David Poritz Gives Talks at Brown’s Watson Institute and the Yale School of Management

After the series of First Readings events, David Poritz continued his visit at Brown with a talk and discussion with students visiting the university as part of the Botín Scholars program hosted by the Watson Institute for International Studies. For the past five years, the Fundación Botín has sponsored forty students from Latin America with high potential and a vocation for public service to participate in an intensive two-month leadership and development program that begins at the Watson Institute in Providence and ends in Santander, Spain. Students attend lectures, seminars and workshops hosted by Brown faculty and visiting scholars working on projects related to Latin America. Given his close ties to Latin America and history of leadership and entrepreneurship at Brown, David was invited to give a talk on his work with Equitable Origin after students viewed the documentary “Oil and Water” as part of the program. David’s talk focused around the benefits of voluntary mechanisms like the EO100TM Standard in the private sector given the weaknesses of many regulatory regimes in countries in the region.

The talk was particularly relevant to students from Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Argentina because of recent shifts in the legal and political frameworks around oil and gas regulation in these countries. Many of the students were interested in Equitable Origin’s first certification in Colombia as a case study for social and environmental responsibility in oil and gas development and its potential to serve as a model for other projects in the region. David also emphasized the importance of leadership and taking initiative around important global issues and challenges students see in their societies. Identifying problems and finding needs in the market are the starting point for launching solutions, he explained, even if the initial strategy doesn’t work; solutions can be adjusted to better address problems, but only if someone takes the initiative to launch them in the first place.

Shifting gears after the Botín talk, David headed to New Haven to speak at the Yale School of Management with Dr. Todd Cort’s class “Natural Capital: Risks and Opportunities in Global Resource Systems.” Dr. Cort’s research focuses on the scientific and economic metrics of corporate social responsibility and sustainability programs and how “best metrics” can drive improved financial performance. Students from the school of management, school of forestry, public health and divinity schools attended David’s talk on the evolution of the EO100 Standard and how it was developed through deep engagement with diverse stakeholders. Students and faculty were invited to participate in the public consultation of the standard revision process currently underway.