Stephen D’Esposito is the President and CEO of RESOLVE, a non-governmental organization that works with business, government, foundation, and NGO and community leaders to get results on natural resource, health, and sustainability issues.
Stephen is a solutions strategist. Trained as an advocate to create leverage for good, he now helps diverse, unlikely partners envision, design, and implement projects on issues including climate and energy transition, food safety, sustainable agriculture, responsible mining, sustainable fisheries, safeguarding human rights and indigenous peoples, and biodiversity and habitat protection.
Today, RESOLVE’s partners include Apple, Shell, the World Economic Forum, the Alaska Venture Fund, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Newmont, Oxfam, the Pembina Institute, the Enough Project, the Tiffany & Co. Foundation, and many others.
Stephen began his public policy work in the mid-80s with the New York Public Interest Research Group, founded by Ralph Nader and Donald Ross. He served as National Field Director and Deputy Director of Greenpeace USA, then led the Greenpeace International Executive Committee, based in Amsterdam. He played a central role in building Greenpeace USA into one of the largest environmental organizations. At Greenpeace International his work on the Brent Spar campaign (both the success and failure) led many corporations to rethink their approach to stakeholder advocacy.
In the decade prior to joining RESOLVE, Stephen was President and CEO of EARTHWORKS, a global policy NGO focused on mining, oil and gas issues, founded by former U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Stuart L. Udall and J. Michael McCloskey. At EARTHWORKS he focused on fostering corporate partnerships to support advocacy and policy work, this new model led to breakthrough reforms of part of an outdated 1872 Mining Law and an effort, with jewelers and miners, to certify minerals.
Stephen serves on a number of boards. He chaired the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Mining and Metals, is former chair and serves on the board of Resource Media, and is a board member of the Diamond Development Initiative among others. In his community Stephen designed and led a volunteer recycling program that spread across Washington, D.C. and eventually led to passage of the city’s first recycling legislation in the late 80’s.
Stephen received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Tulane University in New Orleans in 1982.
Bachelor of Science, Political Science.
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA. 1982
Certificate of Art Program.
Corcoran School of Art, Washington DC
Public Speaking (Recent Selected Examples)
Green: Sustainability, Significance and Style Fashion, New York, NY (December 6, 2008).
Explored the need for permanence on “green” issues at a Conference hosted by the Graduate Center at the City University of New York. Presented speech on ethical sourcing in fashion.
2010 ACR EPP / USIECR Conference, Tucson, AZ (May 25-27, 2010).
Presentation on environmental dispute resolution and the importance of collaborative leadership at The Environment and Public Policy (EPP) Section of the Association for Conflict Resolutions annual conference.
SWU Global Sustainability Symposium and Music and Arts Festival, Sao Paolo, Brazil (October 9-11, 2010).
Remarks in person and on live television offering a formula for tangible consumer actions and movement to a new phase of collaboration and partnership.
National Academy of Sciences Committee Meeting to Discuss Meeting our Nation’s Natural Resource Needs: Balancing Risks and Rewards, Washington, DC (October 19, 2010).
Presented “Paradigm Shift—A Survey of Key Natural Resource Challenges and the Need for Collaborative Leadership”
EICC-GeSI Tin and Tantalum Supply Chain Workshop, Washington, DC (November 16, 2010).
Offered a foundation for cross-sector programs designed to respond to the challenge presented by “conflict metals.”
113th National Western Mining Conference, Denver, CO (February 27, 2011).
Opening plenary remarks on sustainability challenges in the natural resource sector and the need for collaborative leadership.
Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University, Simon Fraser University, Cranbrooke, B.C., (April 4, 2011).
Sustainability and Right v Right Conundrums for Policy Leaders –Remarks and workshop focused on trends in sustainable development, and case studies in right v. right leadership challenges for corporate leaders.
2011 Canadian Coal Conference, Paradigm Shift—A Survey of Key Natural Resource and Sustainability Challenges and the Business Case for Collaborative Leadership, Vancouver, B.C.
(September 26, 2011). Plenary remarks at Canada’s major coal industry conference.
Stakeholder Engagement & Sustainability: Trends, Opportunities and new Tools, Fairmont, New Mexico, (February 14, 2012)
Plenary remarks to sustainability leaders at BHP-Billiton global conference.
Ethical Corp, Social Environmental Risk Conference, London, (March 21, 2012)
Stakeholder Engagement, Conflict Resolution Risk
Anglo American Advanced Social Management Program/University of Cambridge Program for Sustainability Leadership, Stellenbosch, South Africa, (April 22, 2012)
Plenary Remarks, GEMM 20/20: Global Exploration, Mining and Minerals in 2020 – Responsibility and Sustainability Challenges and Opportunities, Vancouver, B.C, (April 16, 2012)
IFC Summit, Washington, DC (June 19, 2013)
Rio Tinto Stakeholder Engagement Academy Dinner, Salt Lake City, Utah (May 1, 2013)
Fee/Honorarium Policy for Public Speaking for Stephen D’Esposito
For current partners and clients, when the topic is relevant to RESOLVE’s mission and current program focus, RESOLVE will request an honorarium or fee for speaking engagements due to the time required at the event, travel and preparation. In some situations, particularly for non-profits, RESOLVE will waive this fee but can only do this on one or two occasions annually.
