We live in the Age of Petroleum.
Since 1859, when Edwin Drake drilled the nation’s first oil well near Titusville, Pennsylvania, petroleum, natural gas, and their derivatives have come to drive the engines of our economy.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of those drivers. Whether you’re involved with exploration, completion, transportation, storage, refining, or distribution, your activities echo throughout our economy—especially in the communities in which you work.
The Business of Regulation and Compliance
For years, those of us in the oil and gas industry were free to focus on our core businesses: exploration, product development, and distribution. That all changed when the “shadow industry” of regulation and compliance emerged. Today, the inevitability of an increasingly regulatory environment is a given. In fact, Vapor Point’s core business is built around helping you achieve regulatory compliance in the most efficient ways possible.
Regulators and the industries they regulate will always be negotiating mutually acceptable mitigation requirements. But in recent years, concerns about regulation and compliance have consumed more and more of our focus and resources. It would be understandable to view compliance requirements as a distraction to our core business. But we believe that there is a business case to be made for going beyond existing minimum air compliance standards—even for early deployment of vapor mitigation requirements that are on the regulatory horizon, but aren’t yet in place.
In other words, going beyond mere compliance
can be a sound business strategy.
A Broader View of Stakeholders
How? It might help to understand that, as important as shareholders’ traditional financial interests are, it’s a broader collection of stakeholders that determine the overall health of our businesses. Stakeholders include shareholders, employees, contractors, vendors, farmers and ranchers, local communities, customers… the list goes on and on. And it is this group of stakeholders that collectively drive the actions of the regulatory agencies. Accordingly, business decisions should seek to balance and coordinate all stakeholder interests. Shareholder concerns are not diminished, and certainly are not marginalized; instead they become one very important part of a larger synergistic puzzle.
Accounting for Sustainability
Today, more and more forward-thinking companies recognize that a narrow, bottom-line approach to business can ultimately limit profitability and threaten long-term viability. Their business vision and market strategies align in such a way that traditional measures of success must be expanded. New economic metrics are developed that include an integrative approach to ROI, one that considers social and environmental outcomes alongside the P&L. New “triple bottom line” standards of accounting—which connect sustainability investments to employee “buy-in” and customer loyalty—permit analysis of the effects of business decisions on all stakeholders.
Some of the world’s best companies are taking just that approach. Consider this quote from Chevron’s 2010 corporate report:
Our success as a business is inextricably linked to the well-being of our employees and our communities. Across the company, we developed a corporate environmental stewardship process that provides a consistent, systematic, risk-based approach to managing all aspects of the environment, including air, water, biodiversity, and waste.
Even in purely monetary terms, many companies have discovered the benefits of pursuing sustainable practices. DuPont, for instance, estimates that it has saved nearly 3 billion dollars in a two-decade effort to reduce carbon emissions.
Beyond Compliance — Market Advantages
at Every Scale
The benefits of being proactive with air compliance apply to businesses of every size. Here are just a few of the concrete ways that going beyond compliance can pay immediate and long-term dividends.
Enhancing Safety and Mitigating Risk
You already have a deep company stake in safe operations. Safety efforts save countless man-hours in lost time, and countless dollars in the avoidance of punitive financial settlements that come with accidents. Initiatives to minimize hazardous vapors are simply extensions of your acknowledged responsibility for safeguarding your employees, your communities, and the environment.
The fact that hazardous vapors disperse in the atmosphere might make their effects on human health and the environment difficult to measure. But it is that very dispersion that presents a problem; when it “smells like money,” it also smells like risk. Health issues related to vapor releases could become actionable decades into the future.
Going beyond compliance enhances safety today and minimizes risk tomorrow— ensuring your company’s long-term sustainability.