At Great Western, our mission is to produce energy in a safe and responsible manner so we can improve people’s lives. A strong and evolving ESG framework has helped us live up to this goal, and we hope that others in the industry can learn from a few elements of our ESG plan that have led to success.
While all three pillars of an ESG strategy are important, in our industry, environmental matters take center stage. Our company has maintained a laser focus on how we impact the environment that we operate in and is continually looking for ways to be better stewards of this irreplaceable resource.
Technological development is an important way that members of the energy industry can make a significant environmental impact. For example, water management has been one focus of our ESG policy. Like many of our peers, we have been deploying technologies to reduce the amount of fresh water used in operations, and reuse water as often as can be safely done. We have also been working at reducing greenhouse gas emissions through technological innovations and operational efficiencies and since 2015, we have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 48%. Away from the work site, our company tries to preserve wildlife in our surrounding areas. One way we do this is though our partnership with the Butterfly Pavilion in Broomfield, CO to determine the pollinators on this land in order to plant long-term landscaping on our facility berms that benefit the species and pollinators as part of the reclamation process. This project, to our knowledge, is the first of its kind in Colorado.
Companies in the natural gas and oil industry can create effective social policies by focusing on the betterment of employees, supplier relationships, and how interactions are handled with local communities where energy development is conducted.
At Great Western, we are committed to creating a positive social environment where all workplace injuries can be prevented. Some ways we do this is through the use of continuous monitoring devices at field locations, strict compliance with OSHA requirements, and conducting thousands of hours of training each year to create awareness of safety risks and to prevent accidents.
Another element of our social focus is our commitment to the communities that we operate in. Last year our employees spent more than 500 hours volunteering in their communities, and we supported 53 non-profits and civic organizations. Our employees also served more than 45,000 meals at foodbanks through the Great Western Holiday Giving Campaign. We upped our stewardship budget by 50% for the year 2020, and these resources are going to be directed to projects in the communities in which we operate. In the face of the unanticipated COVID crisis, our social investment team identified areas of critical support through food banks, energy assistance programs, and family services groups to answer the unprecedented needs our communities have faced.
Finally, companies in our industry can improve their corporate governance structure with a renewed focus on avoiding conflicts of interest, strict oversight responsibility assigned to senor leaders, and the maintenance of positive relationships with regulators and lawmakers.
We have a diverse and experienced leadership team; in fact, over 35% of managers in our organization are women. Our diverse experience at senior levels allows us to see issues from different perspectives and arrive at solutions that are good for the company, investors and a multitude of external stakeholders. We create memoranda of understanding with local governments that ensure our work is compatible with the future use of the places where we operate. We are also members of state trade associations, including COGA, which help guide our internal governance policies and allows us to influence other market participants and stakeholders. We hold leadership positions within organizations that foster economic development and the broader business community, both to represent our industry and establish a critical voice in the communities where we operate.
ESG forms the basis for operations at Great Western, and each year we continue to expand deeper into each pillar. Our board and management team share a commitment to ESG, and that has resulted in a strong company with a healthy work environment, thriving communities, and a high level of stakeholder engagement. We would encourage other energy industry participants to adopt a strong ESG framework – it will benefit your employees and stakeholders – all of this will ultimately benefit your company.
About Great Western Petroleum
At Great Western, our company’s mission is to produce energy in a safe and responsible way to improve people’s lives.
We do this by operating on a set of core values, combined with the nation’s most rigorous regulatory standards, and collaborative, transparent relationships with the communities where we live and operate. Our management team and board both share these commitments and direct our company’s business plan and policies in a way that reflects our values in every angle of our operations.
We are Great Western, and we are #CommittedToColorado.