Skip navigation

Sara K. Phillips

Consultant, Community Climate Resilience in Critical Mineral Supply Chains

Sara is a Consultant with SEI’s Community Climate Resilience in Critical Mineral Supply Chains project, where she acts as the technical lead on various aspects of project development, management, and delivery. In this role, Sara is part of SEI’s Climate Change, Disasters and Development research team, with a primary work focus on mineral resource development and governance, human rights, environmental law, and climate change.

In addition to her work at SEI, Sara is an Associate Researcher at the Center of Excellence on Resource Politics for Social Development at the Center for Social Development Studies (CSDS) of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. At the CSDS, Sara’s research investigates how the law enables structural inequalities that lead to mining conflicts. Sara is also a Visiting Lecturer with the Center for Global Law and Policy at Santa Clara University School of Law, where she teaches International Sustainability as part of the Center’s Business and Environment study abroad course in Singapore.

Prior to joining SEI, Sara garnered over a decade of experience in law and policymaking in Canada, Mongolia, Thailand, and the United States. As a practicing attorney, Sara’s work focused on energy, environment, and natural resources, with an emphasis on mining, oil, and gas. Her global career also included acting as an international consultant to NGOs, government bodies, and multinational corporations on issues pertaining to corporate social responsibility, sustainable resource development, and human rights.

In conjunction with her work and research, Sara is a Doctoral Candidate in International Development at Chulalongkorn University, where she is the inaugural recipient of the Doctoral Fellowship in Sustainability and Environmental Politics. Her doctoral project, entitled “The Implications of Legal Pluralism to Understanding Mining Conflicts: A Socio-Legal Study of Thailand’s Chatree Gold Mine,” examines how actors utilize norms to shape the resource development lifecycle, with an emphasis on stakeholder engagement and inclusive decision-making processes.

Sara holds a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Vermont Law School, a Master of Laws in Environment from McGill University, and a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is a qualified attorney, licensed to practice in the State of New York.

Publications Authored Externally to SEI

Phillips, S.K. & Anschell, N. (2022). Building business, human rights and climate change synergies in Southeast Asia: what the Philippines’ National Inquiry on Climate Change could mean for ASEAN. Journal of Human Rights and the Environment, 13(1), 238–264.

Phillips, S.K. & Surimas, T. (2020). Addressing Climate Change Adaptation Through International Trade Mechanisms: Labour Migration and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership in Vietnam. Conference Proceedings of A New Global Network: What’s Next of “The Turns” in International Relations and Development, 22-23 November 2019, Chiang Rai, Thailand. [Online]. Chiang Rai: School of Social Innovation, Mae Fah Luang University, 528-542.

Phillips, S.K. & Buxbaum, D.C. (2014). “Capital Markets: Mongolia” in Richer La Fléche, E. (ed.). The Mining Law Review. 3rd edition. London: Law Business Research Ltd., 362-378.

Phillips, S.K. & Goldberg, M.S. (2013). Natural Gas Development: Extracting Externalities-Towards Precaution-Based Decision-Making. McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law, 8(3), 151-203.

Phillips, S.K. (2013). Property and Prosperity: Examining Contemporary Private Property Ownership in Light of Increased Oil and Gas Development in the United States. LLM Thesis. McGill University, Faculty of Law and School of Environment. Available at

Phillips, S.K. & Buxbaum, D.C. (2013). “Capital Markets: Mongolia” in Richer La Fléche, E. (ed.). The Mining Law Review. 2nd edition. London: Law Business Research Ltd., 312-326.

Design and development by Soapbox.