Critical Resource launches ‘Pathway to Best Practice’ following 9 months of consultation with leading stakeholders in the shale gas debate
Summary: Critical Resource’s ‘Pathway to best practice’ explores whether the shale gas industry can become fully acceptable to stakeholders by developing in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. The Pathway defines a set of measures that companies can implement voluntarily, above and beyond regulatory standards, to provide external assurance that they are following best practice, mitigating environmental impacts and conferring sustainable benefits on host communities.
Context: In July 2014, the UK opened the latest licensing round for onshore oil and gas exploration, prompting a new wave of protests by activists fearing the potential dangers of hydraulic fracturing. Over the past year, from Pennsylvania to Romania, the fight over ‘fracking’ has been pitting environmentalists against policymakers and the industry.
Within this increasingly polarised debate, Critical Resource has been leading an in-depth consultation process involving around 40 key stakeholders in the shale gas debate. Drawing on the input of senior policymakers, regulators, environmental activists, industry representatives, investors, academics and journalists, we have been investigating whether the industry can develop, and be seen to develop, in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. This follows on from Critical Resource’s publication of ten draft principles for responsible shale gas extraction in November 2013.
Critical Resource’s ‘Pathway to Best Practice’ defines a set of measures that companies can implement voluntarily, above and beyond regulatory standards, to provide external assurance that they are following best practice, mitigating environmental impacts and conferring sustainable benefits on host communities. The draft pathway consists of six practical modules to address stakeholder concerns, ranging from early engagement and community environmental monitoring to the formulation of climate action plans.
The pathway is supported by Critical Resource’s experience advocating for and supporting responsible practices in the natural resource sector and our analysis of 200+ resource projects worldwide. We will continue to reach out to key stakeholders in the shale gas debate in coming months and welcome comments.
The ‘Pathway to Best Practice’ can be accessed here.