Certified-Responsible Renewable Energy: Good for the World, Good for the Neighborhood

Aug. 11, 2015 | Written by Josh Garrett

By working to certify renewable energy projects as responsible, EO hopes to align benefits to local stakeholders, local environments, and the global climate.

Climate change is the most urgent challenge facing modern civilization. Since the vast majority of climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions come from energy—specifically burning fossil fuels for transportation and electricity generation—shifting to low- and no-carbon renewable energy sources is a crucial strategy to curb climate change and avoid global catastrophe.

But if you trace renewable energy back to its source—turbines spinning in the wind, solar panels soaking up sunlight, or rivers driving hydroelectric generators—it has more in common with oil and gas than many people realize. Just like an oil or gas well, a solar farm is an industrial installation that can have profound impacts on surrounding people and ecosystems. And as is the ...

> Read more

EO is Hiring: Program Coordinator

Aug. 10, 2015 | Written by Equitable Origin

If you or someone you know are interested in joining our New York City team, now's your chance!

We are currently hiring a Program Coordinator to support a variety of Equitable Origin systems and activities.

We're looking for driven, dynamic professionals committed to EO's mission. So if you fit that description, take a look at the Program Coordinator job description and follow the instructions to apply.

We look forward to hearing from you! > Read more

EO Framework Attracts Attention of International Development Scholars

July 18, 2015 | Written by Rudy Sanfilippo

EO President and Co-Founder David Poritz speaks at a community workshop in Esmeraldas, Ecuador in January 2015.

EO’s model for responsible energy production and our work with communities and companies, particularly in Latin America, has led to increasing recognition from various academics. Our pioneering work in the Amazon Basin during the organization’s early years offers unique insights and lessons for academics and researchers interested in local communities’ experiences with extractive industries in the region. Being the first organization to advocate for local populations with a system of voluntary standards built on the input of multiple stakeholders, EO has proven to be a focal point for research in the realm of human rights and energy development.

Last month, a discussion paper written for the Global Economic Governance Initiative at Boston University entitled “A Line in the Equatorial Forests: Chinese ...

> Read more

Talking Fracking’s Water Risks with the Shareholder Activists of ICCR and an Up-Close View of Fracking Impacts in Texas

June 30, 2015 | Written by Josh Garrett

A drilling rig rises over cattle in a pasture in the Eagle Ford shale region of Southeast Texas.

Since the release of our draft standards for shale development, we have been focusing a lot of our attention on fracking. As we review and refine the draft standards, we at Equitable Origin want to know: what are the most pressing public health and environmental risks posed by fracking operations, according to the latest scientific research? What are the best practices industry can use to minimize those risks?

Those questions led me to San Antonio, Texas for the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) Annual General Meeting in early June. ICCR is a faith-based shareholder activist group that uses its ownership of corporate stock to advocate for companies’ improvement of their social and environmental practices. I was invited to the meeting to ...

> Read more

Indigenous Group in Southeastern Ecuador Embraces EO100 Standard at Community Workshop

June 10, 2015 | Written by Rudy Sanfilippo

EO Senior Advisor and former Secretary General of OPEC in Vienna and Minister of Energy and Mines in Ecuador, Rene Ortiz addresses attendees at the workshop in Puyo, Ecuador.

In late May of this year, two members of the EO team traveled to Puyo, Ecuador and led a stakeholder engagement workshop with members of the indigenous people’s organization Comuna San Jacinto del Pindo de Pastaza. Senior Advisor, Rene Ortiz and Director of Socio-environmental Affairs, Pablo Yépez represented EO at the workshop, which also included technical staff for the indigenous organization along with the group’s president, Gina Tibi. The meeting was held to discuss the development of oil bloc 28 in the Ecuadorian Amazon and the potential for EO certification to ensure responsible extraction.

The meeting was of particular importance given the looming prospects of the companies soon extracting ...

