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The paradox of voluntary conformance often has challenges. In the case of sustainability reporting by companies, a still largely voluntary activity of global businesses, the closest framework to a gold standard is the G3 of Global Reporting Initiative, an institution based in The Netherlands. In this presentation, using the example of the ‘people’ content of the 2009 sustainability reports of 4 IOCs operating in Nigeria – Shell, Eni, Chevron and ExxonMobil – we demonstrate the fudging effect of the inconsistency in the application of the workforce performance indicators of the G3 framework and its consequence for an overall transparent reporting on the subject. This becomes poignant in view of the near perennial industrial crises in the Nigerian petroleum industry due to allegation of unethical labour practices of the local operations of these companies. The presentation concludes by drawing out lessons for all three constituencies – (1) reporting standard setters which must now clarify their ‘people’ reporting requirements to elicit material and transparent information on the global workforce, (2) local stakeholders and the civil society who must adopt the new tool of reporting engagement besides the traditional strike action and (3 reporting organisations which must move towards a more result-oriented conformance with reporting frameworks.