Corporate Monitor

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First Peoples’ Corporate Monitor reports on key trends affecting companies interacting with Indigenous Peoples. The Monitor highlights companies that are building cooperative partnerships with Indigenous Peoples as well as cases of conflict.

Subscribe to the Corporate Monitor below or email Nick Pelosi at to learn more about how First Peoples is working with companies and Indigenous Communities to reach win-win solutions based on Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC).

Click here to  download past Corporate Monitors.


The Importance of Inclusiveness

The proposed Pacific Northwest LNG export terminal is causing rifts within the Lax Kw’alaams Band in British Columbia. Last year, the community made headlines by unanimously rejecting a $1.2 billion benefits package offered by Petronas, the main company behind the terminal. Since then, a...Read More »

The Importance of Communication

During a speech at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference, the CEO of SM Resources said the oil and gas industry’s failure to communicate effectively is causing what he perceives to be “overreaching regulations, misguided legislative efforts and destructive ballot initiatives.” To address this, the...Read More »

Indigenous Rights are Good for Business

In May 2016, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), which represents Canada’s oil and gas industry, announced support for a recent Supreme Court ruling that recognized Métis and non-status Indigenous Peoples as “Indians” under the Canadian Constitution, thus granting them the same legal...Read More »

Shell Lawsuit Moves Forward in the Netherlands

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In December 2015, a Dutch appeals court ruled that an environmental lawsuit against Shell, filed by Friends of the Earth and four Nigerian farmers in 2008, can be heard in the Netherlands. The decision reversed a 2013 lower court ruling exonerating the company from...Read More »

Rising Tensions at Site C

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Tensions are escalating between BC Hydro and a First Nations protest camp established to block construction of the Site C Dam in northeastern BC. The protesters say the company is moving logging equipment into their territory even though lawsuits are still in motion and...Read More »

World Bank Project Cancelled

In December 2015, the World Bank cancelled a $265 million loan for a transportation project in Uganda in response to environmental concerns and allegations of sexual misconduct by contractors. An independent review of the project found “serious allegations of road workers’ sexual relations with...Read More »

Oil Patch Communities Feel Market Squeeze

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Tribal officials on North Dakota’s Fort Berthold Reservation are refusing to sign a revenue sharing agreement with the state because of new reductions to the tax rate on oil. Chairman Mark Fox says the reductions, which were enacted to help companies weather the effects...Read More »

Risk Alert: HKND

The Nicaraguan government is accused of using divisive tactics and coercion to pressure Indigenous and Afro-Caribbean communities into signing a document giving consent for a massive interoceanic canal to pass through their territories. The communities say their requests for legal assistance and independent oversight...Read More »

Dollar General Case

The US Supreme Court is hearing a lawsuit between Dollar General and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians that experts are calling “the most potentially devastating case for Indian tribes in half a century.” In 2003, a manager at one of the company’s stores...Read More »

Monsanto Blocked from Planting GMO Soy

In November 2015, Supreme Court of Mexico blocked Monsanto from planting GMO soy in Campeche and Yucatan states because consultation with Indigenous Peoples, as required by Mexican and international law, did not take place. The lawsuit was filed by Mayan communities claiming that the...Read More »

Land Grab Upheld

In November 2015, the Supreme Court of Tanzania ruled against a Loliondo Maasai community seeking redress for the seizure and transfer of their lands to Thomson Safaris without their consent. The community sought to revoke the company’s title, stop the conversion of their lands...Read More »

Baram Dam on Hold

In November 2015, the Chief Minister of Sarawak, Malaysia announced that the Baram Dam will be placed on hold until further notice because of community opposition. The decision came after years of continuous protests by Kenyah, Kayan, and Penan villagers whose lands were to...Read More »

Addressing Cumulative Impacts

The Blueberry River First Nation is suing the BC government, alleging that the cumulative impacts of multiple forms of development violate their treaty rights. The community produced maps showing how 90 percent of their territory is disrupted by commercial activities, including 16,000 oil and...Read More »

Canada Launches MMIW Inquiry

Canada is launching a national inquiry into the large number of missing and murdered Indigenous women, as part of the Trudeau administration’s promise for a “total renewal” of Aboriginal relations in the country. The government will spend the next two months consulting Aboriginal leaders...Read More »

Disaster in Brazil

In November 2015, a massive tailings spill at the Samarco mine in Brazil left at least 15 people dead and caused environmental damage that, according to some sources, is comparable to BP’s Deepwater Horizon blowout in 2010. The mine’s owners, BHP Billiton and Vale,...Read More »

COP21 Treaty Excludes Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous leaders across the globe are denouncing the exclusion of Indigenous rights and traditional knowledge from the long-awaited COP21 climate agreement. The initial draft mandated states to respect “the rights of Indigenous Peoples…when taking actions to address climate change.” However, the sentence was removed...Read More »

Country Risk Alert

In October 2015, more than 700 Lumads—the Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao, the southernmost island in the Philippines—gathered in the capital city for a week-long protest against human rights violations in their territories. According to the UN, 14 Lumad leaders and activists were murdered in...Read More »

New Political Landscape in Canada

Aboriginal voters turned out in record numbers to vote in Canada’s 2015 elections, and played a key role in the Liberal Party’s rise to power. New Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised a “nation to nation” relationship with First Nations, and to review all...Read More »

Transparency in the Supply Chain

Biosev, Bunge, and Cargill responded to allegations that they source sugarcane from landowners tied to violence against Guarani Indians in Brazil, covered in the last month’s Corporate Monitor. Biosev and Cargill deny the allegations, while Bunge asserts that they are based on outdated...Read More »

Trafficking and Slavery Legislation Reintroduced to Congress

In July 2015, the Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act was reintroduced to the House of Representatives. The bill would require companies to disclose to the SEC whether they are identifying and addressing the risks of forced labor, slavery, human trafficking,...Read More »

Documentary Exposes Sarawak Dams

The Borneo Project is producing a series of short documentaries exposing the devastating effects of hydroelectric dams in Sarawak, Malaysia. The latest video tells the story of 10,000 Indigenous Peoples who were relocated to make way for the Bakun dam in 1998, with promises...Read More »

Oak Flat Campaign Continues

Members of the San Carlos Apache Tribe continue to mobilize against the US government’s transfer of their sacred land to Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, for mining development. Demonstrations have taken place at the Oak Flat site, as well...Read More »

Blackfeet Tribe Opposes Drilling

In July 2015, the Blackfeet Tribe broke off talks with the US government and Solenex LLC regarding the latter’s plans to drill for oil and gas near Glacier National Park in Montana. The tribe is taking a hard stance against development as the area...Read More »

Vale Mine Suspended

In August 2015, a Brazilian court ordered Vale to halt operations at the Onca Puma mine until it resolves outstanding issues related to compensation of Indigenous communities. The company was told to disperse cash payments equaling $287,000 to each affected village, in addition to...Read More »

Native Response to Environmental Disasters

Recent environmental disasters in the US and Canada have sparked heated responses from Native communities.

