EO Director of Latin America Operations Sabastián Pérez stepping off a plane in route to EO-certified Quifa oil field in Colombia.
EO Director of Latin America Operations Sebastián Pérez appeared in a recent issue of Colombia Energía magazine. In the article "Desarrollo energético en Latinoamérica, a partir del diálogo y en equilibrio con el medio ambiente" (p. 39-43), Pérez underscores the importance of developing international standards for evaluating the social and environmental impacts of energy development.
On a planet of over seven billion people, there is an insatiable demand for energy. Latin America, and developing countries in general, though rich in energy resources, have the least access to energy and experience the most devastating impacts of climate change. They have consequently found themselves in the dilemma of balancing energy security with social equality while mitigating the environmental effects of energy production and global warming. As tensions in Latin America heighten under pressure for more socially and environmentally just practices in the energy industry, governments are looking for examples of how to ensure responsible energy development, the EO system being one of them.
The article discusses the impacts in Latin America of not addressing social equity and environmental degradation issues that have surrounded past energy development. EO has worked extensively with communities, governments, and industry to mitigate the impacts of energy development. Perez states, "In countries like Colombia, we will continue facing enormous social challenges given the volatility of oil process, the growing energy demand, and our territorial sensitivity to reoccurring climate events like El Niño." For the energy industry to excel in Latin America, he argues, these social and environmental concerns need to be met. Pérez believes energy developers will ultimately succeed in meeting those needs, and sees Latin America as “a region of great potential to develop models for innovative relationships between companies, communities and the state.” EO has has successfully fostered such relationships, and worked with multiple stakeholders to certify an oil production site in Colombia. EO's approach offers a model that could be replicated across Latin America: stakeholder-based standards that measure and incentivize social and environmental best practices.
Likewise, in the transition to renewable energy, governments and private developers need to implement the right tools to prevent social unrest through more equitable use of renewable resources and through environmental conservation, the article suggests. Using a standard like the EO100TM and creating international recognition for such partnerships would allow Latin America and other countries, companies, and their citizens to meet energy demands, provide equal access to energy and uphold environmental protections.