October 31, 2016
Calvert Investments and the Calvert Social Funds have released a resolution as a joint effort in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and its peaceful efforts to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.
- Calvert has long been committed to the rights of Indigenous Peoples and had the nation’s first mutual fund that adopted specific Indigenous Peoples’ rights criteria.
- The Standing Sioux Rock Nation is using its traditional wisdom to implement sustainability and peaceable solutions while seeking to protect both its sacred lands and source of clean drinking water.
- Companies must ensure they follow full and proper consultation processes with Indigenous Peoples and obtain Free Prior and Informed Consent before beginning projects that affect Indigenous Peoples.
- To date, Energy Transfer Partners has not demonstrated respect for the Standing Rock Sioux and other communities affected by its operations. We call on Energy Transfer Partners to take a more fruitful and collaborative approach.
BE IT RESOLVED, the Boards of Trustees/Directors of the Calvert Social Funds, together with Calvert Investments, Inc. support the Standing Rock Sioux Nation as it stands steadfast in its peaceful efforts to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and protect both its sacred lands and its source of clean drinking water. Following traditional wisdom, the Tribe seeks to implement sustainability and peaceable solutions and to ensure that its human right to water is fulfilled. More broadly, Calvert will maintain our commitment to respect Indigenous Peoples and their essential rights both nationally and globally as we all strive together toward the creation of a meaningful legacy for future generations.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, Calvert will research corporate practices on engagement with Indigenous Peoples by sector and then share findings related to best practice and opportunities for improvement publicly. This research will define effective Indigenous Peoples’ engagement, and highlight or define best practices for relevant high impact industries. In cases where metrics do not exist across industries, we will develop key performance indicators or standards within each of these sectors in consultation with tribal leaders, industry leaders and other relevant parties. We will seek input from tribal leaders in this stage of our work. Calvert plans to share its research findings publicly and in particular with investors and NGOs that address issues of social justice and inequity. We will engage directly with companies on these issues and call on them to develop comprehensive engagement programs with Indigenous Peoples.
The Calvert Social Funds and Calvert Investments, Inc. are deeply committed to the rights of Indigenous Peoples through our investments. Since sponsoring the nation’s first mutual fund to adopt specific Indigenous Peoples’ rights criteria in 1999, we have sought to further Indigenous Peoples’ rights via company engagement on a range of issues, including land rights, sacred sites and offensive images.
We expect companies to operate in ways that support shareholder and bondholder value while simultaneously seeking to reduce risk. In order to manage its business wisely, a company must consider the harm it may cause to communities, or specific cultures, which can stem from inadequate engagement, particularly engagement with Indigenous Peoples.
Indigenous Peoples have the right to self-determination as per the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which also encompasses the internationally recognized norm of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). Companies must ensure they follow full and proper consultation processes with Indigenous Peoples and obtain FPIC approval through the proper channels before beginning projects that may undermine these rights. All too often there has been notification rather than consultation and when consultation does occur, it falls short of international guidelines.
Because of inadequate consultation, companies may lose their social license, which refers to approval or broad social acceptance from the local community and other stakeholders to work on a particular project. (This is becoming more and more of a necessity to obtain before a project launch.) Too often, companies fail to engage tribes, local communities and others cooperatively on issues that affect the lives and lands of those tribes and communities. Too often the focus has been on cost cutting approaches in these industries rather than on potential opportunities for investing in improved relationships with communities. A Harvard study found that it is difficult afterwards for companies to repair damaged relationships with these communities. It has also been estimated that delays from such conflicts can average about $20 million per week for mining projects valued between $3 and $5 billion.i
Native American land holdings collectively encompass more wildlands than the land in National Parks and areas protected by the Nature Conservancy across the United States, despite covering just four percent of U.S. land.ii Globally, Indigenous Peoples’ territories cover 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity and up to 22 percent of the world’s land surface.iii Currently, 39 percent of oil and gas production occurs on Indigenous land. It is estimated that 46 percent of oil, gas and mining reserves will be on Indigenous lands in the near future.iv With such significant overlap between resources and Indigenous Peoples’ lands, it is critically important to address the social license issue broadly as well as specifically related to the Dakota Access Pipeline. For example, fossil fuel embodies a traditional approach to business with extractives taking a heavy toll on the Earth, while clean energy and renewables offer important and attractive strategies with fewer impacts and less pollution.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe opposes the Energy Transfer Partner’sv Dakota Access Pipeline as it fears contamination of its only water source, the Missouri River. While pipelines transport oil and gas in a safer fashion than trucks or railways, there are significant site-specific environmental and safety risks for pipelines that must be addressed. Between 2010 and 2015, there were over 3,300 incidents of crude oil and liquefied natural oil leaks or ruptures on US pipelines.vi Within the pipeline industry, some companies manage these risks more effectively than others, and Energy Transfer Partners has an especially poor record. According to the National Lawyers Guild, the company and its affiliates “have a long history of violations of environmental laws, including pending lawsuits by the states of New Jersey, Vermont, Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the City of Breau Bridge, Louisiana over MTBE contamination of groundwater, as well as citations for releases of hazardous materials from its pipelines and facilities in Ohio, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Missouri, Texas, Pennsylvania and Hawaii.”vii
We recognize the peaceable actions the Tribe is willing to take to stand strong in its beliefs. We also acknowledge the hardships it is willing to endure to reach its goal of having access to clean drinking water and opposing the negative impacts of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Most recently, as the standoff escalates with the company, local law enforcement has become more militarized in response to peaceful protests — leading the Tribe to request intervention by the United States Department of Justice in order to keep both water protectors and law enforcement safe and calling for investigation into the considerable reports and videos of aggressive tactics, abuses and arrests, including frequent allegations of being strip searched.viii The federal government has the opportunity here to uphold and support Tribal sovereignty as per historic treaties with Indian Nations.
To date, Energy Transfer Partners has not demonstrated respect for the Standing Rick Sioux and other communities affected by its operations. We call on Energy Transfer Partners to take a more fruitful and collaborative approach. We believe the company’s suppliers and business partners must also understand their roles in the pipeline project and should be held accountable for their involvement in practices that undermine Indigenous Peoples’ rights. We call on each to create and then implement, if they have not done so already, a comprehensive Indigenous Peoples’ rights policy and a program.
As an investor with a long-time focus on a broad array of social and environmental issues, Calvert believes that the future belongs to companies striving to operate in harmony with the world around them. We recognize the need to mitigate climate change by drastically reducing the consumption of fossil fuels through investment in efficiency and climate friendly business models as well as renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and sustainably sourced biofuels. In our sustainable and responsible portfolios, we avoid investment in companies focused on extraction of fossil fuels or those that own significant fossil fuel reserves while on the demand side, we engage significant users of fossil energy to reduce their energy consumption and use more sustainable energy sources. We also direct investment towards companies helping society to transition towards a low-carbon economy. Calvert further advances these objectives by calling on corporations to properly engage with Indigenous Peoples, whose traditional stewardship practices offer innovative solutions for adapting to and mitigating climate change, and to obtain their consent before beginning industrial or extractive projects.
Photo credit: Vance Blackfox
iihttp://www.esf.edu/nativepeoples/, October 19, 2016
ivhttp://www.firstpeoples.org/images/uploads/R1KReport2.pdf, October 28, 2013
v As of September 30, 2016, securities of Energy Transfer Partners were not held by any of the Calvert Social Funds.
Calvert mutual funds are underwritten and distributed by Calvert Investment Distributors, Inc., member FINRA and subsidiary of Calvert Investments, Inc.