The massive EPA wastewater spill in Colorado could cripple the Navajo Nation’s agriculture based economy, and contaminate the only source of drinking water for thousands of residents. Outraged tribal leaders...Read More »

Trafficking and Slavery Legislation Reintroduced to Congress

In July 2015, the Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act was reintroduced to the House of Representatives. The bill would require companies to disclose to the SEC whether they are identifying and addressing the risks of forced labor, slavery,...Read More »

Documentary Exposes Sarawak Dams

The Borneo Project is producing a series of short documentaries exposing the devastating effects of hydroelectric dams in Sarawak, Malaysia. The latest video tells the story of 10,000 Indigenous Peoples who were relocated to make way for the Bakun dam in 1998,...Read More »

NGOs Criticize Pascua Lama MOU

A report by MiningWatch and the Latin American Observatory of Environmental Conflicts disputes Barrick Gold’s claims that community relations are improving at the Pascua Lama mine in Chile, since an MOU was signed with Diaguita communities. The report alleges that “the process to develop...Read More »

Oak Flat Campaign Continues

Members of the San Carlos Apache Tribe continue to mobilize against the US government’s transfer of their sacred land to Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, for mining development. Demonstrations have taken...Read More »

Another Leader Killed in Guatemala

In September 2015, Rigoberto Lima Choc, an Indigenous activist who played a pivotal role in shutting down a polluting palm oil plantation in Guatemala, was assassinated outside a municipal courthouse in Sayaxché. The gunmen are believed to be linked to REPSA, the company that...Read More »

Blackfeet Tribe Opposes Drilling

In July 2015, the Blackfeet Tribe broke off talks with the US government and Solenex LLC regarding the latter’s plans to drill for oil and gas near Glacier National Park in Montana. The tribe is taking a hard stance against development as the...Read More »

Vale Mine Suspended

In August 2015, a Brazilian court ordered Vale to halt operations at the Onca Puma mine until it resolves outstanding issues related to compensation of Indigenous communities. The company was told to disperse cash payments equaling $287,000 to each affected village, in...Read More »

Native Response to Environmental Disasters

Recent environmental disasters in the US and Canada have sparked heated responses from Native communities. The massive EPA wastewater spill in Colorado could cripple the Navajo Nation’s agriculture based economy, and contaminate the only source of drinking water for thousands of residents. Outraged tribal...Read More »

Indigenous Rights Radio On the Air in Rural Ghana

Ghana is home to a rich diversity of languages and cultures, and a mosaic of community radio stations reflect and celebrate this diversity by broadcasting in dozens of tribal languages. Radio Gurune is one of these stations. Located in the town of Bolgatanga in...Read More »

Green Money Journal Spotlights Indigenous Peoples and SRI

The August 2015 edition of Green Money Journal is devoted to Indigenous Peoples and SRI, and includes an article by First Peoples Worldwide’s Founder and President Rebecca Adamson on the link between extractive industries and violence against women, and the...Read More »

Business Case Mainstreaming

Recently representatives from the Wangan and Jagalingou Peoples met with executives at Standard Chartered Bank to persuade them against financing The Adani Group’s Carmichael Mine in Queensland, which they say will have terrible impacts on their ancestral territories. A community spokesperson said they were...Read More »

Examining True Costs

Since 2007, four communities in Costa Rica’s Caribbean region have been unable to drink their tap water because their aquifers were contaminated by pesticides used in nearby pineapple plantations, the largest of which is owned by a subsidiary of Fresh Del Monte Produce.

Government studies...Read More »

Choosing the Right Intermediary

An Australian firm hired to perform the social and environmental impact assessment (SEIA) for a hydroelectric dam in Shan State, Myanmar is accused of pushing the project forward without proper public consultations. A statement from local NGOs called the SEIA process “a sham, aimed...Read More »

Land Tenure Risk

Residents of Maruwai Village in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia have filed a claim for legal title to 1,000 hectares of land within BHP Billiton’s IndoMet Coal project, under a new program that aims to recognize the customary land rights of Indigenous Peoples in the province.

According...Read More »

Supporting Sustainable Development

The impending closure of Alinta Energy’s Leigh Creek Mine and two associated power stations will eliminate many jobs and services in the remote Aboriginal community of Nepabunna, South Australia. Residents are concerned, but optimistic that their town will survive the economic downturn. Discussions are...Read More »

Turning Risk into Opportunity

A new nonprofit called the West Segment Regulatory Commission has been established to monitor oil and gas drilling on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. The commission “aims to address issues related to environmental impacts…[as well as] drug trafficking, human trafficking, and other...Read More »

The Keystone Effect

Opposition movements to Bakken oil trains and pipelines are popping up in Native and non Native communities across the US. In Iowa, citizens groups have collected more than 2,600 statements against a pipeline proposed by Dakota Access LLC. In North Dakota, labor unions are...Read More »

Changing Legal Landscape in Canada

Tahoe Resources is asking the Supreme Court of BC to dismiss a lawsuit filed by seven Guatemalan citizens who were allegedly injured by security forces during protests against the Escobal Mine, which is operated by the company’s Guatemalan subsidiary Minera San Rafael. The plaintiffs...Read More »

The Importance of Inclusive Engagement

In June 2015, Weatherby Energy acquired 8,261 acres of oil and gas leases in Kay County, Oklahoma near the Chilocco Indian School, a Native American boarding school that operated from 1884 to 1980.

Native American boarding schools were agents of the federal government’s “assimilation through...Read More »

Barro Blanco Blockade

In June 2015, residents of the Ngobë Buglé reservation blocked construction of the Barro Blanco Dam in Panama to protest its negative social and environmental impacts.

Their grievances—which include displacement of 36,000 people, environmental damage, and flooding of sacred sites—have gone unaddressed since the dam’s...Read More »

The Costs of Ignoring FPIC

Barrick Gold’s shareholders are filing a $6 billion class action lawsuit against the company for allegedly misleading them about the costs of delays at the Pascua Lama Mine in Chile. The mine was suspended in 2013 for violating environmental regulations, after the Supreme Court...Read More »

The Importance of Industry Standard Setting

Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) alleges that “industry noncompliance with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is ubiquitous, bringing its credibility to the brink.” FPP says that the RSPO’s standards look good on paper, but points to a certified plantation in Liberia owned by...Read More »

Line 9 Challenged

Canada’s eastbound pipelines are also embroiled in disputes with First Nations. In April 2015, the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation (COTTFN ) appealed the National Energy Board’s decision to approve Enbridge’s reversal of Line 9 without consulting the 18 Aboriginal communities along its...Read More »

Trans Mountain Pipeline Denied Approval

The Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN) continues to oppose Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline. The TWN recently published an assessment of the pipeline concluding that it is “inconsistent with [their] stewardship obligations which include the responsibility to maintain and restore conditions in...Read More »

Railroad Proposal 600 Indigenous Communities

China has submitted a proposal to build an east west railroad between Brazil’s Atlantic coast and Peru’s Pacific coast that would accelerate the movement of South American commodities to Asian markets.

The railroad, which is approved in Brazil and under review in Peru, is triggering...Read More »

EU Adopts Resolution on Land Grabs in Tanzania

In March 2015, the European Union (EU) adopted a resolution on land grabs in Tanzania. The resolution spells out that large scale land acquisitions can be defined as land grabs when one or more of the following apply: when there is a clear violation...Read More »

Calls for Fracking Moratorium in NWT

The Dene Nation is calling for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the Northwest Territories (NWT). According to Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus, “we always knew the oil was there, and until we find a secure and responsible way to extract it without hydraulic...Read More »

Indigenous Peoples Join Shell Protests

Indigenous Peoples are actively involved with the pushback to Shell’s resumption of exploratory drilling in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea. Alaska Natives have joined environmentalists to file another lawsuit, alleging that the federal government approved the company’s plans without accounting for the risks of spills.

In Seattle,...Read More »

Bakken Legacy Afflicts Keystone

There is a rapid spike in violence against Native American women in the Bakken oilfields, and communities along the route of the Keystone XL Pipeline fear that a similar trend is heading in their direction.

One of TransCanada’s selling points is that the pipeline will...Read More »

Understanding Country Risk in El Salvador

In 2005, El Salvador denied an exploration permit to Pacific Rim Mining for failing to comply with environmental regulations. The project allegedly would have threatened water supplies for two-thirds of the country’s population, and was the subject of nationwide protests.

