Principle 5: Climate Change, Biodiversity & Environment


SO 14001:2004: Environmental management systems — Requirements with guidance for use

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a worldwide federation of national standards-setting bodies. ISO 14001:2004 specifies requirements for environmental management systems, and provides guidance on how to create an environmental policy among other essential elements.


Mitigation Hierarchy

Environmental Mitigation Policy for British Columbia
Ministry of Environment website overviewing the mitigation hierarchy concept.

Mitigation and compensation in environmental assessment
Overview of the components of the mitigation hierarchy and how they can be applied during the environmental assessment process.


Climate Change

International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (OGP) Petroleum industry guidelines for reporting greenhouse gas emissions (2011)
Industry-specific guidelines for voluntary accounting and reporting of GHG emissions.
Oil and natural gas industry guidelines for greenhouse gas reduction projects.
Greenhouse gas emissions reporting: Perspectives on voluntary and regulatory reporting.
Greenhouse gas emissions estimation and inventories: Addressing uncertainty and accuracy mechanisms, and emerging changes in practice.

IPIECA maintains several guidance documents on GHG emissions for oil and gas operations
Documents include “Greenhouse gas emissions reporting” and “Carbon capture and storage.”

World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development – Greenhouse Gas Protocol
The most widely used international accounting tool for government and business leaders to understand, quantify and manage greenhouse gas emissions.

American Petroleum Institute (API) Template For GHG Reporting
The API developed a template for GHG reporting that provides a core set of GHG indicators with standardized names, units, and definitions of the reporting boundaries, including across the value chain of the natural gas and oil industry. The template includes sections on GHG Mitigation and Additional Climate-related Targets and Reporting that provide companies a way to demonstrate GHG emissions reduction activities.

Net-zero emissions: glossary of terms

This glossary was developed to support the oil and gas industry and other stakeholders in the use of consistent terminology around net-zero emissions. The definitions used in this glossary are based upon those which have been observed in the public domain, including academic papers, industry experience and member companies’ experts.



A Guide to Developing Biodiversity Action Plans for the Oil and Gas Sector, IPIECA (2005)
Guidance for the oil and gas industry to develop and implement Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs) for sites and projects.

Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme (BBOP)
A partnership between companies, financial institutions, governments and civil society organizations that is exploring the concept of biodiversity offsets.

HCV Resource Network.
Primary information source on HCVAs, including guidance on interpreting and understanding the values themselves and identifying the values in the field, threats to these values, and appropriate management and monitoring to ensure the values are maintained. Also contains country pages with information on activities and supporting documents for specific countries and an HCVA practitioners’ database.

International Finance Corporation (IFC) Guidance Note on Performance Standard 6: Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources (2012)
Defines “critical habitat.”



International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (OGP) – Oil Industry operating guideline for tropical rainforest (1991)
This OGP guideline, though aimed at operations in rainforest environments, contains recommendations for minimizing the impacts from land clearing for exploration and production projects in any setting.

United States Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management – Surface Operating Standards and Guidelines for Oil and Gas Exploration and Development (2007)
Commonly referred to as The Gold Book, this guidebook provides information on managing surface impacts of oil and gas operations, including guidelines for clearing, maintaining and reclaiming land for oil and gas projects.

Erosion and Sediment Control Manual (2011)
A manual outlining good practice in identifying and managing erosion and sediment sources; written for transportation-related activities, the guidance is generally applicable to any site where significant land disturbance will take place.

Underlying principles of restoration, A.D. Bradshaw (1996)
Defines the key principles of restoration, including the different approaches that may be available and how to measure “successful” restoration.



The World Bank – Environmental Flows in Water Resources Policies, Plans, and Projects: Findings and Recommendations (2009)
Focuses on the integration of environmental water allocation into integrated water resources management.

The Nature Conservancy – Methods and Tools for Defining Environmental Flows (2008)
Provides an overview of Environmental Flow Assessment (EFA) methodologies, practical applications and advice on choosing the best method for conducting an EFA.

The World Bank – Water Resources Management Policy (1993)
Lays out the Bank’s policies for water resources management.

The World Bank – Water Resources Sector Strategy (2004)
Expands the World Bank’s strategy for water resources by adopting integrated water resources management as a framework for water resource planning and management.

World Health Organization (WHO) – Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality, 4th Edition (2011)
WHO’s guidelines for water quality used for human consumption.

IPIECA maintains several guidance documents on water and water resource management for oil and gas operations
Documents include “Managing water responsibly,” “Global Water Tool for oil and gas,” and “Water resource management in the oil and gas industry.”