> Read more

EO Director of Operations Examines Sustainable Value Chains at 2015 SPLC Summit

June 8, 2015 | Written by Rudy Sanfilippo

At the end of May, EO’s Director of Operations Sarah Coulter attended the 2015 Summit of the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC) in Seattle, Washington. Each year the summit provides a networking opportunity for professionals working in the sustainability industry to share ideas and learn best practices from other attendees. The conference was part of SPLC’s connect program that is designed to act as a venue for connecting responsible suppliers and ethical consumers. The summit also serves as a platform for SPLC to gain new insight and feedback for the development of its Guidance reports.

Coulter presented as part of the New Strategies in Purchasing Transportation workshop. The workshop explored how leading organizations are changing the way they utilize shipping, vehicle fleets, and energy to reduce the negative impacts of their transportation purchasing activities. In addition to Coulter ...

> Read more

EO Reps Share Perspectives on the Value, Limitations, and Path Forward for Standards and Certification at ISEAL Conference

May 31, 2015 | Written by Rudy Sanfilippo

Soledad Mills Presents at 2015 ISEAL Conference in Berlin EO Vice President of Standards and Stakeholder Engagement Soledad Mills (second from left) on stage for the opening plenary panel at the ISEAL Conference in Berlin, "The Big Picture: What can standards do?" on May 21st. (Credit: ISEAL Alliance via Twitter, @ISEALAlliance)

Last month, two EO team members, VP of Standards Soledad Mills and Director of Markets Sarah Coulter, spoke at separate sessions at the ISEAL Alliance annual conference in Berlin. Mills and Coulter shared experiences and insights from EO's six years of experience as the only independent standards and certification system for the oil and gas industry with representatives of other systems from across industries and around the world. The theme of the conference was "A Roadmap to Change" and the subjects centered on the process of moving from certification to full transformation in the various sectors where ...

> Read more

Digging into Data on the Water Impacts of Natural Gas Development with the Shale Network

May 21, 2015 | Written by Josh Garrett

A screen shot from the Hydrodesktop mapping tool showing the location of gas wells in Pennsylvania cited by the state Department of Environmental Protection for violation of environmental regulations for water use and water quality.

In early May, Dr. Susan Brantley, a Professor of Geosciences and Director of the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at Pennsylvania State University, sparked new interest (and reignited controversy) in the debate over the impacts of shale gas development, often referred to as fracking. Dr. Brantley, along with environmental consultant Garth Llewellyn and six other co-authors published a study in the scientific journal The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that included the finding that several residential water wells in Pennsylvania were likely contaminated by nearby shale drilling activity. The study was significant because it showed strong evidence, perhaps the strongest to date, that ...

> Read more

Deadline to Submit Comments on Fracking Standards EXTENDED to May 31

May 14, 2015 | Written by Equitable Origin

We have extended the deadline to comment on the draft EO100 for Shale Oil and Gas, the first independent standards for responsible fracking, to May 31st!

Anyone who is interested now has until May 31st to browse and/or download the draft standards, and submit comments to shalestandards@equitableorigin.com.

In just two months since the initial publication of our draft shale standards, new evidence has emerged linking shale development activities to groundwater contamination, hazardous air pollution, and earthquakes. Our draft EO100 for Shale Oil and Gas standards include provisions to address all three of those impact categories and many more.

Help us set the most rigorous and comprehensive standards ever for shale development and fracking by sending us your comments! No comment is too big or too small; too general or too specific; too positive or too negative.

We ...

> Read more

EO Director of Shale Programs Shares Strategy for Responsible Fracking at Houston Summit

May 5, 2015 | Written by Rudy Sanfilippo

EO Director of Shale Programs Josh Garrett (top left) presents on the draft EO100 for Shale Oil and Gas standards at the Responsible Extractives Summit in Houston on May 1.

Last week, EO Director of Communications and Director of Shale Programs Josh Garrett attended a meeting of sustainability and social impact professionals on best social and environmental practices for oil and gas and mining companies. The event, sponsored by Ethical Corporation, was called Responsible Extractives Summit - North America. The main themes of the gathering were transparency, sustainability and social engagement as approaches responsible operation. As a member of a three-person panel asked to discuss different strategies for reducing social risk, Garrett emphasized the merits of voluntary certification, in particular the credibility that comes from certification by an independent organization like EO. Speaking about the EO100 Standard, Garrett explained that it ...

> Read more