Environmental management approach
We conduct our business in a manner that is responsive to the environmental and economic needs of the communities in which we operate. ExxonMobil considers risks at every stage of development, and we continuously work to mitigate those risks and improve our environmental performance. Our Operations Integrity Management System (OIMS) is a management framework that helps put our Corporate Environment Policy into action and establishes common worldwide expectations for addressing risks inherent in our business, including environmental risks.
Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Our approach to managing biodiversity and ecosystem services recognizes several factors, including the rarity of individual species, their roles in different ecosystems and habitats, their vulnerabilities and their cultural significance. ExxonMobil closely examines the environmental context of the areas where we operate to identify biodiversity and ecosystem services risks and appropriate protective measures.
ExxonMobil works to manage our water use and to limit adverse impacts to water resources and consumers from our withdrawals and discharges, taking into consideration factors such as quality and availability. In 2016, the net freshwater consumption at our operations was 290 million cubic meters, a decrease of more than 3 percent from the 2015 consumption of 300 million cubic meters and a more than 9 percent decline since 2007. In some instances, due to unique geological conditions, oil and gas operations may trigger seismic activity. We support risk management and mitigation approaches to seismicity that take into consideration the relative risks associated with the specific context and geography of the proposed operation. Mitigation methods include assessing factors such as fluid volume, formation character, tectonic setting, operating experience and local construction standards.
We take a rigorous approach to assessing and managing the potential impacts of a spill on water or land with a particular emphasis on risk management, operations integrity and containment capabilities. We are proud to report that, as a result of these efforts, we had fewer spills in 2016 compared with 2015. Over the past 10 years, ExxonMobil has reduced the global number of spills greater than 1 barrel by more than 13 percent.
In accordance with regulatory requirements and our commitment to maintaining operational excellence, we work to reduce air emissions associated with our operations and the products we deliver. ExxonMobil’s combined emissions of volatile organic compounds, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides have decreased by almost 40 percent over the past 10 years across all of our businesses.
Throughout the life cycle of a producing oil field or other asset, we work to limit disruptions to local communities and protect the environment. We ensure that decommissioning activities are planned and conducted to appropriately manage risks and, where possible, create beneficial land use opportunities. We are committed to the sustainable stewardship of surplus properties. ExxonMobil Environmental Services (EMES) — our global organization that provides guidance and supports the remediation and stewardship of surplus sites — has managed more than $6.6 billion of remediation work and returned more than 2,300 property parcels to beneficial end uses since 2008.