The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Case study: How INPEX promotes sustainable water use

INPEX is the largest oil and gas development company in Japan, engaged in exploration, development, and production projects in approximately 20 countries around the world. Recognising that water management is a key task for it, INPEX has been working to reduce influences on water resources.  Tweet This!

This case study is based on the 2020 Sustainability Report by INPEX published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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INPEX has been involved in IPIECA’s (International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association) Water Working Group since FY 2015, to understand international trends in water management and good practices for the oil and gas industry. In order to promote sustainable water use INPEX took action to:

  • identify high water stress areas
  • promote the efficient use of water resources
  • develop water treatment technology

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2020 Sustainability Report INPEX identified a range of material issues, such as complying with laws, preventing bribery and corruption, respecting human rights, securing occupational health and safety, strengthening climate-related risk management. Among these, promoting sustainable water use stands out as a key material issue for INPEX.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups INPEX engages with:

To identify and prioritise material topics INPEX engaged with its stakeholders through the following channels:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Project Partners


·      Regular meetings

·      Regular communication

Contractors ·      Indication of qualifications to prospective suppliers

·      Briefings on qualifications

·      Regular meetings

·      HSE Audits



·      Designated contact

·      Provision of product information

·      Identification of customer needs at service

·      stations

Shareholders and Investors


·      The General Meeting of Shareholders, briefings and exhibitions, IR meetings

·      Issuance of reports (securities report, annual report, presentation slides, etc.)

Local Communities ·      Environmental and social impact assessment

·      Community briefings

·      Various pamphlets

·      Social contribution activities

NGOs ·      Information gathering to solve global social issues

·      Round-table discussions



·      Face-to-face meetings with managers

·      Consultation between labour and management

·      Various training and study abroad programmes

·      Internal magazines

Oil and Gas Producing Countries ·      Communication at each project phase (tender, approval process of development plan; development and production; decommissioning)

What actions were taken by INPEX to promote sustainable water use?

In its 2020 Sustainability Report INPEX reports that it took the following actions for promoting sustainable water use:

  • Identifying high water stress areas
  • INPEX has checked to see whether its operational sites are included in a high water stress area using “AQUEDUCT,” a water risk mapping tool developed by World Resources Institute (WRI). The tool is used to assess and investigate water availability prior to the commencement of a project. As of December 31, 2019, there were no projects operating in high water stress areas.
  • Promoting the efficient use of water resources
  • The effective utilisation of water resources is one of INPEX’s corporate environmental targets. Based on this target, INPEX strives to use water resources efficiently in its domestic and overseas operational sites. INPEX’s domestic sites use tap water, industrial water and groundwater as coolants. Groundwater is also used as a coolant for power generation and for snow melting. INPEX has adopted a circulating system for cooling water and installed a sensor equipped with an automatic shutoff system for snow melting to reduce water consumption. For overseas projects, from FY 2019, INPEX started field surveys of water use at facilities within the LNG plant of the Ichthys LNG Project which started operation in FY 2018. To reduce water use at the plant, INPEX is looking into the feasibility of reusing water—such as wastewater from processing as well as wastewater and condensed steam from power generation facilities—taking into consideration cost effectiveness.
  • Developing water treatment technology
  • From FY 2015 to 2017, INPEX conducted a pilot project at its Sotoasahikawa plant in Akita Prefecture in collaboration with Chiyoda Corporation and METAWATER, under the support of JOGMEC (Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation) to test the ceramic membrane filtration of produced water. This technology is expected, once established, to further reduce the environmental negative impacts of produced water discharges. The joint studies have started to collaborate with JOGMEC since FY 2018 and the pilot test for commercial use of this technology has been currently ongoing. Together with achieving a total operation time of 10,000 hours by March 31, 2020, INPEX has constructed a produced water processing facility and continues to operate without accident and occupational injury during the entire operating period of approximately four and a half years.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standard addressed in this case is: Disclosure 303-1 Interactions with water as a shared resource

Disclosure 303-1 Interactions with water as a shared resource corresponds to:


80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.

FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE

By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

Most importantly, you will gain the knowledge to use the GRI Standards, project manage your own first-class sustainability report and:

  • Identify your most important impacts on the Environment, Economy and Society
  • Begin taking solid, focused, all-round sustainability action ASAP



1) This case study is based on published information by INPEX, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:


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