This paper presents the findings of a research project and the content of IPIECA’s “Practitioner Note on Monitoring and Evaluation of Social Investment,” which focus on the challenges faced by companies that are considering an increase in stakeholder demand for evidence-based reporting of social investment (SI). The note builds on the evolving experiences of practitioners in the oil and gas industry and the emerging and ever-evolving field of monitoring and evaluation (M&E).
From 2015 to 2016, IPIECA undertook a research project to assess the content of its 2008 SI Guidance. While the research concluded that the principles of the guidance remain valid and useful, a conclusion also was reached that the document did not reflect the latest thinking on key SI issues and approaches. As a result, a series of practitioner notes were produced to present practical information on current industry practices on issues related to SI. The notes were produced by collecting information through more than 50 telephone interviews with practitioners from IPIECA member companies and external stakeholders, as well as a literature review.
IPIECA’s research found that companies in the oil and gas sector were facing challenges related to the M&E of SI in three areas: how to measure accurately the socioeconomic or developmental effects of their SI efforts at the asset level, how to demonstrate better the added value of SI to the business at the asset level, and how to demonstrate better the collective results of SI efforts across a company’s global activities at the corporate level. Companies in the oil and gas sector were found to have reviewed their SI approach in recent years; with an increased focus on being able to demonstrate results, a renewed emphasis and increased rigor on M&E has been seen and, in some cases, a need to redesign a company’s entire SI approach (e.g., how SI is shaped, tracked, and communicated).
IPIECA’s practitioner note helps address the challenges faced by oil and gas companies by describing the need for better M&E of SI, demonstrating how to design an M&E framework for SI, highlighting the need to strengthen reporting procedures to communicate the company’s SI performance better both internally and to external stakeholders, and highlighting approaches to quantify the added value of social investment in monetary terms.
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