Chairman's letter

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods introduces the 2018 Sustainability Report.


I’m proud to share our Sustainability Report for 2018. It details our company’s commitment to responsibly manage our environmental, social and governance performance.

Our industry plays a critical role providing the energy that supports economic growth and improves the quality of life for billions of people around the world. Over the next several decades, populations are projected to grow and the middle class will continue to expand—dynamics that will further the demand for energy. 

Meeting this demand will require significant investment and new production in the energy sector.  Increased demand for energy will also impact emission levels, which underscores the need to continue to pursue emission reduction efforts to mitigate the risks of climate change. 

ExxonMobil is helping address this dual challenge in a variety of ways through researching and developing next-generation technologies, developing products that help customers reduce their emissions, improving energy efficiency and advancing public policy solutions.   

On the technology front, we’re stepping up efforts to research potential breakthrough technology to reduce emissions through collaborations with governments, more than 80 universities, civil society groups and other industry partners. 

Recently, we entered into an agreement with the U.S. National Laboratories to commit up to $100 million to research lower-emissions solutions, including carbon capture and storage. Our decade of research and development of lower-carbon biofuels from algae is progressing through large-scale outdoor testing. We are also furthering our research into evaluating the use of cellulosic sugars from agricultural waste to produce biofuel.  

In addition, we reached agreements with carbon capture technology companies such as Mosaic Materials and Global Thermostat to evaluate ways to scale these promising technologies. And we’re continuing research into how fuel cells might play a role in significantly reducing the costs of carbon capture.

On the policy front, we support the Paris Agreement as a global framework to coordinate government policies. We also support market-based approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including further regulation of methane emissions and a carbon tax.  We believe market-based policies that place a uniform, predictable cost on greenhouse gas emissions more effectively drive consumer behavior and support technology innovation. 

In 2018, we provided financial support for “Americans for Carbon Dividends,” a national education and advocacy campaign to promote the policy goals of the Climate Leadership Council. The CLC calls for the adoption of a carbon fee with the revenues returned to citizens, coupled with regulatory simplification. We also joined the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, an international CEO-led energy company effort dedicated to developing practical solutions to climate change in areas such as carbon capture and storage, methane emission reductions and energy and transportation efficiency. 

While the dual challenge is a critical issue for our company and industry, we are also actively focused on other key sustainability issues including:

  • Advancing worker safety, where we’ve seen an almost 80 percent reduction in our lost-time incident rate since 2000;
  • Reducing plastic waste, where we recently became a founding member of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste; 
  • Advancing human rights by helping to train nearly 17,000 people on the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights; and
  • Creating positive economic development in the communities where we operate.

On this last point, two examples of recent developments stand out. In Papua New Guinea, we’ve increased the percentage of Papua New Guineans in our workforce to 68 percent. In Guyana, the percentage of Guyanese in our local workforce has reached 54 percent, and is expected to increase as oil production begins. Also in Guyana, we’ve established a Centre for Local Business Development to help local businesses enhance their skills, improve competitiveness and participate in the development of the country’s new resource. More than 1,500 Guyanese companies are registered with the center. ExxonMobil and its contractors spent nearly $60 million with almost 500 Guyanese vendors in 2018.   

This year’s Sustainability Report contains many more examples of how ExxonMobil is making a positive contribution to society, and I hope you find this report helpful in understanding our approach. 

I appreciate your interest and engagement in these shared priorities, and welcome your feedback. 


Darren Woods, Chairman and CEO

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Darren Woods