The company, which was acquired...Read More »

Social License Threatens Nicaragua Canal

Indigenous Peoples in Nicaragua are denouncing plans to build an interoceanic canal that would rival the size of the Panama Canal, and cut through 282 communities. The government recently approved the project, and awarded a $40 billion construction contract to a privately owned company...Read More »

Victory for the U’wa

Ecopetrol’s decision to dismantle a gas project in northeastern Colombia is being hailed as a victory for the U’wa Peoples. The U’wa are becoming increasingly resistant to oil and gas drilling on their territories, having suffered decades of pollution and militarization. Last year, U’wa...Read More »

Signs of Reform on Fort Berthold

Since becoming Chairman of the Fort Berthold Reservation in December 2014, Mark Fox has taken some measures to fulfill his campaign promise of more responsible oil and gas oversight. He has overseen two royalty disbursements to community members, and put a hold on a...Read More »

FPIC Test in Australia

In March 2015, the Wangan and Jagalingou Peoples formally rejected a land use agreement that would enable Adani Mining to develop one of Australia’s largest coal mines on their territories in Queensland. The company is asking the National Native Title Tribunal to override the...Read More »

Keeping Tabs on Country Risk

In 2014, the Western Australian government announced that up to 150 of the state’s remote Aboriginal communities might be closed because their “lifestyle choices” are not financially viable. The announcement met strong criticism from Aboriginal leaders, who fear that the government will begin eliminating...Read More »

IADB Land Titling Project Criticized

An $80 million land titling project in Peru is being criticized for fueling deforestation and land conflicts with Indigenous Peoples. The project, which is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), will award over 700,000 individual land titles to migrant farmers, despite the prevalence...Read More »

Navajo Residents Question Oil Drilling

Flaring fracking rigs stand out in what was once a sweeping landscape on the Navajo Nation. Photo by Laura Paskus.

Residents of the Navajo Nation are questioning whether federal and tribal officials are adequately regulating oil drilling in...Read More »

Thousands Evicted for Clean Energy and Tourism

Thousands of Maasai pastoralists in Kenya and Tanzania are being forced off their lands at gunpoint by their respective governments. In Kenya, the evictions are intended to make way for geothermal energy projects, while in Tanzania, they are associated with Ortello Business Corporation, a...Read More »

ADB Considers Risky Loan

Indigenous leaders are raising objections to the Asian Development Bank’s proposed loan to Sarawak Energy to finish construction of a high voltage transmission line in Borneo. The company allegedly failed to consult or compensate communities along the line’s route. Additionally, the line is associated...Read More »

The Cost of Ignoring Cleanup

Occidental Petroleum and five Achuar communities in Peru have reached an out-of-court settlement in which the company agreed to compensate the communities for three decades of alleged oil contamination. The amount of the settlement is undisclosed, but both parties are reportedly satisfied. The settlement...Read More »

The Importance of Inclusive Engagement

A recent article published in The Guardian is accusing the Canadian government of “pushing First Nations to give up land rights for oil and gas profits.” The article cites private meetings between resource companies and the Assembly of First Nations, organized and funded...Read More »

Doing Business in Conflict Zones

Since Kosmos Energy began offshore drilling in Western Sahara, the company has been criticized repeatedly for doing business in what many consider an illegally occupied country. The company’s recent response to a disparaging article reads: “We are aware that some people do not support...Read More »

Oil Facility Attacked in Ecuador

Waorani Warriors could be tried soon for sabotage and paralysis of public services following attacks on an oil field in Ecuador earlier this month. [Courtesy]

In January 2015, seven Waorani warriors attacked an oil facility owned by Petrobell...Read More »

Defining Impact Areas

For several weeks, hundreds of Achuar and Kichwa protesters have occupied Pluspetrol’s oil facilities in Peru to demand compensation for the company’s use of their land. Production has been suspended at fourteen wells. With oil prices at an all-time low, the costs of these...Read More »

Ogoni Sign Oil Agreement

In February 2015, the Ogoni Peoples of the Niger Delta signed an agreement endorsing a Nigerian oil company, Belemaoil, to succeed Royal Dutch Shell. The agreement was signed by traditional leaders from across Ogoniland, and affirms that “Ogoni oil is now open for exploration...Read More »

Transparency in the Supply Chain

Wilmar International is publicly disclosing the names and locations of all its palm oil suppliers in Indonesia and Malaysia, two countries where palm oil production is devastating Indigenous lands. Wilmar is the first company in the palm oil industry to do so, and is...Read More »

World Bank Safeguards Violated

The World Bank’s Inspection Panel (IP), which monitors the Bank’s compliance with its own policies, has identified an “operational link” between the Bank’s provision of support to Ethiopia for basic services, and the country’s “villagization” (forced relocation) of Indigenous Peoples. The Bank refutes this...Read More »

Poor Social Risk Management Costing US Taxpayers

Communities in Oaxaca, Mexico have defeated a proposed hydroelectric plant that allegedly would have polluted their drinking water and damaged forests. The plant received an $8.5 million loan by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a US government agency that mobilizes private capital to...Read More »

Awa Victory Short-Lived

Less than a year after Brazilian soldiers evicted all non-Awa settlers from an Awa reservation in Maranhao, illegal loggers have resumed their activities in the region. The evictions were mandated by the government in response to a campaign led by Survival International, and...Read More »

Indigenous Peoples Excluded from UN Climate Change Conference

Among many criticisms of the twentieth UN Climate Change Conference, which convened in Peru in December 2014, is the omission of Indigenous Peoples’ rights from the outcome document, despite the fact that 1) Indigenous Peoples are especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change,...Read More »

Australia Needs New Approaches to Fracking

Fracking in Australia continues to meet widespread resistance from Aboriginals. In Western Australia, Buru Energy’s negotiations with traditional landowners in the Canning Basin have been largely unsuccessful, and communities are organizing camp outs to stop the company. In Queensland, the weakening of environmental protections...Read More »

Webequie Chief Speaks about Ring of Fire

Development of northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire in the near future is looking more and more implausible, as Cliffs Natural Resources, the region’s leading investor, announced intentions to exit the area in late 2014. Cornelius Wabasse, Chief of the Webequie First Nation, says this...Read More »

BG Group Faces Community Risk in Honduras

Indigenous opposition is surfacing to the BG Group’s offshore exploration permits in Honduras. Miskitu and Garifuna leaders are worried about potential damages to subsistence farming and fishing, and have reportedly denounced the company’s consultation process as “socialization of the contract after the fact.” Additional...Read More »

Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact Reports on Corporations

In December 2014, the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact published a briefing paper detailing the experiences of Indigenous Peoples affected by corporate activities in Asia, with a focus on mines, dams, and plantations. These experiences include threats of ethnocide, fragmentation and internal conflicts, threats to...Read More »

Prioritizing Cleanup and Reconciliation after Oil Spills

Shell has agreed to an out of court settlement of $84 million to compensate the Bodo community for oil spills that took place in 2008 and 2009 in the Niger Delta. Although this is considered a victory for the community, the length of time...Read More »

Human Trafficking in the Bakken

A spike in human trafficking can be added to the long list of hazards brought to the Fort Berthold Reservation by the Bakken oil boom. The combined influx of cash and oil workers has created a burgeoning illegal sex trade, to which Native American...Read More »

The Importance of Inclusiveness

Following fines and delays at its Pascua-Lama project in Chile, Barrick Gold signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoU) with twelve Diaguita communities and three Diaguita associations that provides “a six-month period in which mining details will be divulged to the communities for discussion.”

