Marco Stampa, sustainability governance manager at Italian oil and gas services giant Saipem, gave a talk during the recent SIRM Forum in Bern on how the role of sustainability has grown at the company since he joined in 2008.
Stampa explained how sustainability has developed from a philanthropic exercise, ‘doing something good for our community’, into a value-creation tool.
As an oil and gas company, Saipem is part of the energy transition. For example, the company has been involved in developing floating windfarms and producing green hydrogen from renewable sources, explained Stampa.
With global sustainable investment worldwide worth about $35trn, equivalent to almost 36% of total assets under management, renewable energies offer a wealth of opportunities.
Although tangible outcomes are now seen as crucial to a successful sustainability policy, Stampa did acknowledge that defining these targets is challenging. “What is important is the risk management aspect. Identify climate risks and measure them. That is not an easy exercise, it is still very much a work in progress,” he said.
In keeping with the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, Saipem uses a materiality matrix based on the management and stakeholder perspectives, to identify its key risks. Stampa explained: “The matrix shows the company where to communicate, to whom and about what.”
Any risks in the top right-hand corner of the matrix, such as climate change, are a priority for management and stakeholders.
Moreover, the company applies a so-called double materiality approach that incorporates the financial and non-financial perspectives. Saipem is also one of the few companies in its sector to own an internal control system on non-financial sustainability issues, said Stampa.
Saipem has three board of directors committees involved with sustainability: the compensation and nomination committee; the audit and risk committee; and the sustainability, scenarios and governance committee.
Stampa noted: “This is a huge opportunity to bring sustainability to the board.” It basically embeds sustainability issues within the company’s operations.
In conclusion, Stampa said Saipem’s sustainability policy is based on collaboration between departments and areas of expertise. Everyone needs to buy into the concept by cultivating relationships and communicating internally and externally. “The silo mentality can be totally abandoned,” he remarked.