Last week, the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) issued new regulations for oil and gas operations that use hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on federal and Indian lands. The announcement came just four days after EO published its draft EO100 for Shale Oil and Gas standards, a supplement to the foundational EO100 Standard, for operations that use fracking. Both announcements were significant and novel steps toward making fracking operations safer for people and the environment, but each takes a unique approach and applies to a different scope of impacts from shale development and fracking. How are they alike and how are they different? We took an initial look at the DOI’s fracking rule (which ...> Read more
Say the word “fracking” to anyone who has heard it before, and you are likely to get a big reaction. To most, fracking is either the key to unlocking energy independence and an economic blessing or a pathway to public health disasters and irreversible environmental destruction. While both opinions contain a kernel of truth, neither is completely accurate. At EO, we view fracking and the shale development boom it is driving as realities of a new energy landscape that must be studied, monitored, and regulated in new and better ways. Most importantly, we believe fracking is in dire need of clear, effective, and independently-developed standards for social and environmental performance. That’s why we launched the public comment period on our draft EO100 ...> Read more
On March 4, Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) hosted EO and guests for a screening of “Oil & Water,” panel discussion, and Q&A session. The event, Paying the True Price of Oil: Energy Environment, Community, and Corporate Responsibility drew a large audience and sparked productive and eye-opening discussions of energy development impacts and approaches to mitigating them around the world.
Panelists included Josh Fisher, Director of the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity (AC4), Lisa Sachs of the Columbia Center on Sustainable development and David Poritz, the President and Co-founder of EO. Ellen Morris, Adjunct Professor and Founding Partner of Embark Energy and Sustainable Energy Solutions, moderated the discussion. Steve Cohen, Executive Director of Columbia’s Earth Institute, kicked off the event with an introduction that emphasized the importance of working toward responsible development practices even as the world transitions away from fossil fuels.
At the core of the discussion were the issues of community engagement, investment as a tool for leveraging better development practices, and the notion of leveling the playing field in negotiations between companies and citizens. Josh Fisher evoked constructive dialogue by suggesting that in order to reach equitable outcomes in bargaining between local communities and extractive companies, it is essential to establish Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as well as social license(s) to operate. With regards to social impact investment, Lisa Sachs suggested that there are “lots of ‘ifs’ for investment to succeed at reducing [negative] impacts; but oil and gas is the sector with the biggest transformative potential.” Herein lies a thread at the heart of EO’s mission: informing investors about companies and sites that are harnessing that transformative potential. Sachs was keen to point out that social impact investors define sustainability to include “long-term holistic approach(s), that effectively manage impacts.”
In addition to investment as a lever to influence company behavior, Fisher noted that revenue and reputation are highly influential factors on internal decision-making ...> Read more
There are many different approaches that can be taken to reduce the negative social and environmental impacts of irresponsible oil and gas development in the Amazon and around the world, and combining them all is the best way to achieve positive results. That was the takeaway from Oil’s True Cost: Exploring Solutions, an event hosted by Equitable Origin in Oakland, California last week. The event kicked off on Thursday evening with a screening of “Oil and Water,” followed by Q&A with one of the film’s directors and its two subjects, and wrapped up with a discussion by a panel of experts. The purpose of the ...> Read more
Last month, EO President David Poritz, and Director of Communications Josh Garrett traveled to Phoenix Arizona to attend the 2015 GreenBizForum. The three-day annual conference serves as a platform for various stakeholders within a wide array of industries to explore progress and developments in corporate sustainability and responsibility. GreenBiz, conference sustainable business media company, describes the Forum as a gathering of the leading innovators in the space: “We leverage our vast networks, insights and domain expertise to bring you the brightest thinkers and most influential leaders.” Some of the major sponsors for the event included General Motors, Shell, and Solar City. As a company on the forefront of innovation in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) business, this event was a prime opportunity to showcase and discuss the value of EO’s work.
Poritz gave a 10-minute presentation on the roots ...> Read more
EO has gained recognition as a positive influence on business in Colombia, in the form of certification under the country’s national brand, Marca Pais. Given that Colombia’s oil productions now exceeds 1 million barrels per day, an amount that has steadily increased since 2008, it is vital that steps be taken to ensure industry-wide social and environmental responsibility. Additionally, the first EO100 certified site is located in Colombia, and is currently the largest producing site in the country. As a proud member of Marca Pais, EO will work to maintain open dialogue with government bodies and the oil and gas industry while bolstering transparency and innovative approaches to responsible development.
The national brand was established to encourage business activity, tourism, and foreign investment through added value ...> Read more
Earlier this month, EO officially joined the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) as an affiliate member. ICCR is an alliance of faith-based and social value-driven groups that use investment management as a means of influencing positive change. As a member, EO will join a network of socially responsible businesses and investors who share the goal of encouraging better practices in corporate activity. An integral part of ICCR’s overarching mission is “facilitating development of strategic goals; [and] developing criteria to measure company progress.” The quantifiable and well-defined parameters of the EO100 Standard, make it a useful tool for investors to measure the social and environmental performance of oil and gas operations.
The growing movement of socially responsible investing or sustainable, responsible and impact investing (SRI) is an investment discipline that takes into account environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG ...> Read more
As more oil and gas companies seek to certify their sites under the EO100 Standard, they will require increasing guidance to implement the operational changes necessary to achieve certification. To facilitate this consultation assistance, EO maintains a roster of Qualified Implementation Consultants.
Today, we are launching a call for Qualified Consultants to join us in advancing higher standards of social and environmental performance in the oil and gas industry.
To support industry adoption of the EO100™ Standard, we are building a network of consultants, service providers and advisors who can help oil and gas companies implement the Standard.
We are looking for experts in areas covered by the EO100 Standard, including social impacts, environmental management, human rights assessments, stakeholder engagement, labor practices, corporate ethics programs and transparency and reporting.
Additional details can be found on this EO100 Qualified Consultants fact ...> Read more
On February 5th, The Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) held a workshop on human rights due diligence in the oil and gas sector. The IHRB is a self-described “think and do tank” that strives to provide expertise in relationship building between international human rights standards and businesses. IHRB prioritizes initiatives “that can have the greatest impact, leverage and catalytic effect focusing on countries in economic and political transition, as well as business sectors that underpin others in relation to the flows of information, finance, workers and/or commodities.”
Given that human rights are one of the six core principles that constitute the foundation for EO’s EO100 certification, it was fitting that EO’s VP of standards and stakeholder engagement, Soledad Mills, represented EO at a workshop. At the workshop, Mills explained the importance of EO’s work ...> Read more
From January 13th to 15th, Equitable Origin convened a meeting in Ecuador’s coastal province of Esmeraldas with leaders and representatives of a number of indigenous groups in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The purpose of the meeting was to consult with indigenous groups of the region on the EO100 Standard, collect input on the impacts of oil and gas industry activity in the region, and discuss the effects of low oil prices on the responsible production practices.
The meeting began with an introduction by Franco Viteri, president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (known by its Spanish acronym, CONFENIAE) introducing attendees ...> Read more