The last decades have revealed that the price of our development came at the expense of the planet.

When dealing with the energy sector it is extremely important to define the stakeholders involved. This introduction to the special issue of The Journal of World Energy Law & Business dedicated to non-Western models to balance the interests in the energy sector, provides a list of the main actors. The first stakeholders to take into account are surely the nations. In this regard it is important to highlight that countries with great energy supplies have had the upper hand in geopolitics and in determining the market price. Therefore, nations with little energy supplies have tried to ensure good relations with energy suppliers, even turning a blind eye on fundamental rights infringement in these countries. On the other hand, many nations who have a huge amount of energy reserves have witnessed the so-called “resource curse” or “paradox of plenty”—countries with abundance of natural resources do not benefit at all from their exploitation and tend to have less democracy. Conversely, the “low energy” countries have tried to reduce their dependence on energy import (with mixed success). Yet, regardless of all these realities, energy is still considered as the main element that allows the development and progress of any nation, which is why the focus is on ensuring energy security by any means possible. The second “stakeholder” is the private sector. It is through the private sector investments that energy exploration activities are occurring, most specifically, in very extreme environments such as the Arctic or the high seas. The Article makes the example of British Petroleum (BP) that, like its major competitors, has the financial capital to pave the road to the exploitation of conventional energy sources in areas where such exploration was not even possible a few years ago. The same companies have shown a keen interest in renewable energy, for instance, the Article reports the BP campaign called ‘Beyond Petroleum’, where the purpose is to start investing in renewable energy sources. Lastly, Civil societies and environmental organizations have an important role as onlookers to play. They can monitor multinational companies’ actions and often stress the importance of balancing between the benefit of the individual and the benefit of the whole. National and international public opinion has become a major concern for companies and countries when exploiting natural resources. As the Author pinpoints, “the last decades have revealed that the price of our development came at the expense of the planet. From sea, land and air pollution to animal extinction to many other problems that occurred as a result of our developments, societies started recognizing the importance of balancing human activities and the protection and the preservation of the environment.”