Marking a new chapter of heightened corporate transparency, responsibility and accountability, CITGO Petroleum Corp. released its first-ever report detailing the company’s extensive environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives.
The new report, “A Clear Direction Forward,” represents a significant shift in the company’s prior approach to corporate responsibility reporting, with an increased emphasis on ethics and governance accountability.
“A Clear Direction Forward” places CITGO among a growing number of forward-thinking corporations choosing to issue regular ESG reports, a more comprehensive and transparent method of reporting sustainability and societal impact metrics to a broader group of stakeholders.
“CITGO has never been more dedicated to our core values of environmental stewardship, integrity, respect, fairness, social responsibility, operational availability and competitiveness,” said CITGO President and CEO Carlos Jordá. “This report shows those CITGO core values at work.”
The CEO pointed to improved corporate governance as a particular area of emphasis. “When the CITGO board of directors was appointed in 2019, one of its key objectives was to review and strengthen corporate governance,” said Jordá, “We are particularly gratified with the significant progress we’ve made infusing good governance practices across the company.”
Highlights of the Report
- Environmental performance data detailing reductions of 96% and 65%, respectively, in SO2 (sulfur dioxide) and NOx (nitrous oxides) emissions (2004-2019), as well as the company’s impressive reductions in water use at its three refineries.
- The company’s first-ever statement addressing climate change, including support for legislation aimed at curbing greenhouse gases.
- The extraordinary remediation and restoration of 350-acre Petty’s Island, New Jersey – once home to a CITGO terminal – into an urban wildlife preserve and destination for ecotourism and environmental education.
- A detailed description of comprehensive steps taken to enhance corporate governance, internal controls, compliance and ethics since the appointment of a new CITGO Petroleum Corporation Board of Directors in 2019, including: Appointment of the first-ever CITGO Chief Compliance & Ethics Officer, reporting directly to the CEO and to the audit committee of the board of directors; an enhanced Integrity Hotline, where anyone can confidentially report compliance or ethics concerns without fear of reprisal; creation of a newly overhauled “Code of Business Conduct”; establishment of six compliance and ethics teams throughout the organization; regular training for employees on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and relevant compliance and ethics training for employees on a general or targeted basis.
- Data on the company’s leadership in workplace diversity and gender equity, with 37% minority and 36% female representation as of December 2019, respectively, at the professional level, and multiple women in key leadership roles at the corporate executive level, including former board chairwoman and general auditor.
- Metrics demonstrating outstanding workplace safety performance at CITGO, with incident rates below refining industry averages each year since 2015.
- The numerous national awards CITGO has recently garnered, including EPA ENERGY STAR designation, AFPM Elite Gold Safety Award, ILTA Safety Excellence Award and API Distinguished Pipeline Safety Award, to name but a few.
- Details on the company’s steadfast commitment to meet the immediate and long-term health needs of the most vulnerable in and from Venezuela – in light of the country’s complex humanitarian crisis – through the Simón Bolívar Foundation, the company’s 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation.
- Examples of the company’s ongoing commitment to corporate social responsibility, including extensive efforts to assist communities severely impacted by Hurricane Harvey, employee volunteer efforts via TeamCITGO, contributions via organizations like the United Way and Rebuilding Together and the multi-decade CITGO partnership with the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).
Diversity, Transparency & Accountability
“When the new board of directors and management team joined CITGO in 2019, we focused on institutionalizing best practices at CITGO and the Simon Bolivar Foundation – and elevating the importance of diversity and inclusion,” said former CITGO chairwoman and current board member Luisa Palacios. “The results are evident in a more socially responsible company that strives to be an outstanding corporate citizen, prioritizes integrity and transparency and is driving progress in diversity with the appointment of multiple women to key corporate leadership roles for the first time.”
CITGO emphasized that this increased focus on transparency and accountability to a broad set of stakeholders – embodied in the inaugural release of “A Clear Direction Forward” – will be an ongoing corporate priority.
“We will continue working to protect our people, communities and our planet through actions that are guided by sound judgment and strong adherence to our corporate code of ethics – and we will transparently report our progress,” said CEO Carlos Jordá, “It’s who we are.”
Headquartered in Houston, CITGO is ranked as the sixth-largest and one of the most complex independent refiners in the United States. CITGO transports and markets transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products and supplies a network of more than 4,500 locally owned and operated branded retail outlets, all located east of the Rocky Mountains.