Equitable Origin President & Co-Founder David Poritz examines an open crude oil pit in the Ecuadorian Amazon in 2004.
Witnessing the effects of irresponsible energy development on local communities inspired a grassroots approach to transforming an industry
Prior to founding Equitable Origin, David Poritz and Manuel Pallares worked for nearly a decade to empower affected communities in Ecuador to protect themselves and their lands from the often destructive practices of irresponsible operators in the extractive industries. They launched numerous local health and environmental education initiatives and contributed to the development of groundbreaking policies in the 2008 Ecuadorian Constitution, including the first ever constitutional recognition of the Rights of Nature.
Through these experiences, David wondered why the exploitation of natural resources couldn't provide direct benefits to local communities while preserving local culture, environment and biodiversity? Could a market-based mechanism incentivize energy companies to improve their social and environmental performance? Could the application of higher standards, independently verified, provide recognition of industry-leading practices and result in lasting positive impacts on people and ecosystems?
To test this hypothesis, David and Manuel, along with other key stakeholders—veterans from the oil and gas industry, community representatives, environmental scientists, and standards development professionals—set out to create Equitable Origin, a new voluntary standards system for oil and gas exploration and production that codified the most advanced environmental, social, safety, transparency and community engagement standards in the world.
Beginning in January 2009, Equitable Origin brought together oil and gas companies, governments, local and indigenous communities, academics, and NGOs, to develop standards for social and environmental responsibility in oil and gas exploration and production. Over the course of three years, the EO100™ Standard was created based on stakeholder feedback, expert input and alignment with existing global standards and regulations.
As the organization grew, it encountered the need for standards in other types of energy projects, and expanded the scope of the foundational EO100™ Standard to include a range of energy development, including energy infrastructure.
David and Manuel continue to pursue their shared vision of positive change in the energy industry through pragmatic, market-friendly approaches that benefit all stakeholders in energy development projects as they help guide Equitable Origin into new sectors and new geographies.