We will request a higher fee for larger events; those with non-partner organizations, companies and associations; and/or when the topic requires special preparation.
Selected Project Experience
Intel Conflict Free Supply Chain Pilot (Ongoing). Work with Intel, other electronics companies and other stakeholders to design a first-ever series of “conflict free” supply pilots for gold sourced into electronics and other products. RESOLVE is leading design and testing of the pilots (e.g. conceptualization, stakeholder outreach, definitions and standards, transparency and system development) in collaboration with key stakeholders.
Assessment of Standards and Certification Systems (2009 – present). Facilitating a collaborative assessment to determine the conditions under which standards and certification systems are effective tools for delivering social and environmental sustainability. The goals of the assessment are to enhance overall understanding of standards and certification systems; provide insights for more strategic use of these systems in promoting sustainability; and prompt action for more successful deployment of these systems to achieve greater sustainability outcomes. Project activities are directed by a steering committee representing international industry, academia, certification organizations, and other NGOs, and funded by the Packard Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and MARS, Inc.
Stakeholder Panel on In-region Sourcing (2010 – present). Strategic support to group of end use companies, NGOs, and government agencies providing recommendations on supply chain tracing and certification schemes related to conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the surrounding Great Lakes Region of Africa.
Stakeholder Engagement/Conflict Resolution Training, Dundee Precious Metals (2009-present). Strategic support and on principles and practices of effective community engagement and conflict prevention and resolution to extractive sector companies.
Revisioning the Communities and Small-scale Mining (CASM) Initiative (2010 – present). Strategic assessment, visioning meetings, options development, and business plan to support planning and organization of a revitalized CASM program, governance system, and institutional structure. CASM is currently housed with the World Bank. International stakeholders and project participants include civil society, small-scale mining governments, donor governments, mining companies, and end-use companies/OEMs.
Conflict Management and Stakeholder Engagement Training (2010 – present). Developing materials and delivering training to two multinational companies on principles and practices of effective community engagement and conflict prevention and resolution.
Alaska Clean Energy Campaign Strategic Assessment and Transition Support (January 2010-May 2010). Strategic assessment of the structure, decision making, and capacity of the group—and potential to strengthen stakeholder engagement. Subsequently, assisted the members in efforts to implement changes based on the assessment, including coaching and strategy sessions.
EICC-GeSI Electronics Supply Chain Transparency Project (2009 – 2010). Collaborative research project on the supply chain for electronics products containing tin, tantalum, and cobalt to 1) create a picture of the electronics supply chain for these metals; 2) assess suppliers’ use of codes of conduct addressing social, environmental, health, and labor issues; and 3) identify the challenges of collecting this data and consider ways to enhance and maintain transparency of the supply chain. To inform this work, RESOLVE convened a Stakeholder Advisory Group of diverse organizations including electronics companies, international NGOs, mining companies, investors, and trade associations. This report, Tracing a Path Forward: A Study of the Challenges of the Supply Chain for Target Metals Used in Electronics, was commissioned by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) and the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC).
Madison Dialogue (2007-current). Conceptualized, designed and launched the Madison Dialogue (www.madisondialogue.org) as an independent forum to encourage discussion, collaboration on sustainable development solutions in the mining and jewelry sectors, including all stakeholder groups.
Ethical Jewelry Summit (2007). Lead organizer of this Summit co-sponsored by BHP-Billiton, Rio Tinto, Tiffany & Co., the World Bank and EARTHWORKS. Brought together leaders from all sectors seeking to identify and promote responsible mining, processing, manufacturing in the sector and to create a commonality between the myriad of projects, standards-development initiatives and processes that are underway.
Framework for Responsible Mining (2005). With Tiffany & Co., sponsored a team of independent experts to draft and publish the Framework for Responsible Mining (www.frameworkforresponsiblemining.org).
Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) (2006-current). Played a lead role in guiding and leading an effort by leaders in the mining, NGO and jewelry sectors to recognize social and environmental standards and develop mechanisms to recognize compliance with these standards in the marketplace (www.responsiblemining.net).
Selected Other Activities
- Board Member, Diamond Development Initiative, 2009 and Ongoing
- Advisory Board Member, Kinross Professorship and Chair Department of Mining Engineering, Queens University, Kingston, Canada, 2007 to Present
- Advisory Panel Member, Newmont Mining Company Community Relations Review, 2007 to Present
- Board Member, Center for Science in Public Participation, 1999 to Present
- Board Member and Executive Committee, Great Basin Resource Watch, 2006 to 2007
- Steering Committee, Western Mining Citizens Network, 1997-2000
- Board Member, Greenpeace Italy, Rome, Italy, 1995-1996
- Advisory Board, GreenCorps, Philadelphia, PA, 1992 to 1994
- Founder/Board Member, Urban Earth, Washington D.C., 1990 to 1993
- Founder/Chairperson, Citizens Coalition for Recycling, Washington D.C., 1988 to 1991
- Ex-Officio Board Member, New York Public Interest Research Group, New York, N.Y., 1983-1984
- Board Member, New York Heating Oil Cooperative (Fuel Buyers Group), New York, N.Y., 1985 to 1986