As of 2016, the EO100™ Standard and addenda are available for application to conventional oil and gas operations and shale oil and gas (fracking) operations. Technical addenda for wind, solar, and hydroelectric projects are under development. Equitable Origin’s stakeholder-based governance structure and consultation process ensure consistency across all energy sectors and development sites. In particular, we engage local stakeholders to advise on issues that are specific to and important for a particular area. These stakeholders may establish Regional Stakeholder Councils to formalize their participation in the EO system.
There are multiple mechanisms in place to ensure transparency in the Equitable Origin System:
1) The EO100™ Standard was created through the use of the ISEAL procedures for international standard-setting as a model for our consultation process.2) The stakeholder-based Board of Directors gives representation to each stakeholder group to allow for fair and transparent governance.3) Summary reports of site certification audits and verification audits that determine if a development site will receive and maintain EO certification are publicly available.4) Claims made by energy companies in connection with EO site certification are strictly governed by our Trademark Use Policy.
Developed through an unprecedented collaboration between industry, indigenous and local communities, socially and environmentally focused NGOs, academics and national governmental agencies, the EO100™ Standard is comprised of numerous verifiable indicators that span the life cycle of an energy development project. These indicators cover everything from transparency in contract negotiation to stakeholder engagement in social investment planning to biodiversity action plans and environmental remediation.
The EO100™ Standard was created for the energy industry and encompasses and builds upon existing international standards and multi-stakeholder initiatives, and industry recommendations for best practices including the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standards, World Bank Group Environmental, Health, and Safety Guidelines, AA1000 Accountability Principles Standards, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), ISO 26000 Guidance on Social Responsibility, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR), the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA), the Energy and Biodiversity Initiative, and various ILO conventions, among others.
As EO develops technical addenda to the EO100™ Standard for other forms of energy development, we continue to draw on existing sector-specific resources and guidelines to ensure the addendum for each sector is an accurate reflection of current best practices.
In addition, Equitable Origin has a Policy on Association that governs the process by which EO agrees to enter into and continue association with other organizations. Through this policy EO aims to identify organizations that are not committed to the fundamental principles embodied in the EO100™ Standard, and prevent them from misusing their association with EO.
After performing a certification audit, the Assessment Body makes a recommendation to certify or not to certify a site based on their findings. Equitable Origin makes the final decision to grant or withhold certification of a site based on the Assessment Body’s recommendation and other factors. For more information about certification, see EO100™ Site Certification.
The standards landscape has evolved dramatically in the last decade.
- Standards and certification systems are currently undergoing many changes and are evolving to adapt to shifting sustainability priorities and practices. Voluntary standards are increasingly focusing on capacity building and continuous improvement.
- EO does not currently have any active certifications under the standard which is a membership requirement for ISEAL. We have found that the value of the EO100™ Standard is less in its being a certification tool, and more in its being a negotiation and risk-management tool.
EO is more than just a standard-setting organization.
- We partner with business, communities and government to enable transparent, sustainable and equitable development.
- Our recent projects have focused on working with indigenous communities in the Amazon region to build their capacity to determine whether and how their resources are developed.
- We are running a nation-wide training program in Mexico through local universities on social and environmental impact assessment methodology.
- We are working with government agencies to evaluate and improve their transparency and oversight mechanisms to incentivize implementation of best management practices in the energy sector.
- EO has developed an integrated platform for companies, investors, and project developers that enables a stepwise approach to environmental and social performance management, measurement, and assurance. The platform facilitates integration of multiple standards, customizable reporting and data management, and incremental levels of verification. It also allows EO to streamline its assurance, monitoring and evaluation functions.
We recognize and adapt to the needs of our stakeholders.
- We are listening to our stakeholders and are hearing that companies are looking for solutions, not rules. We have adapted our system to focus on using the EO100™ Standard for Responsible Energy Development as a management framework and benchmarking tool to evaluate and drive best practices in the private sector.
- Similarly, communities are looking for opportunities to develop their skills, enhance their knowledge, and build their capacity to understand and manage the risks and impacts of large-scale energy and extractives projects affecting their lands.
As ISEAL is undergoing a strategic review of its own approach to membership to ensure future relevance, influence and impact of ISEAL’s work, we hope that we can renew our membership in the future. In the meantime, our work on Free, Prior and Informed Consent, supported by the ISEAL Innovation Fund grant, will continue.