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Writing a Sustainability Report for an Oil and Gas Company

In 2019 the executive team of a Colorado-based energy company was tasked by its board of directors to develop a sustainability report aligned with the reporting framework of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS).

Ludke Consulting was retained to develop the content for the report. As a first step in the engagement, Ludke Consulting conducted benchmark research to provide clarity on the sustainability reporting best practices other oil and gas companies, in particular for those reports following the ISS framework.

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Benchmarking best practices and a research-based materiality assessment provided clarity in creating a compelling sustainability report.

Because the company had not previously published a sustainability report, Ludke Consulting conducted research that provided a benchmark assessment of the sustainability reporting practices of five energy companies, ranging from direct competitors to large, international companies. Ludke Consulting’s research was presented in a manner that followed the established ISS reporting practices. Doing so allowed the client to gain a clear understanding of how to best structure its report and the level of information needed in it to meet the ISS standards.

 TheColorado-based energy company had previously conducted extensive public opinion research in the communities in which it operates. Combined with the ISS framework, the insights gained from the public opinion research provided the foundation for the materiality assessment – the process by which issues most relevant to the company and its public audiences were identified and prioritized for inclusion in the sustainability report.

Using the outcomes from the materiality assessment as a starting point, Ludke Consulting created the content for the sustainability report. The purpose of the report is to provide a compelling story of how the company creates long-term value for the communities in which it operates and for its employees and investors while also giving an honest assessment where it must continue to grow and improve in the future.

Another important outcome is that the sustainability report laid the foundation for a more robust disclosure process of the company, ranging from its regulatory and financial filings to information shared in the communities in which it operates. The increased and improved disclosure will allow key audiences – employees, investors, regulators, and local residents – to have a much more complete understanding of the company and its commitment to generating long-term value across all aspects of its operations.

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