The Equitable Origin (EO) System is designed to engage both developers of energy resources and consumers of energy in the pursuit of more socially and environmentally responsible energy development worldwide.
The EO System begins with the foundational EO100™ Standard, a set of rigorous performance standards for energy development projects. The Standard is the product of extensive consultation with the energy industry, leading international NGOs focused on energy, and indigenous communities affected by development projects. The EO100™ Standard establishes metrics and performance targets that address the social and environmental impacts of energy development. The Standard also incorporates the results of analyses of and dialogues with a variety of social and environmental initiatives, standards, conventions and declarations.
Through the Standard, Equitable Origin provides a framework for responsible energy development based on consensus from industry, NGOs, affected communities, and governmental agencies that incentivizes excellence in social and environmental performance. Compliance with all parameters of the EO100™ Standard at a specific energy development site (e.g. an oil or gas drilling pad, a hydroelectric dam, or a wind farm) earns the site EO Certification. Equitable Origin certification of an energy development site signifies that the best social and environmental practices in the industry, as embodied by the E100™ Standard, are being applied at the site and have been confirmed by an independent third-party assessment body.
The EO100™ Standard is based in six principles that coincide with categories of social and environmental impacts from energy development projects.
Energy development activities must be carried out in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and administrative requirements of the country in which the operations take place. Operations activities are compliant with the aims of listed international treaties and conventions to which the country is a signatory, as well as to voluntary standards considered the norm.
Operator must identify and prioritize project-affected stakeholders and act proactively to respect and promote their rights and to discover, understand and respond to their concerns. Operator shall be accountable for reporting and communicating with stakeholders on project-related decisions, practices and performance. (Additional specific Provisions regarding the rights of Indigenous Peoples are listed under Principle 4.
The rights of workers are recognized and respected in accordance with ILO Core Standards as well as Part IV of the ILO Convention 155, The Occupational Safety and Health Convention (1981). The term ‘workers’ includes direct employees, whether full or part time, as well as workers provided by, or working for, contractors and subcontractors.
Energy development activities must be carried out in ways that recognize, respect and address the specific rights, traditions and cultural implications for Indigenous Peoples whose territory or livelihoods may be affected by the project.
Energy development activities must be carried out in ways that minimize negative impacts and maximize positive impacts on the biophysical environment and the people living in that environment.
Energy development activities must be carried out using effective management systems that respect local, national and international laws and standards. These management systems must incorporate institutional and operational frameworks that require responsible and, where possible, sustainable approaches to resource use.
Following implementation of practices outlined in the EO100™ Standard at an energy development site, a third-party assessment body audits the site for compliance with the Standard. The assessment body then assigns the site an EO100™ certification score based on the findings of the audit, which determines whether or not the site will receive EO certification.
The EO100™ Standard is made up of Principles, Objectives, and Performance Targets. These are applied to energy development sites by a third-party assessment body to produce an EO100™ certification score.
The Principles represent six categories of impacts from energy development projects related to governance, social issues, and the environment.
Objectives within each Principle are general operating guidelines that represent best industry practices.
Three Performance Targets are nested under each Objective. Performance targets are specific practices that represent three levels of performance: Performance Target 1 (PT1) represents broadly accepted best practices, Performance Target 2 (PT2) represents performance that goes beyond best practices, and Performance Target 3 (PT3) represents innovative and industry-leading social and environmental performance. To achieve EO certification, sites must meet all PT1s in the EO100 Standard. Meeting PT2s and PT3s increases sites’ certification score.
A site’s certification score determines the rate at which the site generates EO Credits. Similar to renewable energy credits (RECs), EO Credits represent one unit of energy produced or generated at a certified site. For example, if a certified oil field that produces 100 barrels of oil per day receives a 50 percent certification score, the site would generate 50 EO Credits per day.
EO Credits representing energy that originates from certified sites—whether it is electricity generated by solar panels or natural gas produced from wells—are sold on the online EO Market. EO Credits are a way for ethical consumers to use their purchasing power to indicate their preference for responsible energy development. 25 percent of the revenue from EO Credit purchases goes toward supporting the Equitable Origin System, and the remaining 75 percent goes toward funding social and environmental programs at certified sites. The creation of such programs by energy developers is a condition of site certification, and all plans for social and environmental programs are reviewed by local stakeholder councils.
Once generated, Equitable Origin Credits can be purchased by any manufacturer, retailer, transportation company, government, NGO, or individual looking to support best practices in energy development. Equitable Origin Credit purchasers may then place the Equitable Origin Certified logo on products derived, manufactured, or transported using the equivalent quantity of energy represented by the purchased credits. For example, a producer of motor oil could buy the number of Equitable Origin Credits equivalent to the total number of barrels of oil used to produce their product.
A site’s certification score and EO Credit generation rate also determines its EO Leadership rating. The leadership rating indicates the extent to which the assessed practices at a certified site go beyond best practices (as embodied by Performance Target 1s) to lead the industry in social and environmental performance. EO Leadership Ratings correspond to the following EO Credit generation rate ranges:
Through participation in EO Market Mechanisms like buying EO Credits, consumers can choose to support responsible energy development. Through the Equitable Origin system, EO-certified sites and their operators are linked with consumers who want to show support for responsibly-developed energy.
By combining incentives for industry-leading social and environmental practices and new choices for consumers to indicate their preference for responsibly-sourced energy, the Equitable Origin system is building a more responsible energy industry one site at a time.