Equitable Gas Company
Ethical trade (often called fair trade) is doing quite well as a market concept these days. As a business model, an ethical certification program that promotes high quality products, good employee rights and respect for the environment can be applied just about anywhere and in any market. Textiles, produce and candy that are grown or manufactured under rigorously enforced certification programs, in general, garner higher prices and a better customer reputation than many non-certified products.
Still, the latest ethical trade concept to turn up on the market may seem at first glance like an oxymoron.
Ethical trading for petroleum products?
Equitable Origin is the world’s first certification program for oil and gas products. According to its website, EO is the brainchild of Rhodes Scholar David Poritz and biologist Manuel Pallares. Its goal is to “catalyze a new, economically viable norm for extractive industries where environmental and biodiversity protection is optimized and local communities benefit socially and economically from production.”
Like other ethical trade programs, Equitable Origin offers a certification system that evaluates the company and its products on metrics and a series of performance targets. Those performance targets are based on six principles embodied in its EO100 Standard: company governance and ethics, human rights, employee working conditions, respect and approach toward indigenous rights, environmental stewardship and climate change, and project life cycle management.
Climate change standard
As with most readers, my curiosity immediately jumped to the standard on climate change. How can a performance system rate an oil and gas company on how it approaches climate change and protecting the environment when the product itself (not to mention the process that extracts it) may be the fundamental contributor to climate change?
As always, the answer is in the questions it asks.
The rating system is geared toward operator responsibility and compliance, and gives reachable goals to guide the company in best management practices. The reasoning is clear: oil and gas production isn’t going away any time soon, so why not teach the industry how to best minimize climate change through spill protection, respecting biodiversity and the ecology and by reducing ozone depleting procedures? It’s a noble approach that’s been needed for some time, and may genuinely help expand environmental protection practices.
Indigenous rights and land ownership
The standard takes the same approach to indigenous rights by encouraging practices that foster respect for cultural traditions and land rights. It sets benchmarks that companies must comply with that show an earnest effort to engage indigenous land owners in finding solutions.
Equitable Gas Company and Subsidiaries - Annual Report for 1958, (Kentucky West Virginia Gas Company, Kentucky Hydrocarbon Company, Philadelphia Oil Company), Pittsburgh, Pa.
Book (Equitable Gas Company)
Indenture between Empire Gas and Fuel Company and other corporations and the Equitable Trust Company of New York, trustee: Securing first and ... fund 6 % gold bonds. Dated June 16, 1919
Book (University of California Libraries)
The Pittsburgh National Bank, Executor of the Estate of Frank E. Mower, Deceased, Petitioner, v. Equitable Gas Company. U.S. Supreme Court Transcript of Record with Supporting Pleadings
Book (Gale, U.S. Supreme Court Records)