Acorn International Notes

Acorn International Notes are a series of periodic papers to share ideas regarding EHSS and sustainability management for international industry.

Issue 50 - Regional Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Trends Affecting Frontier Market Investments
Investors have traditionally looked for distinctive growth opportunities in markets where they can confidently understand and manage risks...

Issue 49 - Dr. Chris Anderson on the Extractives Sector
Dr. Anderson's article originally appeared on Mediators Beyond Borders International's website, and is the first in a six-part writers series on Collaboration...

Issue 48 - Regional Non-Technical Risk Trends Affecting Oil and Gas / Energy Investments
Investment in the global energy sector has experienced impressive swings in recent years...

Issue 47 - Social Risk Trends in Mexico’s Energy Industry
In 2014, we predicted that most significant obstacles to operators investing in energy sector opportunities in Mexico would be related to...

Issue 46 - Hi-Tech for Non-tech
Keeping up with and applying fast-evolving information management solutions is critical for industries to continue to innovate their processes, products and services...

Issue 45 - Culture – Understanding its Impact on Business and Community Engagement
Making the distinctive “Local Content – Global Content” brand of consulting work requires understanding the importance of culture to business ventures in emerging markets...

Issue 44 - Not Too Technical
Extractive industries spend large percentages of capital project and operating budgets on managing engineering, reservoir, safety, legal and financial risks...

Issue 43 - Myanmar – Another step in the transition
The November 2015 elections that have brought the National League for Democracy (NLD) to power were largely free and peaceful...

Issue 42 - Meeting expectations in human rights reporting – a delicate balance
Initiatives to protect human rights are increasingly important for companies operating internationally...

Issue 41 - FPIC Is Here To Stay
There was a time, not so long ago, when the phrase ‘human rights’ elicited one of two reactions in the extractive industry...

Issue 40 - A Multi-Stakeholder Partnership in Ghana: Marine and Fisheries Management
On November 30th 2015, Ghana’s Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development launched a set of Action Plans to address the complex challenges of marine sector management...

Issue 39 - The Colombian Social Responsibility Framework: An Evolving Model
As Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) evolves worldwide, many countries seek a balance between descriptive and prescriptive CSR frameworks...

Issue 38 - Social Network
Network theory helps us understand how interconnections between individuals and groups influence the development of...

Issue 37 - A Community Look-back on Ebola
An April article in the New England Journal of Medicine highlights lessons learned from the West Africa ebola crisis...

Issue 36 - Ghana and the Voluntary Principles: Implementing the Human Rights Protection Framework
Around the world, ensuring the protection of human rights while providing for the security of extractive industry...

Issue 35 - Inundation
Our thoughts are with the people in Texas, Oklahoma, Mexico and elsewhere who are trying to rebuild their lives...

Issue 34 - Colombia: Local Hiring Requirement for O&G Industry
Some reports analyzing conflicts in Colombia indicate that more than half of the social protests are related to the oil industry, and 42% of these protests are related to labor issues...

Issue 33 - March 2015: Mature and Frontier Mining Geographies: Where does Greater Risk (and Reward) Reside?
The Globe and Mail recently reported that multiple foreign companies are considering moving out of more traditional African mining countries like South Africa and Zambia...

Issue 32 - February 2015: Local Content in Mining: Increasing Expectations and Potential Solutions
Local content in the extractives industry involves trade-offs that are increasingly important for host governments, communities, and companies to acknowledge and address. In particular, local content...

Issue 31 - February 2015: Fast Money Beware: Non-Technical Risk Due Diligence
In an interview at the 2015 World Economic Forum in Davos, the CEO of private-equity firm Blackstone Group LP stated that, “Oil is the biggest investment opportunity in the world [right now]...

Issue 30 - January 2015: Social and Environmental Performance - Considerations for Difficult Commodity Price Environments
Periods of low commodity prices present significant challenges to energy and mining companies and create a number of business related hardships (not least of which may include lower returns on investments, reduced access to capital, and less available cash to service equity and debt)...

Issue 29 - January 2015: A Window into the Opposing View - Stakeholder Concerns about Oil and Gas in Mexico
The opening of Mexico’s oil industry to foreign capital (the “Apertura”) offers distinct opportunities for investors and the Mexican people alike. With a poverty rate of 60.8%, Mexico’s rural communities need jobs and new sources of economic growth...

Issue 28 - December 2014: Why Non-Technical Risks Matter to the Mexican Apertura
Last week Mexico’s Secretary of Energy released the first round of blocks for international companies to participate in exploration and production of the country’s long-guarded oil reserves.  The 14 blocks – located in near-shore marine waters off the base of the Yucatan – represent an intriguing first opportunity for foreign oil companies to participate in the opening of Mexico’s important oil and gas reservoirs to advanced development...