International Finance Corporation, Office of the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman – Advisory Note: Participatory Water Monitoring, A Guide for Preventing and Managing Conflict (2008)
A design tool for involving stakeholders in water monitoring programs.



US National Ambient Air Quality Standards (Undated)
Covers carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulates, sulfur dioxide and lead.

International Finance Corporation/World Bank Group Environmental, Health, and Safety Guidelines: Air Emissions and Ambient Air Quality (2007)
Covers a range of pollutants and also describes potential preventative and control technologies.

World Health Organization – Air quality guidelines (2005)
WHO’s work on environmental health provides the basis for global standards in environmental quality.


Noise, Light & Heat

Intermountain Oil & Gas BMP (Best Management Practice) Project
A free-access website of mitigation measures applied to areas being developed for oil and gas, including specific guidance for the management of noise.

“Ecological light pollution,” T. Longcore and C. Rich, Front Ecol Environ 2004; 2(4): 191-198
Examines the influences of artificial night lighting on the behavior and community ecology of species.

International Finance Corporation (IFC) – Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) Guidelines: Environmental, Noise Management (2007)
Noise management guidelines for residential and industrial areas that are commonly used as international standards



U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM): Visual Resource Management
Addresses the U.S. BLM’s Visual Resource Management system and design techniques that can be used to reduce the visual impacts of projects that disturb the surface.

Evaluating Methods for Measuring and Managing the Cumulative Visual Effects of Oil and Gas Development on Bureau of Land Management National Conservation Lands in the Southwestern United States (2009)
A comprehensive review of assessment methods in the specific context of cumulative visual impacts. Although this is a research document, it also includes a useful case study working through the process of assessing cumulative visual impacts.

United States Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management – Surface Operating Standards and Guidelines for Oil and Gas Exploration and Development (2007)
Commonly referred to as The Gold Book, this guidebook contains practices for minimizing visual impacts from oil and gas projects.

Visual Mitigation Guidelines for Oil and Gas Facilities in La Plata County, Colorado (2007)
Gives advice on best management practices for reducing or eliminating visual impacts and how to select the most appropriate options for a specific project context.


Ozone Depletion

Guidance Document for the Offshore Industry on the EU Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) Regulation (EC) No. 1005 / 2009 (2012)
An example of specific regional guidance on inventory and practical management methods for ODS.

Handbook for the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (2019))
Reference source that includes the text of the Protocol.


Waste Management

International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (OGP) – Exploration and Production (E&P) Waste Management Guidelines. Report No. 2.58/196 (1993)
This document presents a general summary of waste management methods, including source reduction, reuse, recycling and recovery, treatment and responsible disposal. It also provides a summary of the principal wastes associated with exploration and production and potential waste management options for selected wastes. Although published in 1993, the fundamentals of the advice remain relevant.

An Integrated Framework for Treatment and Management of Produced Water. Technical Assessment of Produced Water Treatment Technologies. (2009).
Comprehensive literature review and technical assessment of existing and emerging technologies that have been used for treatment of produced water or novel technologies that could be tested and considered in the future.

American Petroleum Institute – Environmental Guidance Document: Waste Management in Exploration and Production Operations (1997)
Guidelines for minimizing the direct and indirect environmental impacts of solid wastes originating from typical exploration and production (E&P) activities.

Guidelines for Commercial Exploration and Production Waste Management Facilities (2001)
American Petroleum Institute’s guidance for design and operation of waste management facilities.

OGP – Guidelines for waste management – with special focus on areas with limited infrastructure (2008)
OGP guidelines for managing the wastes associated with exploration and production operations, especially in areas with less-established oil and gas industry activity.

OGP – Guidelines for produced water injection (2000)
OGP’s guidelines for reinjection of produced water.


Spill Prevention & Emergency Preparedness

Disaster Management in Oil and Gas Industries. 2011. IndianOil Team, Bihar State Office.
Discusses the development of a Disaster Management Plan, including hazard analysis, vulnerability analysis and risk analysis, as well as procedures for preparedness, response and recovery.

International Finance Corporation (IFC) Environmental, Health, and Safety Guidelines for Onshore Oil and Gas Development (2007)
Includes measures for spill prevention and control specific to onshore oil and gas facilities.

IPIECA Oil Spill Preparedness and response report series summary (2008)
Overview of issues that can be referenced in the preparation for, and response to, oil spills at sea.

IOGP Oil Spill Surveillance Planning Guidance

This publication is an addition to the IPIECA-IOGP good practice guide series which summarizes current views on good practice for a range of oil spill preparedness and response topics.



