As a core part of our commitment to maintaining the highest standards of ethical behavior, we actively support transparent government revenue reporting, a responsibility we share with our extractive industry peers.
We recognize that public disclosure of payments companies make to governments and governmental use of those payments strengthens accountability and good governance, reduces corruption, and promotes greater economic stability. To achieve the shared goal of revenue transparency, we participate in transparency capacity building initiatives, as well as a variety of multi-stakeholder discussions.
Since 2006, we have provided in-kind support of TRACE International workshops in Chad and Equatorial Guinea. TRACE conducts two-day anti-bribery law events that begin with a workshop for the local staff of TRACE member companies, including ExxonMobil and their local contractors, and conclude with a high-level anti-bribery compliance forum designed for government officials of the host country. These events, which draw the full support and participation of local ExxonMobil management and staff, help local governments and contractors understand and comply with international anti-corruption conventions. We plan to work with TRACE in 2012 to conduct another workshop in West Africa.
In August 2011, ExxonMobil participated in a Revenue Watch Institute capacity building program, hosted by the Catholic University of Central Africa in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The program brought together almost 40 civil society representatives from eight African countries. ExxonMobil presented on a variety of topics to provide participants with a business perspective of the basic knowledge and tools for responsible revenue management and reporting. We will continue participating in similar programs around the world to help develop global transparency practices.
ExxonMobil has actively participated in Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) since its inception in 2002 at both the secretariat and country levels, including continuous participation on the EITI board as either a primary or alternate member. Nearly 20 countries where we have operations are in the process of becoming, or have become, EITI members. The Corporation is supporting the application, validation, and membership processes of EITI participating countries such as Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Chad, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, and Norway and of potential new EITI countries including Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, and the United States.
ExxonMobil’s practical experience implementing EITI has shown that the best results are obtained when countries begin their disclosure processes in line with their own legislation, culture, and traditions, and adopt simple and straightforward mechanisms that ensure multi-stakeholder engagement and commitments. The level of aggregation and granularity of disclosure needs to consider each country’s laws and capacity. It also needs to protect individual companies’ proprietary information. Where disaggregated industry reporting is required, we work with that government and other interested parties.
Excessively detailed and disaggregated disclosure would necessitate the development of a separate set of global systems to capture, calculate, allocate, aggregate, and validate the data in ways that would not materially support transparency objectives. ExxonMobil estimates that project-specific reporting could be both costly and difficult to implement. We believe that transparency disclosure rules should be written so as to not conflict with host country laws or contractual obligations. Project-specific disclosure called for in the Dodd-Frank financial reform could place certain publicly traded, private sector companies at a competitive disadvantage from securing new business opportunities, both by disclosing sensitive commercial data and by imposing different reporting standards on private versus state-owned companies.