Issue 27 - October 2014: Equator Principles: Drivers of Sustainability in the Oil and Gas Industry?
The Equator Principles III (EP), currently adopted by 80 financial institutions, provide a set of leading voluntary good international industry practice standards to clients to identify, assess and manage environmental and social risks and impacts. The EP are based on the International Finance Corporation’s Environmental and Social Performance Standards and World Bank’s Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Guidelines. They are intended to provide standards around environmental and social protection for financial institutions that do not have their own established standards. This note introduces the EP and assesses whether they are a driver of sustainability or not...

Issue 26 - September 2014: The Transparency Tightrope: Examining UNEP’s New Access to Information Policy
Meeting global expectations for transparency on capital investment projects can be tricky - especially for organizations trying to balance open disclosure with commercial sensitivity. But why strive to be transparent? What are the benefits? Multilateral organizations such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), among others, believe that transparency is not only beneficial for accountability and engagement with stakeholders, but can also help enhance the profitability of investments in the long term...

Issue 25 - July 2014: Bouston
Our United States cling to some cherished city linkages and equally cherished rivalries. The Gulf Coast’s ports, Minnesota’s twins, and Oregon’s and Maine’s Portlands share important cultural ties. And generations from New York, Houston and No-Cal have nourished deep-seeded rivalries with their counterparts in Boston, Dallas and So-Cal. In each case, it is the similarities of the cities’ cultures that form and strengthen their covalent bonds ...

Issue 24 - July 2014: Land Tenure and Property Rights - Where Legal Compliance May Not Be Enough
Land tenure and property rights are among the most challenging issues companies have to manage - this is particularly true when host country legislation does not protect the rights of its citizens. In these cases, obtaining legal compliance can be insufficient to meeting international expectations ...

Issue 23 - May 2014: 3 Things I Learned in Mexico - Non-technical Risks
in the Oil Industry

Acorn International President Dean Slocum recently returned to Mexico for a series of meetings and shared his thoughts on the non-technical risks companies will face in entering new energy and hydrocarbon opportunities there ...

Issue 22 - April 2014: Capacity Building on Stakeholder Engagement
One of Acorn International’s West African partners recently asked for our review and feedback on a draft public consultation guidance document. The objective of the guidance is to present the company’s methodology for identifying and engaging with stakeholders ...

Issue 21 - March 2014: Above-ground Facilities and Stakeholder Engagement:
Deploying the 'CAC'

Oil and gas facilities are located around the globe, often operating in close proximity to local communities. Though cultural contexts near projects, refineries and terminals may differ enormously, stakeholder concerns regarding potential environmental degradation, health and ...

Issue 20 - March 2014: A Starting Point for Shared Equity
Industries have the means and most often the good intentions to make this world a better place. They are able to deliver new products, advanced technologies and alternative solutions to improve the lives of millions. Yet while industries possess the means, the consumer fuels the changes ...

Issue 19 - March 2014: What It Takes to Run a Great Consulting Firm
Consultancies are in business to deliver value – value to clients, value to employees, and value to shareholders. The products vary – whether delivering management advice, developing technical studies and plans, or providing technical/logistical support – but the basic model is the same. We ...

Issue 18 - February 2014: Considering Human Rights - Trends and Lessons in Oil and Gas Impact Assessments
Issue 17 - June 2013: Managing Environmental Health in International Development Projects
Issue 16 - January 2013: Integrating Environmental and Social Performance throughout the Project Lifecycle
Issue 15 - January 2013: The State of Shale Play in 2013
Issue 14 - August 2012: Building Environmental and Social Governance in Host Countries
Issue 13 - May 2012: Human Rights and Business: A New Era
Issue 12 - February 2012: Extractive Industries Confront Pressure for Greater Transparency
Issue 11 - January 2012: Key Updates to the IFC Sustainability Policy and Performance Standards
Issue 10 - June 2011: Oil & Gas and NGOs: New Rules of Engagement?
Issue 9 - February 2010: Annual Study of Sustainable Development Priorities
Issue 8 - January 2009: Annual Study of Sustainable Development Priorities
Issue 7 - May 2008: Top Ten Lessons Learned About Health Impact Assessment
Issue 6 - January 2008: Annual Study of Sustainable Development Priorities
Issue 5 - September 2007: Results of web forum with our International Partners
Issue 4 - January 2007: Annual Study of Sustainable Development Priorities
Issue 3 - May 2006: Suggestions and tips for safe international travel
Issue 2 - January 2006: Annual Study of Sustainable Development Priorities
Issue 1 - November 2005: The Top 10 “unspoken" criteria for determining the success of EIAs


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