The company that built the phrase RSG gives its trademark to the industry
When you spend enough time in this world, your decision-making rubric about where to apply your time and what you genuinely care about shifts. You begin to think about legacy and impact.
I found my passion project at Project Canary — a Denver-based climate-tech company focused on ESG data for companies that produce emissions. Project Canary prides itself on being the leading provider of environmental assessment technology and accurate emissions quantification. This is an essential service for a world facing major climate concerns.
I researched the company and came across a new term, Responsibly Sourced Gas (RSG). As the industry knows and regulators are paying attention to, RSG is defined as gas certified as being produced by companies that have undergone independent third-party assessments to verify that all phases of their operations have utilized the highest standards and practices of environmental sustainability. The result is reliable, financial-grade data that delivers for the measurement economy. There’s nothing ambiguous about verified and quantified emissions data. As an environmental justice advocate, I immediately recognized how this might affect low-income communities once the consumers become aware of this moniker. Vulnerable or low-income communities should be able to articulate the demand for a better energy path without being beholden to a company or priced out of the ability to support environmental sustainability.
Because of this, once I said yes to the Chief Environmental Justice Officer role with Project Canary, I urged Chris Romer, Project Canary Co-founder and CEO, to let their RSG trademark go. Let me explain.
Through my experience as an attorney helping underserved communities and applying the B-Corp ethos, Project Canary is governed by a triple bottom line approach: people, planet, profit – the goal of giving back to our industry and all communities falls right in line with my values.
My fundamental belief is that all ratepayers deserve to have Responsibly Sourced Gas. Therefore, rather than try to profit off this trademark, we believe that we should give it to the larger community so that it can become the new standard throughout the U.S. and, hopefully soon, the world.
This is similar to the work that I did as a member of the Denver Water Board to strategize how to further their environmental justice capabilities (lower water usage) and make these services available and affordable to all communities. Many people underestimate how much low-income ratepayers contribute to environmental solutions. But their ability to pay above-market rates for a commodity is much more limited than other communities. Electricity, like water, is non-negotiable for life. People cannot be priced out of non-negotiables.
To make decisions that will alter the course of climate change, we need to include all communities and be responsive to their willingness and ability to pay for solutions. This proves that decarbonizing both the wires and the pipes of our utility systems is important to all communities. We cannot ignore the voices in our communities that are too often disregarded.
Therefore, Project Canary needs to make sure the RSG trademark remains available to the industry and ubiquitously available. Measured RSG should be table stakes for all communities and open to everyone within our market.
In my role with Project Canary, I will amplify this message and support real efforts in the industry to ensure that the desperately needed environmental sustainability does not financially burden lower-income communities.
– Penfield Tate III