The MoU...Read More »

The Importance of Culture

For several years, the Wixarika Peoples of Mexico have urged First Majestic Silver Corporation to cancel a planned mining project on Wirikuta, a sacred mountain that has been the site of ceremonial pilgrimages for generations. In November 2014, the company made headlines again when...Read More »

Final Land Claim Agreements Supersede Territorial Legislation in Yukon

In December 2014, a Yukon court rejected the Yukon government’s land use plan for the Peel Watershed, on the grounds that it does not respect final land claim agreements with First Nations. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of First Nations, conservation groups, and individuals, in response...Read More »

Canada Launches CSR Strategy

The Canadian government is launching a CSR strategy to enhance the reputation and viability of Canadian companies doing business around the world. The Canadian Minister of International Trade is appointing a CSR counsellor, and has promised to give its ombudsman “some teeth by insisting companies cooperate with...Read More »

Neuquén Shale Boom Revives Conflicts with Indigenous Peoples

Oil and gas drilling in Neuquén, Argentina, is reviving conflicts between the government and Mapuche communities, as concessions are awarded on disputed Mapuche territories without consultation or Free, Prior, and Informed Consent. Only 10% of the 70 Mapuche communities in Neuquén have title to their lands. A...Read More »

Federal Legislation Ignores Tribal Sovereignty

The Chairman of the San Carlos Apache is expressing strong opposition to the National Defense Authorization Act, which contains a provision allowing Rio Tinto to acquire 2,400 acres of sacred land for its proposed Resolution copper mine. The chairman’s sentiments are echoed by the National Congress...Read More »

World Bank Incentivizes Governments to Violate UNDRIP

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has criticized the World Bank’s draft Safeguard Policies for “going out of their way to avoid any meaningful references to human rights.” Among its criticisms is the fact that the safeguards now require Free, Prior,...Read More »

Viability of Bougainville Mine Questioned

A study by the Jubilee Australia Research Center warns that Indigenous Peoples in Bougainville, an autonomous island region of Papua New Guinea (PNG), oppose the possible reopening of the Panguna mine. Panguna was operated by Rio Tinto, the PNG government, and private shareholders from 1969 to 1989,...Read More »

Weak Self-Governance Increases Corporate Risk

The Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation (WDLAC), which holds native title rights for the Martu Peoples of Western Australia, is “under scrutiny over its handling of millions of dollars in mining company money…with its deputy chairman facing criminal charges and its chief executive suddenly absent on extended...Read More »

World Bank Accused of Complicity in Kenya Evictions

The World Bank’s Inspectional Panel has acknowledged the Bank’s role in the Kenya Forest Service’s (KFS) evictions of the Sengwer Peoples from the Embobut Forest. The panel “could not prove a direct link between Bank funding and the [evictions]” but found that the Bank “was noncompliant with...Read More »

The Importance of Culture

In October 2014, Kinder Morgan generated a social media campaign against itself when the company’s lawyers questioned how much of the Kwantlen First Nations’ diet comes from fish, at a National Energy Board hearing for the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline. In response, outraged First...Read More »

Industry “Deeply Concerned” About Fort Berthold Elections

In November 2014, tribal tax director Mark Fox defeated tribal attorney Damon Williams in the Fort Berthold Reservation’s elections. Former Chairman Tex Hall, who championed a rapid pace of oil and gas drilling on the reservation, was defeated in the primaries. According to The Bismarck Tribune, tribal...Read More »

Shell Loses Preemptive Strike against Environmentalists

In November 2014, a federal appeals court rejected Shell’s efforts to preemptively dismiss potential legal challenges to the company’s oil spill plans in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea. According to Alaska Dispatch News, the lawsuit “had sought to have the courts validate the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s...Read More »

RepRisk Reports on Indigenous Peoples

In September 2014, RepRisk published a report on “the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks businesses face in their encounters with Indigenous communities.” The report identified the sectors and countries that are most exposed to these risks, based on the RepRisk Index, which...Read More »

ExxonMobil Human Rights Lawsuits Proceed

In September 2014, Foley Hoag reported that “the District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that two closely related cases filed against Exxon Mobil Corporation, and several of the company’s subsidiaries, could proceed. Plaintiffs in both cases…allege that the company is liable...Read More »

Entering Conservation Partnerships with Caution

In October 2014, Survival International (SI) reported that “Baka men and women in Cameroon are regularly victims of violence and intimidation by wildlife officers and the soldiers that accompany them…rather than target the powerful individuals behind organized poaching, [these] wildlife officers and soldiers...Read More »

First Equitable Origin Certification in Colombia

In September 2014, Equitable Origin (EO) announced its first certification of socially and environmentally responsible oil at Pacific Rubiales’ Quifa and Rubiales sites in Colombia. The certified sites “collectively produce approximately 250,000 barrels of oil per day, 25 percent of Colombia’s national total....Read More »

Tribes Urged to Ban Fracking

In October 2014, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians declared a ban on hydraulic fracturing on its sovereign lands in North Carolina. Similar bans have been passed by the Onondaga Nation (New York), the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (North Dakota/South Dakota),...Read More »

Canada Sparks “Outrage” at World Conference

Once again, Canada has sparked outrage among its Aboriginal population, this time for using the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples “as an opportunity to continue its unprincipled attack on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).” At the...Read More »

Canada Delays First Nations Financial Transparency Act

Canada plans to unveil legislation requiring Canadian companies to disclose natural resource payments to foreign and domestic governments, but is delaying the onset of similar requirements for payments to First Nations, so that consultations with Aboriginal leaders can take place. This decision was welcomed...Read More »

Canada: Tsilhqot’in Declare Tribal Park surrounding Sacred Fish Lake

Reposted from Cultural Survival

Photo credit: Cultural Survival

On October 12th, Tsilhqot’in People gathered at Fish Lake in British Colombia to inaugurate a totem pole at a new conservation area covering 800,000 acres to be managed by the...Read More »

The Cost of Ignoring Cleanup

Nigerian communities are reportedly angered by speculations that Royal Dutch Shell is canceling construction of the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP), which would carry 180,000 barrels of oil per day to the Nigerian coast. The TNP would replace an older, ruptured pipeline that...Read More »

Supporting Knowledge Exchange and Partnerships

The Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation, owned by the Nyiyaparli from Western Australia, is working with the NANA Regional Corporation, owned by the Inupiat from Alaska, to explore business ventures in resource development in the US. If they are successful, the partnership could...Read More »

Mount Polley Tailings Spill Sparks Outrage 

In August 2014, a tailings spill at Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley mine unleashed 2.5 billion gallons of contaminants into the Fraser River watershed in southern BC, sparking outrage from the Neskonlith Indian Band. Community members established a monitoring checkpoint and encampment at...Read More »

Successful IBAs in Yukon

An updated edition of the Impact Benefit Agreement Community Toolkit highlights examples of
successful impact benefit agreements (IBAs) between companies and Aboriginal communities in
Yukon. The toolkit “is designed to help communities negotiate with mining companies or
businesses in other industries.” Mathieya Alatani,...Read More »

Second Spill on Fort Berthold

For the second time in two months, a pipeline owned by Arrow Pipeline (a subsidiary of  Crestwood Midstream Partners) leaked thousands of gallons of waste onto the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. Community...Read More »

Lawsuit against BHP Billiton in Chile

In July 2014, Aymara communities filed a lawsuit against a channeling system being constructed by BHP Billiton in northern Chile. The company claims that the system is intended to protect the communities by preventing runoff from its Cerro Colorado...Read More »

Fort Berthold Seeks to Raise Environmental Standards

The Fort Berthold Reservation’s elected leaders are outlining plans to impose fees on companies for natural gas flaring on tribal lands, under the assumption that “operators will actively initiate gas capture plans when they have the motivation of paying...Read More »

Bolstering Legitimacy of Consultation Processes


In August 2014, a Guatemalan court ruled that Indigenous Peoples’ “right to information and consultation” must be respected “before granting any kind of mining permits”, and that an exploration license for Goldcorp’s Los Chocoyos project should be cancelled due...Read More »

API Publishes Community Engagement Guidelines

In August 2014, the American Petroleum Institute (API) published Community Engagement Guidelines to “promote the safe and responsible development of the nation’s oil and natural gas resources by engaging and respecting the communities where these operations occur.” The guidelines...Read More »

Martu Welcome Uranium Development

Martu landowners are welcoming the government’s approval of Cameco’s Kintyre mine in Western Australia, for which they signed a land use agreement in 2012. Despite the landowners’ support, the Conservation Council of Western Australia intends to appeal the government’s...Read More »

