Sarah Coulter (center) at the Measurement & Evaluation working group as part of ISEAL's Effectiveness Days in London.
EO’s Director of Certificate Markets, Sarah Coulter, attended ISEAL’s Effectiveness Days workshop in London this week. The series of workshops was an opportunity for the ISEAL community and ISEAL member organizations to come together and share experiences in best practices in social and environmental standards. The ISEAL Alliance is a global membership association to strengthen social and environmental standards like Equitable Origin’s, which joined ISEAL in 2013 as an associate member, the first member in the oil and gas sector, and later became a full member in May 2014 after a rigorous review process.
ISEAL works together with standards organizations as well as businesses, NGOs and other stakeholders to improve the impacts, define credibility, increase the implementation, and improve the effectiveness of sustainability standards in a variety of industries ranging from agriculture to tourism to carbon. EO joined organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council, Fair Trade, the Rainforest Alliance and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil in conversations on common issues for certifications and standards. Topics of discussion included the importance of credible claims, the issue of traceability, measurement and metrics, effective monitoring and evaluation, and examples of innovation in standards implementation.
Equitable Origin and the EO100 Standard certify responsible oil at the level of production with clear guidelines for what the production site and company can claim after they receive certification. Traceability and labeling is a common way of indicating responsibly-produced products in other industries such as agriculture (i.e. Fair Trade labeling), but is particularly difficult to implement in the oil and gas industry since crude petroleum from the ground undergoes several physical changes and mixes with oil from other sources along the refining and distribution process. To address this issue, EO created the EO Exchange – a certificate exchange market that allows organizations and individuals to purchase certificates that represent each barrel of oil equivalent produced under certified-responsible conditions. Third-party auditors measure, monitor and evaluate production sites according to the EO100 Standard. The EO system emphasizes improvement over time and conducts baseline measures to track environmental and social progress made by the production site.
Just as the EO system encourages continual improvement by certified producers, the EO system likewise incorporates continual improvement into the multistakeholder development of the standards themselves. The EO100 Standard is being publicly reviewed as we update our newest version – we encourage you to participate in this important process as we move forward in our mission to bring more accountability, transparency and responsibility to the oil and gas sector.