builder.
Prioritizing Reporting Topics
Our sustainability reporting focuses on the ESG issues that matter to our business and our stakeholders. To select content for our 2018 sustainability reporting, we used a process involving:
Identification: Through our risk assessment process as well as meetings and discussions with key stakeholders, we identified and gained an understanding of important topics. We also received feedback on our 2017 report and considered international reporting guidelines and rating agency survey questions.
Prioritization: Subject matter experts from key functions in our organization then provided further insight and prioritized topics based on level of interest or concern to key stakeholders and strategic importance to the company. We validated these priorities in our ongoing engagements with external stakeholders.
Final prioritization: Topics with the highest priority are included in our annual reporting. Our annual report and financial reporting also include environmental and social risks when they reach a “material” level as defined by regulatory requirements. Information about issues deemed material to our investors may be found in our Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings. In-depth analysis of our financial performance can be found in our Annual Report.
Priority Reporting Topics
Reporting Frameworks and Scope
We report our sustainability performance using internationally recognized reporting standards and frameworks. This includes reporting guidelines, indicators and terminology developed by IPIECA, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 guidelines, the Oil and Gas Sector Supplement and the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Our reporting is also informed by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) recommendations. We provide regular information to the CDP, Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and other top-tier organizations that assess the economic, social and environmental performance of companies. We engage with Disclosing the Facts, MSCI, Sustainalytics, and ISS E&S QualityScore, all of whom rate us based on publicly available information. We have mapped relevant IPIECA, GRI, UN Global Compact Principles, SASB and TCFD disclosures for stakeholder convenience and we continue to assess alignment with other emerging frameworks.
The 2018 Sustainability Report covers data from January 1 to December 31, 2018. Notes to our metrics outline the scope and methodologies of our data reporting. The minimum boundary for reporting on social and environmental priorities is assets we operate.
Environmental Data Quality and Assurance
The accuracy of the information reflected in our report is very important to us. We use a triennial process for third-party limited assurance for selected metrics, including energy use, flaring, water use and safety. We conduct annual assurance for our Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 GHG emissions. We are in the process of assuring the 2018 GHG emissions data, which will be complete this fall.
We have several practices in place to provide the best available data at the time of publication including:
- Guidelines, calculation tools and training. We maintain reporting procedures for our business units around the world to calculate and report environmental incidents, releases and emissions. Business units are accountable for data completeness and accuracy, and for consistency with our accepted reporting practices.
- Internal reviews. A business-level data submission, review and approval process is practiced annually to promote accountability for the results and to ensure the best possible data quality.
- Assurance. In 2018, we conducted required and voluntary independent emissions verification work in two areas:
- Reasonable and limited assurance in countries having a regulatory requirement to verify reported emissions, including the UK, Australia, Canada and Norway.
- Voluntary limited assurance review of select corporate-level metrics, including reported overall Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 greenhouse gas volumes.
- Internal corporate audits. The corporate HSE function reviews HSE data for completeness and accuracy.
Our internal quality assurance process begins at the business unit level. This process includes:
- Ensuring that business units understand the corporate reporting obligations associated with safety, health and environmental metrics.
- Establishing standardized methods of data collection and expected reporting procedures.
- Verifying that the data provided by business units is accurate and complete.
- Reviewing and questioning the results.
- Assessing results to identify trends and better understand the drivers of year-over-year changes.
There are three phases of data verification at this level — during submission, review and approval. Before the data is sent from the business unit to the corporate level, it undergoes vetting by technical peers and leaders, who challenge any findings that they find questionable. When the final business unit data is submitted to the corporate level, it contains an explanation for all variances greater than 10% from the prior year. Reasons for significant variances may include startups or dispositions. At the corporate level, data submitted for each asset is further reviewed and challenged by a team of subject matter experts utilizing a data quality checklist.
Once all business unit data is compiled at our corporate level, it undergoes further verification by subject matter experts. During this effort, an intensity analysis is conducted to measure total volumes and production throughput and year-over-year data changes to help identify any inconsistencies. The data is also compared to similar operations during this process. The information is then analyzed in aggregate by metric to understand the significant drivers behind any year-over-year change in company values. After this process, the data is presented to company leaders, who have an opportunity to review and challenge the information, possibly spurring additional verification. Final data undergoes executive-level approval prior to publishing.
The United Nations General Assembly has adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that set the global agenda for equitable, socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable economic development. Our core business of delivering energy to the world contributes directly to: Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all. Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Many of our business and community investment activities support other goals such as those on clean water, industry, infrastructure and innovation, and life below water and on land. We are working with IPIECA, the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues, on the role the oil and gas industry can most effectively play to support the achievement of the globally endorsed framework of the SDGs. We continue to monitor the goals as they move to international and national implementation.