HIV/AIDS is global health issue which has a direct impact on the oil and gas industry. We were interested in looking at the oil and gas sector to understand if the response of this group was similar to that of the Fortune Global 100 (FG 100). We were also interested in understanding the drivers behind corporate responses to HIV/AIDS, in particular the role of operations in high prevalence areas such as Africa. Further, we wanted to know if companies who have adopted stand alone HIV/AIDS policies were limiting their efforts to passive policies preventing discrimination or if they were taking a proactive position of committing resources to prevention and/or treatment.

Methods: We reviewed the websites of the 2007 FG 100 and of a composite list of oil and gas related companies from the FG 500 and contacted 105 of these companies by e-mail or telephone. We looked specifically for 3 indicators; a corporate stand alone HIV/AIDS policy, HIV/AIDS initiatives and whether a company was a member of the GBC.

Key findings: We found that only 14 percent of the FG 100 had adopted stand alone HIV/AIDS policies, whereas 57 percent of the oil and gas companies in the FG 100 had policies. Twenty-six (26) percent of the broader oil and gas industry sector (OGIS) had HIV/AIDS policies. Seventy one (71) percent of FG 100 oil and gas companies document HIV/AIDS initiatives on their website compared with 36 percent of the FG 100 companies outside the oil and gas sector. The oil and gas sector were more likely to be members of the GBC than non-oil and gas companies.

Many companies indicated that they felt HIV/AIDS was better addressed as part of broader corporate non-discrimination and worker health policies. Of the 18 corporate level HIV/AIDS policies identified, all but 2 could be characterized as proactive including preventative measures and in some cases voluntary testing and treatment programs. Only 1 policy limited the corporate role to preventing discrimination. One (1) policy did not require the company to take an active role beyond philanthropic support of community based programs.

The data suggest that the oil and gas industry has demonstrated leadership in the corporate response to HIV/AIDS. Nevertheless, there continues to be room for improvement as many companies in the sector are still not engaged. Better metrics and benchmarking opportunities may prove the best path forward for increasing the level of response and generating a more consistent approach across the oil and gas industry sector.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.