Positioning Companies and Communities on Equal Grounds

In July 2014, Active Energy Group and three Métis settlements entered a joint venture to commercialize 100,000 hectares of forestry assets in Alberta. The company and the settlements each hold a 45 percent stake in the JV, with the...Read More »

Conflicting Perspectives to Treaty on Business and Human Rights

In June 2014, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution, drafted by Ecuador and South Africa, to “establish an intergovernmental working group with the mandate to elaborate an international legally binding instrument on Transnational Corporations and Other Business...Read More »

Intimidation is Ineffective

In 2009, more than 2,000 Aguaruna and Wampi Indians protested a Peruvian law that allowed mining companies to enter their territories without consent. The protests turned violent, resulting in 33 deaths (23 police officers and 10 civilians) and 200...Read More »

The Cost of Carelessness

In July 2014, a pipeline owned by Arrow Pipeline (a subsidiary of Crestwood Midstream Partners) spilled one million gallons of saltwater on the Fort Berthold Reservation. The saltwater, which is up to thirty times saltier than saltwater in the...Read More »

Cumulative Impacts are Global


Rising sea levels are threatening the disappearance of Kiribati, the Maldives, the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, and other small island nations where Indigenous Peoples “currently have their own, sovereign states.” Residents of these nations are being told to “prepare to...Read More »

World Bank Pressured to Dilute Indigenous Peoples Policy

According to the Bank Information Center, some African governments are pressuring the World Bank into restricting application of its Indigenous Peoples Policy in Africa, arguing that the term “Indigenous” is not applicable to their countries. Doing so would reverse...Read More »

The Importance of Inclusiveness: USEITI


Tribal governments have yet to join the Multi Stakeholder Group that is overseeing implementation of the US Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI), despite the vast quantities of natural resources extracted from tribal lands. This indicates that tribal governments do...Read More »

Indigenous Peoples Protest the World Cup


Indigenous Peoples in Brazil successfully harnessed the publicity generated from the World Cup to bring international attention to their plight. Demonstrations were held to protest the government’s lavish spending on stadiums, while reducing funding for Indigenous Peoples and other...Read More »

Tsilhqot’in Ruling a Game Changer for Canada

In June 2014, Canada’s Supreme Court awarded the Tsilhqot’in Nation title to 1,700 square kilometers of their unceded traditional lands. The case dates back to 1983, when the government issued logging licenses on lands that were outside the community’s...Read More »

Addressing Negative Impacts During Consumption

A sharp spike in diabetes in Indigenous communities in Chiapas, Mexico is being attributed to an “invasion” of soft drinks. Researchers at Mexico’s National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition highlight “very aggressive commercial campaigns” in the region...Read More »

Due Diligence Necessary to Mitigate Country Risk

Maasai communities in Kenya are being threatened with eviction, to make way for geothermal projects being developed by Africa Geothermal International, Hyundai, Sinopec, Toshiba, and other African and Asian companies. The communities allege that the companies “have disregarded...Read More »

Media Spotlight Shines Brighter on the Bakken

In June 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported on state and local governments’ efforts to “curb fracking to protect residents and scenic areas” in the Bakken, and a Reuters article predicted that North Dakota’s flaring crackdown will slow...Read More »

Lesson from Karonga District, Malawi: Be Wary of Breakdowns in Communication

A village in Karonga District, Malawi is accusing Eland Coal Mine Company of reneging on social responsibility promises entrenched in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the parties. These promises include a school, a hospital, and clean water....Read More »

Respond to Grievances at the Earliest Point Possible

In June 2014, members of the Pictou Landing First Nation blocked a road leading to an effluent leak at a pulp mill owned by Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation (a subsidiary of Asia Pulp and Paper), to protest...Read More »

Chinese Presence in Ecuador Affects Indigenous Peoples

Since 2009, China has loaned $9 billion to Ecuador, and has promised to loan an additional $7 billion to the country. These loans amount to nearly one-fifth of Ecuador’s GDP, and their conditions and stipulations give China access...Read More »

Changing Political Landscapes Create Risks and Uncertainties

The results of India’s recent national elections, which awarded landslide victories to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), could have detrimental impacts to Indigenous Peoples (Adivasis) in the country. The BJP’s electoral mandate includes conflicting promises to “empower” and...Read More »

First Nations Turn to Corporations for Funding

As Canada slashes federal funding for Aboriginal programs and services, First Nations are increasingly turning to corporations as a funding source for governance, education, and other initiatives. Examples include Vale Canada Limited’s support for the Centre for Indigenous...Read More »

Using International Forums to Engage Indigenous Peoples

In May 2014, Coca-Cola publicly denounced land grabs and urged governments to strengthen land rights at the UN Committee on World Food Security. Last year, the company agreed to adhere to the principles of Free, Prior, and Informed...Read More »

The Risks of Cumulative Impacts

Elected leaders of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation are beginning to express concerns about the environmental impacts of oil drilling. While they maintain that oil drilling has economic benefits, they are calling for a greater focus on addressing...Read More »

Addressing Cumulative Impacts

According to a recent study of Peru’s forestry industry by the Amazon Conservation Alliance and the Center for International Environmental Law, legal logging concessions are “enabling an illegal logging crisis in the Peruvian Amazon.” Despite efforts to reform...Read More »

Operating in Conflict Zones

In April 2014, community leaders and environmental activists gathered at the Chico Vive Conference in Washington, DC, to discuss increasing violence towards Indigenous Peoples defending their land rights. For example, in Honduras, the coordinator of the Indigenous Advisory Organization...Read More »

The Cost of Ignoring FPIC

For the second time, Taseko Mines Limited applied for judicial review of the Canadian government’s rejection of the New Prosperity Gold Copper Project. In response, leaders of the Tsilhqot’in Nation asserted that “enough is enough. It is time...Read More »

Operating in Conflict Zones

In March 2014, the Caño Limón-Coveñas Pipeline, which transports crude from the Caño Limón field (operated by Ecopetrol and Occidental Petroleum) to the Colombian coast, was damaged by attacks by rebel groups. For over a month, U’wa communities...Read More »

The Cost of Ignoring Cleanup

In January 2014, Lukoil was fined $18.5 million for oil pollution in the Komi Republic of northern Russia. Although the fine was the largest of its kind in Russian history, Komi communities are demanding further actions against the company,...Read More »

Accounting for the Costs of Conflict

A new report by Harvard University, the University of Queensland, and SHIFT Social Impact Solutions revealed that “extractive companies do not currently identify, understand and aggregate the full range of costs of conflict with...Read More »

Burma Remains a High Risk Country

In February 2014, hundreds of villagers staged a protest against Total SA, PETRONAS, PTTEP, and other oil companies operating in the Tanintharyi Region of southern Burma. According to the villagers, the companies frequent dirt roads that pass through...Read More »

Transparency and Candor is Key to Community Support

In 2009, after more than twenty years of exploration, Rio Tinto (LSE:RIO) began producing ilmenite in Madagascar, a country with high poverty levels, weak civil society, and several recent bouts of violent political unrest. The company’s stated aim is...Read More »

US Capital Energy Ignores Belize’s Supreme Court

In April 2014, Belize’s Supreme Court ruled that the issuance of permits for oil drilling in Sarstoon-Temash National Park was irrational, unreasonable, and a breach of the UNDeclaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The lawsuit was filed by...Read More »

Bakken Business Diverted from Tribes

The Bakken oil boom has brought an abundance of cash and business opportunities to the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, yet many Native-owned businesses are on the verge of closing because they cannot compete with other,...Read More »

First Nation Acquires Control of Natural Resource Revenues

In 2013, the Kawacatoose First Nation became the first community to opt into the First Nations Oil and Gas and Moneys Management Act (FNOGMA), which “provides First Nations with the option of managing and regulating oil and gas exploration...Read More »

Can Native Title and Mining Leases Coexist?