World Bank, Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR)
The GGFR, which was launched at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in August 2002, brings together representatives of government, state-owned companies and major international oil companies. The partnership seeks to share global best practices and implement country-specific programs for reducing flaring and utilizing currently flared gas.

IPIECA Flaring management guidance (2022)

This Flaring management guidance, developed by Ipieca, IOGP and GGFR in partnership, outlines new developments in flaring management and reduction, and examines industry experiences with eliminating flaring, new technologies, business models, operational improvements and regulatory policy. It also features case studies and examples of positive change.

IPIECA Preparing effective flare management plans: Guidance document for the oil and gas industry (2011)

This publication draws on the experience and expertise of the industry, through Ipieca and OGP, and the World Bank-led Global Gas Flaring Reduction Public-Private partnership (GGFR). It is the product of a cooperative effort between the Ipieca GHG Emissions Task Force and GGFR to create a guidance document to support flare reduction efforts by petroleum producers and governments worldwide. The key to addressing gas flaring is the identification of project activities that can successfully bring the gas to more productive use, and the expansion of potential solutions from those attainable by individual oil field operators to solutions that fully employ the capabilities of operators and governments working together.

IPIECA – Oil and natural gas industry guidelines for greenhouse gas reduction projects: flare reduction project family (2009)
Best practices from IPIECA for reduction of GHG emissions associated with flaring.



International Finance Corporation (IFC) – Stakeholder Engagement: A Good Practice Handbook for Companies Doing Business in Emerging Markets. Section on Stakeholder Involvement in Monitoring (2007)
Examines how stakeholder involvement in monitoring can empower local people, increase their understanding of the project and reinforce positive relationships with the Operator, in addition to making a genuine contribution to environmental monitoring.

International Finance Corporation (IFC) Office of the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman – Advisory Note: Participatory Water Monitoring, A Guide for Preventing and Managing Conflict (2008)
A design tool for involving stakeholders in water monitoring programs. Principles included in this document are broadly applicable to other types of participatory monitoring programs.


Reporting & Disclosure

(See also Resources on reporting under Principles 1, 2, 4, and 6)

OGP Report Number 437: Oil and Gas Industry Guidance on Voluntary Sustainability Reporting (2010)
While addressing the full range of sustainability issues and all aspects of oil and gas production, transportation and refining, this guidance includes sections with specific recommendations on reporting on various environmental media. This document was compiled by IPIECA, API and OGP.

Bulletin E4: Environmental Guidance Document: Release Reporting for the Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Industry as Required by the Clean Water Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. American Petroleum Institute (2003)
Available from the American Petroleum Institute
Oil and gas production industry guidance from API on reporting releases of hazardous substances and petroleum as required by U.S. regulatory agencies under the Clean Water Act (CWA); the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA); and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Oil and Gas Sector Supplement
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) provides companies and organizations with a comprehensive sustainability reporting framework that is widely used around the world. The Oil and Gas Sector Supplement provides tailored guidelines for the oil and gas industry.



The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) E1527 – 05 Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process

The purpose of this practice is to define good commercial and customary practice in the United States of America for conducting an environmental site assessment2of a parcel of commercial real estate with respect to the range of contaminants within the scope of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and petroleum products.

The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) E1903 – 11 Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase II Environmental Site Assessment Process
ASTM has established guidelines for conducting desktop/walkover and sampling environmental site assessments (Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments, respectively). While strict adherence to these standards is only practicable in countries with well-developed regulatory and historical data inventory systems, the general procedures are broadly applicable to investigation of environmental liabilities in any setting.

American Petroleum Institute (API) Publication 4709: Risk-Based Methodologies for Evaluating Petroleum Hydrocarbon Impacts at Oil and Natural Gas E&P Sites
Describes screening methodologies for evaluating petroleum contamination using risk-based criteria. These techniques are broadly applicable to ecological impact evaluations, though these are not addressed in this guidance.



OGP – Decommissioning remediation and reclamation guidelines for onshore E&P sites (1996)
Guidelines for reclamation of exploration sites and smaller producing fields in a variety of environments and regulatory settings. Special emphasis is given to settings where regulatory standards for closure and reclamation are lacking.

Towards Sustainable Decommissioning and Closure of Oil Fields and Mines: A Toolkit to Assist Government Agencies (Version 3.0) (2010)
A World Bank report primarily focused on measures required to avoid environmental and socioeconomic issues upon closure of existing projects and the planning required to avoid significant closure-related liabilities for future projects. Although mainly directed at governments, it also contains useful information for Operators on developing a conceptual closure plan (Tool 2: Environmental and Social Best Practice and Management Systems) and provision of finance for closure (Tool 3: Financial Assurance Mechanisms).