Building The Business Case
If private companies are to help build the movement for Indigenous rights, they must be informed and inspired by the strong business case for working with, rather than against Indigenous Peoples.
First Peoples Worldwide is engaged on several fronts to show the business community the benefits of cooperation with Indigenous communities, and the risks involved with ignoring them. For more detailed information, read our white paper Investors and Indigenous Peoples: Trends in Sustainable and Responsible Investment and Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.
Trends and Trajectories
First Peoples Worldwide tracks and interprets the development of the corporate-Indigenous relationship in order to establish precedence for best practices in the future. We monitor recent legislation and government decisions that will affect how companies do business in Indigenous territories, and we forecast corporate risk levels based on the decisions made by Indigenous communities. We monitor the latest news affecting companies that deal with Indigenous Peoples, drawing from a full range of relevant sources. These include publications and reports at every level, from the global to the local, including:
○ Industry associations, including IPIECA and ICMM
○ NGOs such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Friends of the Earth
○ International institutions such as the United Nations and International Labor Organization
○ Indigenous community publications, such as local and regional newspapers, listservs, and other media
○ Academic papers and data analyses
Each month we release the First Peoples Corporate Monitor, a free newsletter that identifies key trends and trajectories that will affect companies dealing with Indigenous Peoples. The Monitor often features individual companies that are leaders in building cooperative partnerships with Indigenous Peoples, and provides recommendations on how to apply their practices in other areas and industries. It is distributed electronically and free of charge, and can be downloaded by clicking the button below.
We also create tailor-made Cultural Risk Alerts that are geared toward a company’s specific region and operations. To learn more about the Cultural Risk Alerts, visit our Bridging Cultures page.
If your company is interested in sharing its best practices, contact us here and we may feature you in our corporate risk assessment newsletter.
Socially Responsible Investing
By guiding shareholders to invest in companies that seek positive relationships with Indigenous Peoples, we are helping prove to corporate leadership that their financial constituency demands socially responsible business practices. We have created Indigenous Investment Criteria that enables financial advisors and investors to assess companies based on their policies toward Indigenous Peoples.
We sponsor and organize Indigenous panels at annual conferences of organizations such as the SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing and the U.S. Social Investment Forum, and serve as an expert resource for many other socially responsible business groups worldwide. At the conferences we work with US SIF’s Indigenous Peoples Working Group as well as ad hoc affinity groups to educate investors on corporate best practice and lead investor dialogue around the risk and rewards regarding corporate behavior and Indigenous Peoples.
We facilitate dialogue between companies and their shareholders to determine mutual goals, improve communications and better understand the interface with Indigenous Peoples. When appropriate, we provide shareholders honest and accurate feedback on specific corporations and Indigenous communities, and work with mission-related investors and shareholder activists to improve the companies they invest in through proxy voting and shareholder resolutions. We will soon begin a campaign to raise awareness about Indigenous-sensitive practices, communicating directly with the shareholders of companies with interests in Indigenous territories. The goal is to create a large network of investors, companies, and Indigenous communities who work together to strengthen the relationships across all industry sectors.
Risk Assessment Index
We are currently in the process of gathering data for an Indigenous risk assessment index geared specifically toward helping companies accurately assess where their biggest risks lie and how those risks can be mitigated. The index will rate companies based on their practices regarding Indigenous communities and rank them within their industries. Key indicators will quantify Indigenous-corporate relationships for each company and present them for comparison within its respective industry. We will create periodic reports on the index findings and make them available upon request.
Successful corporate-Indigenous relationships go beyond compliance with Social Environmental Impact Assessment requirements. In order to make genuine efforts to be socially responsible, corporate leaders must have access to accurate, up-to-date information about the Indigenous communities in their areas of operation. First Peoples Worldwide is in the process of establishing standardized templates for gathering and presenting information that will serve as a foundation for corporate and outside research on Indigenous Peoples. These templates will help researchers organize information about which Indigenous groups exist in any given area, the unique social/political structures of those groups, and the history and current status of relations between the Indigenous community, local government and companies operating in the area. A key function of the research templates will be to help researchers present an accurate picture of current land tenure to companies operating in areas where land claims are often disputed and obscured. Establishing an effective format for this research and its use by companies will relieve corporate dependency on often incomplete or conflicting information from local governments.