As language and communication specialists, Albion Languages is adept at helping companies plan their communications strategies, supporting the growth of their brand image across multiple countries and languages. At the end of last year, we watched with interest as the COP26 summit made headlines around the world with major oil and gas producers – and the demand for their fuels – brought into sharp focus. In this blog, we will be focusing on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and why ESG communication strategies are so important, especially for those in the oil and gas sector. These companies often have extensive ESG commitments, which need to clearly and concisely demonstrate the industry’s sustainability message in familiar, recognisable language.

What is ESG?

The emergence of the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) movement in 2006 marked a transformation in how corporations were managed, measured, and operated. ESG encouraged companies to move away from the familiar framework of short-term profits and move toward a definition of success not only in terms of profitability but also in the sustainable and measurable contribution to the improvement of society.

ESG has grown to be an area of focus for companies across the oil and gas production chain. A robust and well-communicated ESG programme can offer considerable benefits, not only for investors but also for employees, customers, and business partners.

Changing the messaging

The demand for fossil fuels has not declined. In fact, in 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in an estimated 4.6% increase in global energy demand. The oil and gas industry is thus here to stay. However, the way in which it operates, contributes and communicates needs to change, and this transformation must be clearly conveyed across all markets and in numerous languages.

Most of the large integrated energy companies realise the benefits of comprehensive ESG policies and have begun efforts to reduce and minimise their impact on the environment. Examples include:

Shell Oil
Shell Oil held a shareholder vote this past year to approve its sustainability strategy – it was met with an 89% approval rate. The company’s goal is to reduce its carbon intensity by 100% by 2050.

ExxonMobil announced a four-pronged sustainability framework. The framework includes a $3 billion investment in carbon capture and storage projects.

British Petroleum
BP will invest significant sums in wind, solar, and hydrogen. BP is one of the largest contributors to renewable organisations globally.

What this means for the oil and gas industry

Energy companies are clearly embracing the ESG revolution. This represents a prime opportunity for oil and gas companies to positively change perceptions of the industry. Investing time and money in an appropriate communications strategy is thus key. The industry can make the most of the opportunity and effectively convey how it is working to positively impact upon both the environment and the wider community.

A well-managed community education programme can also offer access to a brand-new talent pool. This social initiative can decrease recruitment costs, improve employee engagement and raise business productivity.

Be mindful of ESG missteps

Albion Languages has been honoured to work with a number of brands on communicating their multilingual ESG messages. The following are some common missteps it’s important to avoid:

Be strategic, concentrate on the most impactful initiatives.

A narrow focus
Remember that all ESG goals need to be addressed. It can be tempting to focus on just one specific area, such as the environment.

Be accountable and report on progress often and thoroughly.

When approached strategically and communicated well, the ESG journey can produce long-term benefits for companies. Good sustainability practices can offer savings over time and may satisfy some of your company’s most important constituencies.

Albion Languages can work closely with your team, providing valuable insights to allow you to pinpoint the exact perceptions which need to be tackled and pair those with suitable ESG initiatives. Such a mindful and systematic approach can result in a robust narrative, designed to challenge opinions and alter the status quo. To discuss how Albion Languages can help you plan your communication strategy in more detail, please get in touch.