In March 2014, an Australian court ruled that the Ngarla Peoples’ native title cannot be extinguished by preexisting mining leases. In 2007, the Ngarla Peoples secured native title to lands in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The...Read More »

Strengthening Capacities to Build Consensus and Make Decisions

In March 2014, the Klamath Tribes announced an agreement with the ranching industry aimed at resolving “contentious water rights issues in the Klamath Basin, a drought-ridden region spanning southern Oregon and northern California.” Tribal members protested the agreement,...Read More »

Settlers Evicted From Awa Reservation

In January 2014, in response to international pressures to protect the land rights of the Awa (considered “earth’s most threatened tribe” by Survival International), a Brazilian court ordered all non-Awa settlers to vacate an Awa reservation in the northeastern state of Maranhao.  The...Read More »

Palm Oil Conflicts Continue in Indonesia

In March 2014, Suku Anak Dalam communities clashed with security forces belonging to PT Asiatic Persada (PT AP), leaving one person dead and five others injured.  The clashes are the latest in a series of conflicts related to PT AP’s palm oil plantations in...Read More »

Lakota Oppose Keystone XL Pipeline

Construction of the final segment of TransCanada’s (NYSE:TRP) Keystone XL Pipeline would traverse the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota, both of which are voicing strong opposition.  The homepage of Pine Ridge’s Read More »

The Importance of Honesty and Open Communications

The Cambodian government is promising Indigenous farmers cheap electricity from a hydroelectric dam that is poised for construction on their territories.  Because electricity in the region is currently expensive and unreliable, many of the farmers are choosing to support the dam.  According to Ame...Read More »

Crimean Tartars Fear Repression Under Russian Rule

Ukraine’s Indigenous Peoples could be disproportionately affected by the country’s political unrest.  If Russia’s efforts to annex Crimea are successful, Crimean Tatars (an Indigenous group comprising 15 percent of Crimea’s population) fear a repeat of persecutions experienced prior to the dissolution of the Soviet...Read More »

Standard Setting Mitigates Legacy Risk

Energy Fuels (TSE:EFR) wants to develop the US’ largest uranium mine in western New Mexico, on lands considered sacred to the Navajo Nation.  The Navajo Nation was the site of a uranium boom from the 1940s to the 1960s, and residents are still...Read More »

The Risks of Uncontacted Communities

The Peruvian government has approved the environmental impact assessment for the Camisea Gas Project, despite widespread allegations that the project will threaten Indigenous Peoples living in voluntary isolation.  Survival International, the Forest Peoples Programme, and Peru’s Ministry of Culture are among...Read More »

Changing Legal Landscape in Canada

Two recent Canadian court rulings have potential to majorly alter the legal landscape for Canadian companies doing business overseas.  In July 2013, a court ruled that Hudbay Minerals (TSE:HBM) can be tried for overseas human rights violations in Canadian courts.  Security personnel...Read More »

The Complexities of Indigenous Leadership

In February 2014, the Indigenous community of Balatoc successfully halted the activities of Farratuk Mining (a subsidiary of Carrascal Nickel Corporation) in the Kalinga province of the Philippines.  The Philippines’ National Commission on Indigenous Peoples affirmed the community’s authority over its territories,...Read More »

US Congress Takes steps to Mitigate Land Grabs in Ethiopia

The US Congress is also taking steps to ensure that international development funds are not supporting projects connected to land grabs in the Gambella and Lower Omo regions of Ethiopia.  As a major provider of bilateral aid to the country, the US risks association...Read More »

Panamanian Communities Threatened With Eviction

Ngöbe communities of western Panama are being threatened with eviction to make way for the Barro Blanco Hydroelectric Dam in the Tabasara River.  They have established a series of blockades to halt the dam’s construction, which will destroy their fisheries, their farmlands, and their...Read More »

Foundation for Win-Win Development in Colombia

In February 2014, Repsol Oil (MCE:REP) signed an agreement with the UN Development Program (UNDP) “focused on improving living conditions and contributing to the development of communities living in Repsol’s area of influence” in the Guajira Peninsula of northern Colombia.  The agreement,...Read More »

Lawsuit Brings Uncertainty to Jumbo Glacier Resort

The Ktunaxa Nation is taking legal action against the Jumbo Glacier Resort, a ski resort poised for development in the Purcell Mountains of southeastern British Columbia.  The resort would be constructed upon Qat’muk, which is the gathering place of Grizzly Bear...Read More »

The Risks of Compliance

Recent court decisions in Guatemala and Papua New Guinea have jeopardized the fate of two large-scale mines.  In Guatemala, a court ruled that the results of a community referendum regarding Tahoe Resource’s (TSE:THO) Escobal Mine would be legally binding.  Because 98 percent...Read More »

Slowdown in Recognition of Indigenous Peoples Rights

A new study by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) reports drastic slowdowns in the recognition of the rights of forest-dwelling Indigenous Peoples since 2008.  Despite favorable court rulings and positive commitments from governments and corporations, the area of forests owned or...Read More »

Boycott of the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous leaders are planning to boycott the upcoming UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, which is a “high-level plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly (UNGA)…to share perspectives and best practices on the realization of the rights of Indigenous Peoples.”  The conference,...Read More »

Canada's Largest Forestry Company Loses Forest Stewardship Council Certificates

In December 2013, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) suspended three environmental certificates belonging to Resolute Forest Products (TSE:RFP), Canada’s largest forestry company, following allegations from the Grand Council of the Crees (GCC) that the company did not obtain Free, Prior, and...Read More »

Illegal Evictions in Kenya

The Kenyan Forest Service, with police support, is torching homes and illegally evicting the Sengwer Peoples from their ancestral lands in the Embobut Forest.  Authorities are defending these actions as “conservation” efforts, and claiming that the communities are “squatters” threatening urban drinking water supplies. ...Read More »

Successful Renewable Energy Partnerships in Chile

In January 2013, three Huilliche communities announced their support for Ecopower’s (a Chilean-Swedish renewable energy firm) installation of a wind farm on their territories in southern Chile.  The company and the communities engaged in a series of roundtable discussions, during which the company promised...Read More »

Safety Alert Issued for Bakken Crude Oil

In January 2014, the US government issued a safety alert, warning that crude oil produced in the Bakken “may be more flammable than traditional heavy crude oil.”  The alert followed a series of three train derailments and fiery explosions in Quebec (in July 2013,...Read More »

Barrages of Lawsuits from First Nations

First Nations continue to launch “barrages” of lawsuits against the Canadian and Albertan governments over the oil sands.  The Fort McKay First Nation is challenging the legality of a regulatory mechanism for Brion Energy’s newest concession in Alberta, which is expressly prohibited...Read More »

International Finance Corporation Criticized by Internal Audit

In January 2014, an internal audit revealed that the International Finance Corporation (IFC) significantly underestimated the social and environmental risks of Corporación Dinant’s palm oil plantation in the Aguan Valley of northern Honduras.  According to the audit, the IFC disbursed $15...Read More »

Compliance is Risky

In late 2013, Quebec passed a law requiring mining companies to consult with First Nations “if the circumstances warrant.”  The law is a marginal improvement from its predecessor, which does not require consultation with First Nations at all, but does not define which circumstances...Read More »

Canadian Mining Industry Recognizes the Benefits of Transparency

In January 2014, the Canadian mining industry released recommendations on mandatory disclosure of payments from Canadian mining companies to governments.  The recommendations, which are endorsed by the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, the Mining Association of Canada, the Revenue Watch Institute, and Publish What You Pay, urge the...Read More »

The Cost of Ignoring FPIC - Chile and Brazil

In November 2013, two more mining projects were shut down by the courts in South America.  A Chilean court, less than one month after lifting its 18-month suspension of El Morro (owned by Goldcorp [TSE:G] and New Gold [NYSEMKT:NGD]), accepted an...Read More »

