North Dakota, the nation’s second largest oil-producing state, will strive to become carbon-neutral by decade’s end, Gov. Doug Burgum said Wednesday.

At the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, Burgum cited the global energy sustainability effort that North Dakota intends to join. He encouraged the oil and gas industry representatives in the audience to support the initiative.

Reiterating a slogan of “innovation, not regulation,” Burgum said North Dakota is facing a global challenge embodied in environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives.

“ESG has become a major topic for everyone, and if you’re a public company it doesn’t matter if you make software or produce oil and gas, this is a board room topic around the world. And if you’re a...