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Industries Suffer If They Do Not Respect Indigenous Rights, Report Says

Rick Kearns - Indian Country Today
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January 10, 2015
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The disrespect of indigenous rights by companies and governments is both unjust and bad for business according to a special report issued by indigenous scholars at First Peoples Worldwide (FPW).

At an investment conference in Colorado in November, the FPW released “The Indigenous Rights Risk Report: How Violating Indigenous Peoples' Rights Increases Industry Risks,” the result of two years of study and consultations involving Indigenous Peoples, investment analysts and other business professionals.

The report analyzed risks associated with 52 U.S. oil, gas and mining companies that are doing business on or near indigenous territories around the world and affect 150 indigenous communities including several in Latin America and the U.S. The report highlights how many indigenous territories contain high amounts of different resources but are still impoverished and contaminated by pollution.

“These projects were assessed against five indicators (Country Risk, Reputation Risk, Community Risk, Legal Risk, and Risk Management) to determine their risk of indigenous community opposition or violations of Indigenous Peoples’ rights. The report found that most of the U.S. extractive companies analyzed are poorly positioned to manage the risks they face when working on Indigenous lands. Furthermore, the Report shows that poor governance and negligible policies for Indigenous Peoples in host countries is bad for business. Nearly 60 percent of all projects operating in high-risk countries were rated as high risks themselves,” according to an FPW press statement.

Investor and businessman Seth Goldman, who wrote the Forward for the report, noted that it is “…one of the first tools to comprehensively rate the social risks a company faces when it is operating on Indigenous lands without the community's consent. This report not only begins the process of quantifying social costs, it reminds us that whole communities and their ways of life are at risk.”

Business watchers have started to pay attention to these risks.

Read the rest at Indian Country Today

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