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Building a Better Future Through Partnerships

Cooperative Partnerships Between the Oil and Natural Gas Industry and Environmental, Educational, and Community Groups

The petroleum industry has a long history of public-private partnerships aimed at finding cooperative solutions to environmental, educational and community issues. Developing cooperative public-private relationships to find lasting, sustainable solutions is part of a larger movement towards corporate social responsibility (CSR). Some industry partnerships have been in existence for more than seventy years. Others have been initiated more recently to address changing needs and emerging issues. These partnerships are voluntary activities aimed at ensuring that oil and natural gas companies are an integral and contributing part of society and the communities in which the industry operates. Partnerships evolve on a continuing basis. Examples of current partnerships are contained in individual company sustainability, corporate responsibility, or citizenship reports.

To help oil and natural gas companies report their sustainability performance, API, the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA) and the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (OGP) have developed the “ Oil and Gas Industry Guidance on Voluntary Sustainability Reporting.” This document helps companies report their sustainability performance in a clear and consistent manner.

See more under the "Trends in Building Constructive Relationships" section below.

Links to individual company reports are provided below. All words in red are web links that will take you to the relevant webpages. Clicking on the company name will take you to the company's main website; whereas clicking on "Sustainability" will take you the webpage for sustainability related information and their sustainability report;, and clicking on "Community" will take you to webpages for community engagement activities.


View their current Corporate Citizenship Report and discover what they are doing for Citizenship and the Community. ExxonMobil uses the termCitizenship to address sustainability since their approach is to include six focus areas which can be found by clicking through to the report or citizenship webpage.

Trends in Building Constructive Relationships

The world is changing in many dramatic ways, and so is the oil and natural gas industry. With a rising world population, economic development – including the availability of clean, affordable energy – is needed to support the global desire for a better quality of life. At the same time, the burden on the environment is increasing to the extent that in various parts of the world, natural resources that always have been renewable – fresh water, clean air, soil, forests and fisheries – are losing their ability to regenerate and sustain growing local populations. Tensions arising from economic development and environmental conservation are major contributors to social pressures and conflicts. The explosion of global electronic communication heightens public awareness of these problems, calling for greater transparency and accountability of governments as well as business.

In response to these pressures, the oil and natural gas industry is placing greater emphasis on understanding the varied needs and expectations of the countries and communities in which it operates. This not only translates to conducting oil & gas activities in an economically, socially and environmentally responsive manner, but includes working together with stakeholder groups and affected parties to identify constructive solutions to shared problems.

Several emerging trends are influencing the nature of public-private partnerships.


The world is becoming increasingly interconnected - economically, socially and environmentally – through technological developments. The availability of affordable, clean energy has been a fundamental driver of progress in the developed world and is becoming even more essential in helping developing countries achieve their economic, social and environmental aspirations. As the industry explores and operates in locations where extreme poverty and harsh working conditions exist, API member companies with global operations are working diligently in developing countries to create cooperative partnerships to better understand and address their unmet needs and goals.

License to Operate

The industry recognizes that it derives its license to operate from the public, and that companies and the industry need to work harder and more creatively to preserve that right to operate. Companies are demonstrating that they can be more than “good neighbors” by actively working with community and other partners to protect the environment, support educational development and develop local capacity. These actions in turn help create a more stable and desirable environment in which communities may prosper and businesses may operate in a sustainable manner.

Social Investment

While most companies continue to provide funds and promote sponsorships through well-established philanthropic programs, companies are also becoming more engaged as active partners in addressing community needs and making true social investments. This represents an expanding dialogue and a deepening of involvement with stakeholders to ensure programs and activities are meaningful investments that can be tailored to the needs of the community and have sustainable, long-lasting benefits.


As the world becomes more globally interconnected, there is a rising expectation that business will become more accessible and transparent about its operational values, policies, practices and performance. In response, the industry is taking action to improve the quality, quantity and consistency in reporting its performance and progress in the areas of environmental and social-economic stewardship. For example the API, IPIECA and OGP sponsored the development periodic updating of the Oil and Gas Industry Guidance on Voluntary Sustainability Reporting to provide a convenient template for comparable reporting to ensure better understanding and communication of the industry’s sustainability performance measurement and reporting practices.

Public Security

Recognizing the vital importance of a safe, reliable energy supply to our nation’s and the world’s prosperity, API member companies are actively working within the industry and with government agencies to increase the security of their operations and to prevent terrorist acts from interfering with the delivery of products that people depend upon daily to maintain their quality of life and peace of mind. From protecting plants and infrastructure to training with local emergency response teams, companies have long recognized and responded to the need to protect their workers, communities, and energy supplies through a variety of standards, procedures and guidelines. These efforts, in addition to serving as a protection for the general public, are also effective against acts of vandalism and terrorism.