Embedding sustainability into projects

Assessing our projects

When we plan or develop new activities, or make changes to existing ones, we apply a staged project development process (see diagram) and seek to be consistent around the world. We embed sustainability across our projects by:

  • conducting integrated assessments on the potential environmental, social and health impacts. These may include specialist studies on topics such as water, cultural heritage or security; and
  • engaging with communities to understand concerns they may have and discuss possible ways to address these concerns.

These assessments help us to manage and reduce potential impacts at all stages of the project. We also draw on international standards, such as those of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, to guide our engagement with communities.

Our people

We train our teams to understand how to embed sustainability into our projects. They are supported by specialists in the areas of, for example, environmental management, health and social performance including, but not limited to:

  • biodiversity, waste, energy and water management; and
  • indigenous peoples’ rights, cultural heritage and resettlement.

The specialists work with the project team to help manage potential impacts on communities or the environment during project design, construction and operation.

Our process

At each review stage in the project development process, we decide if and how we are going to move forward with the project. This includes balancing short- and long-term interests, and integrating economic, environmental and social considerations into our decision-making.

The results of all assessments are documented in a project-management plan which is approved by the manager accountable for the project. The plan is updated and its implementation is monitored and reviewed throughout the lifespan of the project.

Project Processes in Practice


Project development stage

Identify and assess
Decommission and restore
Magnifying glass (icon)Magnifying glass (icon)

Identify people who may be interested in or affected by the project.

Speech bubble (icon)Speech bubble (icon)

Engage with stakeholders (e.g. communities, host governments and NGOs) and feed responses into our risk analyses and decision making process.

Microscope (icon)Microscope (icon)

Conduct baseline studies of the local environment (e.g. water, biodiversity, social livelihoods) and consider how the project may affect it.

Pencil (icon)Pencil (icon)

Based on assessment of potential impacts and stakeholder engagement, identify mitigation and enhancement measures, e.g. change a pipeline route or reduce water used.

Clipboard (icon)Clipboard (icon)

Implement mitigation plan through project development and construction and then in ongoing operations.