Court Requires Transparency from Brazilian Bank

In October 2013, a Brazilian court ordered the Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES) to publicly disclose reports used to appraise and justify loans exceeding US$46 million.  The court ruled that the BNDES’ refusal to disclose such information “reveals a system of planned obscurity”...Read More »

Ecuador Shuts Down Indigenous NGO

In December 2013, the Ecuadorian government shut down Fundación Pachamama, an Indigenous organization opposed to the country’s plans to auction oil concessions on Indigenous territories, for allegedly “deviating from the aims and objectives for which it was created” and “engaging in political activities…that affect the...Read More »

Fracking Licenses Issued in Botswana

In November 2013, the government of Botswana confirmed that hydraulic fracturing is taking place in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).  The concessions were issued to companies, including Tamboran Resources and Debswana (a joint venture between the government and De...Read More »

Wilmar International Adopts FPIC Policy

In December 2013, Wilmar International (SGX:F34), an agribusiness group headquartered in Singapore, announced a new Sustainability Policy that contains a number of laudable

mmitments, including the full and demonstrable application of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.  The company also promised to refrain from...Read More »

A Business Reference Guide to UNDRIP

In December 2013, the UN Global Compact released A Business Reference Guide to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the second annual UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva.  The Guide aims to help companies...Read More »

Country Matters

One of the six risk indicators used in First Peoples Worldwide’s Indigenous Rights Risk Report was Country Risk, which examined the strength of legal protections for Indigenous Peoples and the general state of human rights and civil liberties in the country in which a...Read More »

New Reports Indicate Market Shift in Canada

In December 2013, two reports were released about First Nations and resource extraction in Canada.  The first report predicts that Canada is headed towards a “gridlock in energy development that will rob the country of future wealth unless it can solve vexing environmental...Read More »

Year in Review: First Peoples' Corporate Monitor

At the end of the 2012, First Peoples introduced the Corporate Monitor, a monthly newsletter tracking interactions between corporations and Indigenous communities. Throughout 2013 we’ve reported the good, the bad, and the ugly:

We’ve seen companies building cooperative relationships with local communities,...Read More »

Mexico Introduces Mining Tax

In 2014, the Mexican government will introduce a 7.5 percent mining tax, 50 percent of which will go to communities or states affected by mining.  Some companies claim that the tax will deter investment from Mexico’s booming mining industry, with Goldcorp (TSE:G) and...Read More »

Large Landholders Scrutinized in Tanzania

Tanzania is calling on owners of large swaths of unused lands to disclose their plans for developing them, and those that do not offer adequate explanations risk having their lands repossessed by authorities.  This could be an attempt to curb the large-scale land acquisitions...Read More »

The Cost of Ignoring FPIC in South America

In October 2013, Barrick Gold (TSE:ABX) ceased construction of its Pascua-Lama Project, which straddles the border of Argentina and Chile.  The Chilean side of the project was suspended by the courts in April 2013 due to opposition from Diaguita communities and violations...Read More »

Ecuador Halves Chevron Judgement

In November 2013, an Ecuadorian court upheld its earlier ruling against Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) for environmental devastation in the Ecuadorian Amazon, but eliminated punitive damages that were imposed due to the company’s refusal to apologize, reducing the fine from $19 billion to $9.5...Read More »

Conflicts Could Be Deterring Companies From Peru

In November 2013, the Peruvian government reported that the results of its auctions for nine offshore concessions have been “underwhelming” and that only one company has submitted an official bid.  The auctions began in May 2013, while auctions for an additional seventeen onshore concessions...Read More »

Partnering With the Right NGO

In November 2013, Australian Indigenous groups released a set of principles to guide non-Indigenous NGOs engaged in the delivery of development services to Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.  The principles include protocols for ensuring Indigenous control, not just consultation, over projects, and...Read More »

Coca-Cola Commits to FPIC

In response to a campaign by Oxfam and thousands of petition signatures, Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) has agreed to adhere to the principles of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) across its operations, and to review its supply chain to ensure that it is...Read More »

Injunction Denied to Elsipogtog First Nation

The Elsipogtog First Nation’s application for an injunction to suspend Southwestern Energy’s (NYSE:SWN) exploration activities in New Brunswick has been dismissed by a judge, who found “no evidence of a degree of harm” to the community.  According to Chief Aaron Sock, the community...Read More »

Understanding Unique Systems of Land Use

Development of the Bovanenkovo Gas Field by Gazprom (Public: Russia) is negatively impacting Nenet reindeer herders in Siberia’s Yamal Peninsula.  Although the physical footprint of the field itself is relatively small, it sits on lands that are crucial to two of the herders’...Read More »

New Standards for the Palm Oil Industry

Agropalma (Brazil), Daabon (Colombia), Golden Agri Resources (Indonesia), and New Britain Palm Oil (Papua New Guinea) are among the palm oil companies partnering with NGOs (including Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Forest Peoples Programme) to...Read More »

The Cost of Ignoring FPIC in the Arctic

Native Alaskans are petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to preempt construction of the Pebble Mine by Northern Dynasty Minerals (NYSEMKT:NAK) and Anglo American (LSE:AAL) in the Bristol Bay watershed.  The communities want to invoke Section 404 of the Read More »

The Importance of Inclusive Engagement

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is permitting oil companies to dump fracking wastewaters on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, which is home to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes.  While such dumping is illegal in the rest of the state,...Read More »

Victory for Indigenous Land Rights in Honduras

In August 2013, five Miskito communities along the Honduran coast secured legal title to 1.6 million acres of their traditional territories.  According to a Honduran government spokesman, companies that want to operate in the region will now be required to talk to the communities...Read More »

The Risk of Cumulative Impacts

In July 2013, Ceres (a network of investors and companies seeking to promote sustainable business practices) issued a report claiming that the absolute volume of flared natural gas in the Bakken has doubled over the past two years, creating environmental damages, economic...Read More »

OECD Complaint Filed Against Investors

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organization of 34 developed countries, is processing complaints by NGOs against Dutch and Norwegian government pension funds for their investment in POSCO (KRX:005490), a South Korean steelmaking firm with a record of...Read More »

Operating in Challenging Business Environments

Burmese communities along the route of the Schwe Pipeline, which transports oil and gas through Burma to western China, are having difficulty expressing their concerns about the pipeline’s potential negative impacts.  The pipeline is owned by a joint venture of six companies from four...Read More »

Government Officials Resign over Camisea

At least three government officials from Peru’s Ministry of Culture have resigned over what is speculated to be controversies surrounding Pluspetrol’s (Private: Argentina) Camisea Gas Project.  The project is located in Block 88, a region that is rich in biodiversity and home to...Read More »

World Bank Investigates Impacts on Indigenous Peoples

In July 2013, the World Bank will investigate whether its $1.4 billion investment in Ethiopia’s Promoting Basic Services Project (PBS) is resulting in the “villagization” (forced relocation) of Indigenous Peoples.  According to the Ethiopian government, the project is a voluntary process aiming...Read More »

The Importance of Culture in Australia

In August 2013, an Australian court fined OM Manganese $150,000 for desecrating a site of cultural and spiritual significance to the Kunapa Peoples.  It was the first company to be successfully prosecuted for this reason in Australia.  According to CEO Peter Toth, “OM Manganese...Read More »

Traditional Knowledge in the Beaufort Sea

Traditional knowledge could be the solution to challenges faced by Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) in Canada’s Beaufort Sea.  The company’s oil exploration activities in the remote northern region are encountering difficulties due to the unpredictability of ice and weather patterns.  The company uses weather...Read More »

Heeding Risk in the Supply Chain

In July 2013, a Canadian court ruled that Hudbay Minerals (TSE:HBM) can be tried for overseas human rights violations in Canada.  Security personnel working for the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary in Guatemala allegedly murdered a community leader, raped eleven women, and shot another...Read More »

