-- Nonprofit's certification of renewable energy sites will help streamline development and support achievement of global climate goals
NEW YORK, Aug. 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The world's first independent standards and certification system for oil and gas production is expanding into renewable energy, Equitable Origin (EO) announced today. The international nonprofit organization believes that setting social and environmental standards and certifying responsible development will help renewables projects clear hurdles and secure local community support as low-carbon energy sources expand with efforts to mitigate climate change.
Since its founding in 2009, Equitable Origin has undertaken stakeholder engagement, standards development, and certification of responsible operations in the oil and gas industry. The organization's expansion to renewable energy sites such as wind farms and solar installations comes in response to demand from stakeholders affected by renewable development projects, according to EO President and Co-Founder David Poritz: "In the course of our work, communities and NGOs often approach us with concerns about renewable energy projects and how they will change the local landscape and residents' lives. Their concerns underscore an important, yet often-overlooked reality: the expansion of renewable energy sources is essential to tackling the global climate change crisis, but renewable projects have some of the same local impacts on people and the environment as non-renewable projects. These impacts must be accounted for and mitigated. Reducing impacts will help remove potential barriers to renewable energy development at the local level."
According to Equitable Origin's Chief Executive Officer Soledad Mills, the expansion is an appropriate next step for the organization, whose mission is to ensure energy development meets the highest social and environmental standards. "The EO100™ Standard, though originally designed for oil and gas production, is comprehensive enough to apply to all forms of energy development," Mills explained, referring to EO's groundbreaking voluntary standard for responsible practices. "We are currently developing sector-specific supplements to the EO100™ Standard, as we did for shale development and fracking earlier this year. We are already in discussions with a number of forward-thinking renewable energy companies to help us develop the standards, and will be actively seeking input from additional companies, as well as community organizations and nonprofit groups, as we continue the standards development process for renewables."
Equitable Origin Board Chair Dr. Michael E. Conroy placed the move in the context of the growing importance of standards and certification systems: "EO's expansion into renewable energy development is a logical extension of the extraordinary work on the EO100™ Standard our team has done over the last five years. It is a coherent response to concerns about fossil fuels and climate change that places EO alongside the most effective global voluntary certification systems such as the Forest Stewardship Council, certified organic, and Fair Trade Certified."
Equitable Origin's expansion announcement comes ahead of two major international summits that will be integral to future climate action and renewable energy development. In September, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly will adopt its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at a meeting in New York. The SDGs will play a major role in securing an agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and curb climate change at the December COP-21 summit in Paris. Any commitments by national governments to reduce carbon emissions will likely lead to accelerated renewable energy development.
"The SDGs include universal access to energy and 'urgent action' to combat climate change. Increased renewable energy development is a clear pathway to both," Mills stated. "We are determined to help renewable energy development advance as quickly as possible by defining and certifying best social and environmental practices, and in doing so contribute to climate action while protecting the health and wellbeing of people and ecosystems around the world."
About Equitable Origin
Equitable Origin (www.equitableorigin.org) is an innovative stakeholder-based certification system for the energy industry that promotes higher social and environmental standards, greater transparency, and more accountability in energy development projects. Equitable Origin is based in New York City.
SOURCE Equitable Origin