The Cost of Ignoring FPIC in India

In August 2013, Kutia and Dongria Kongh communities overwhelmingly rejected Vedanta Resource’s (LSE:VED) proposed bauxite mine in the Niyamgiri Hills of Orissa, India.  It is highly possible that this will permanently shelve the $6.5 billion project.  In April 2013, India’s Supreme Court ruled...Read More »

Prioritizing People in the Arctic

In August 2013, the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) convened to discuss the many issues pertaining to the Inuit and other Arctic Indigenous Peoples.  Among the topics of discussion was ICC’s relationship with Greenpeace and other environmental activist campaigners.  Greenpeace recently hosted its...Read More »

Equitable Origin Promotes Best Practices for Oil and Gas

Equitable Origin (EO), a for-profit social enterprise with the objective of promoting and financially incentivizing best practices in the oil and gas industry, is developing a rigorous and comprehensive set of social and environmental standards for exploration and production.  Principle 4 of the...Read More »

FPIC Must Start Early

In the Philippines, Mankayan community members are refusing to participate in FPIC dialogues initiated by Far Southeast Gold Resources (FSGR), a subsidiary of Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company.   FSGR began the dialogues in January 2013, in response to the community’s ongoing resistance to...Read More »

Heeding Risk in the Supply Chain

Equitable Cambodia requested Bonsucro, an industry association dedicated to improving the social and environmental standards for sugarcane production, to suspend Tate & Lyle (LSE:TATE) from its membership due to its sourcing of sugarcane from lands illegally seized from Cambodian villagers.  This...Read More »

The Cost of Ignoring Cleanup

Indigenous communities inhabiting Lot 192 (formerly Lot 1-AB) of the Peruvian Amazon are refusing to participate in the government’s first official consultations regarding oil activities on their lands.  They are instead requesting cleanup of environmental damages from past oil activities in the region, specifically...Read More »

FPIC for Renewable Energy

A Zapotec community in southern Mexico is protesting the construction of a 300-hectare wind farm on their lands.  To obtain “consent” for the wind farm, Desarrollos Eolicos Mexicanos approached community members with rental contracts individually, treating them as independent smallholders and ignoring the...Read More »

The Importance of Culture

In May 2013, a US court ruled that federal permits issued to Apache Corporation (NYSE:APA) for oil and gas exploration in Alaska’s Cook Inlet violated three federal statutes protecting endangered marine species.  The lawsuit was filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council...Read More »

Indonesia Strengthens Indigenous Land Rights

In May 2013, an Indonesian court ruled that a 1999 law designating forests inhabited by Indigenous Peoples as “State Forest Areas” was unconstitutional, and that these forests should be owned and managed by Indigenous Peoples’ themselves.  The National Indigenous Peoples Organization estimates that...Read More »

Brazilian Policies Instigate Conflicts

Conflicts between Indigenous Peoples and the industrial agriculture industry in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul escalated last month, and federal security forces were deployed to defuse the situation.  The conflicts are rooted in the government’s ambiguous approach to Indigenous land rights. ...Read More »

170 Legal Victories Empower First Nations

In his new book Resource Rulers: Fortune and Folly on Canada’s Road to Reserves, Bill Gallagher, a former oil and gas lawyer and federal regulator, describes how 170 court rulings upholding First Nations’ treaty rights are changing the landscape for doing business with...Read More »

Aboriginals Have Much to Gain From Australia's Mining Boom, But Will They Benefit?

A report on the impacts of Australia’s mining boom on Indigenous Peoples was presented to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in May 2013.  The report asserts that Indigenous Peoples in Australia have potential to gain significantly from the equitable distribution...Read More »

ICMM Updates Indigenous Peoples Position Statement For Mining Industry

In June 2013, the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) released its updated position statement on Indigenous Peoples and mining, intended to replace an earlier position statement from 2008.  The 2013 statement recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ right to Free, Prior and...Read More »

Compensation To Indigenous Peoples In Uganda Hurts As Much As It Helps

Compensation given to individuals affected by the oil activities of Tullow (LSE:TLW) is causing issues in rural communities of western Uganda.  Recipients admit that the compensation, intended to reimburse them for crops destroyed by the construction of roads, is more money than they...Read More »

Land Grabs Persist in Africa

In February 2013, Cameroon issued a decree returning a portion of illegally-seized forest to 18 Indigenous communities.  The land was leased by the government to United Forestry Cameroon (Private: Cameroon) in 2008 without FPIC from the communities.  The communities aligned with the Read More »

First Nations Challenge Canada-China FIPA

In June 2013, a federal court heard arguments for the Hupacasath First Nation’s (HFN) constitutional challenge to the Canada-China Foreign Investor Protection Agreement (CCFIPA).  In September 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper signed the agreement without consulting First Nations.  The HFN claims that this...Read More »

Enbridge Bears the Cost of Faulty Consultation

In June 2013, the newly elected British Columbian government stated its opposition to Enbridge’s (TSE:ENB) proposed construction of the Northern Gateway Pipeline from the Albertan oil sands to the British Columbian coast, due to environmental concerns.  The government found Enbridge’s responses to...Read More »

Cumulative Impacts of Coal Terminals

At the annual meeting of Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) shareholders in May 2013, an elected leader of the Lummi Nation made a statement requesting better risk assessments for the company’s financing of coal terminals along the coast of Oregon and Washington.  The statement...Read More »

Cumulative Impacts of Oil Sands

The Beaver Lake Cree First Nation is filing a lawsuit against the Canadian and Albertan governments, seeking compensation for the cumulative negative impacts of oil sands activities.  The community claims that the environmental damages resulting from the governments’ provision of 19,000 permits for...Read More »

UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

From May 20 to May 31, over 2000 Indigenous Peoples from around the world gathered in New York for the twelfth annual session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII).  UNPFII is the UN’s central coordinating body for matters pertaining to...Read More »

EU Seeks to Protect Indigenous Traditional Knowledge

The European Union (EU) is drafting a biopiracy bill that would require pharmaceutical companies to obtain written consent from and compensate Indigenous Peoples before using their traditional knowledge.  The bill is based on the Nagoya Protocol, a supplementary agreement to the Read More »

FPIC Precedent in India

In April 2013, the Supreme Court of India ruled that Vedanta Resource’s (LSE:VED) proposed bauxite mine in the Niyamgiri hills of Orissa cannot move forward without approval from Indigenous Kutia and Dongria Kondh communities.  The ruling upheld an August 2010 decision...Read More »

Rio Tinto Establishes Community Environmental Monitoring Program

To ensure local support for its Eagle Mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Rio Tinto (LSE:RIO) established a Community Environmental Monitoring Program (CEMP) that uses existing community institutions to provide credible, independent, and science-based monitoring of its environmental performance.  The CEMP will operate separately...Read More »

Hudbay Tried in Canada for Overseas Actions

Hudbay Minerals (TSE:HBM) is on trial in Canada for allegations that the company’s security personnel murdered a community leader, raped eleven women, and shot another man in a Mayan village in Guatemala.  It is the first time a Canadian court is hearing a...Read More »

Kiobel vs. Royal Dutch Shell Decision Announced

In April 2013, the US Supreme Court affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of Kiobel vs. Royal Dutch ShellThe case was filed against Shell (LSE: RDSA) under the Alien Tort Statue (ATS), a 1789 law giving US courts jurisdiction to...Read More »

Oxfam Reports on National Human Rights Institutions

Oxfam America’s new report Human Rights and Social Conflict in the Oil, Gas, and Mining Industries analyzes the effectiveness of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in countries with significant human rights abuses associated with oil, gas, and mining projects.  NHRIs are institutions...Read More »

Rising Expectations of “Social License to Operate”

In an assessment of the top ten risks facing mining and metals companies in 2012, Ernst & Young ranked “maintaining a social license to operate” as sixth, higher than both “price and currency volatility” and “capital management and access.”  The importance of...Read More »