Indigenous Peoples and Engagement Timeline for Sustainable and Responsible Investing (1971 – 2005 )
[Additional information dated from 2006-2015 is in Part 2 of this compilation]
The list is based on an earlier timeline created by First Peoples Worldwide (www.firstpeoples.org )
1971 – The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) supports the Crow Tribe’s challenge to Westmoreland Coal’s strip mining plans on its reservation.
1977 – Indigenous Peoples first take their concerns to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Commission. The UN adopts the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples some 30 years later.
Early 1980s – ICCR holds several symposia with Native speakers on the issue of insulting caricatures and images. ICCR members, led by Gary Brouse, later campaign against the Chief Wahoo mascot used by the Cleveland Indians Major League Baseball franchise via advocacy with its corporate sponsors. After several years, they were successful in getting Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, and Miller Brewing to drop their use of the mascot in advertising.
1982 – The World Bank issues its first policy concerning Indigenous Peoples (Operational Manual Statement, OMS 2.34) “Tribal People in Bank-financed Projects.” It states: “…whenever tribal peoples may be affected, the design of projects should include measures or components necessary to safeguard their interests, and, whenever feasible, to enhance their well-being.”
1986 – The Lakota Funds are established at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation as the first Native American Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), with assistance by the Oglala Lakota College and First Nations Development Institute. Other Native American loan funds at credit union or banks emerge. Many ICCR members participate.
1989 – The International Labour Organization (ILO) adopts the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention 169, a legally binding international instrument on Indigenous Peoples’ rights, ratified by 20 countries.
1990 – The Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin adopts the first tribal socially responsible investment (SRI) policy for its trust funds.
1990 – Rebecca Adamson joins the Board of Trustees of the Calvert Social Investment Fund, becoming the first Indigenous person on the board of a mutual fund.
1993 – 1995 – The Campaign by the James Bay Cree prompts Tufts University in 1995 to become first major institutional investor to divest from Hydro-Quebec bonds. ICCR, with leadership by Gary Brouse, also encourages investors to not buy Hydro-Quebec bonds. ICCR members file shareholder proposals on Hydro-Quebec financing with American Express and Merrill Lynch. Adrian Dominican Sisters files a shareholder proposal with Consolidated Edison to not buy power supplied by Hydro-Quebec if a proposed dam is built, which is later withdrawn with some success. The Quebec government puts the project on hold.
1995 – The Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin updates its SRI policy to invest in a manner that does not enable harm to the environment or the spiritual and cultural values of American Indians.
1998 – Applebee’s International removes the wooden “cigar store Indian” statues from its own restaurants and franchise décor packages following engagement by American Indian groups and Walden Capital Management (a predecessor firm for Boston Common Asset Management).
1999 – Calvert creates the first investment policy on Indigenous Peoples’ rights in the U.S. First Peoples Worldwide (FPW) and Calvert conduct certified financial training on the criteria for more than 600 brokers.
1999 – Kinder, Lydenberg, Domini & Co. add corporate engagement on Indigenous Peoples to its ESG research database.
1999 – The Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin begins to engage with Walmart Stores Inc. over American Indian burial ground site issues.
2001 – The United Nations Commission on Human Rights appoints a Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples as part of the system of thematic Special Procedures. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples UNSR promotes best practices and investigates allegations of violations of Indigenous Peoples’ rights.
2001 – Trillium Asset Management files a shareholder proposal to Enron. “The shareholders request that the Board of Directors prepare a report, at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, analyzing the biodiversity and indigenous peoples impacts of Enron’s operations worldwide, with an eye towards developing or refining policies addressing these issues.”
2001 – In an engagement involving both ICCR and the estate of Crazy Horse, SBC Holdings agrees to stop selling Crazy Horse malt liquor. Ultimately, in a special ceremony the company delivered culturally appropriate damages, including seven race horses, 32 blankets and sweet grass.
2002 – The UN establishes the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) as an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), with a mandate to discuss Indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights that was created in response to demands from Indigenous Peoples for a high level permanent body at the UN.
2002 – ICCR members involved in its Equality Working Group file shareholder proposals or otherwise engage the following 14 companies on the topic of American Indians and sacred names/images: America Online, BP, Disney/ABC, General Electric, Goodyear, Liz Claiborne, J.C. Penney, Federated Department Stores, Sears, Target, Time Warner, Tootsie Roll Industries, Viacom, and Walmart.
2002 – BP drops its plans to name a major Gulf of Mexico oil field Crazy Horse, following dialogue with the estate of Crazy Horse and other Native Americans, ICCR and Walden Asset Management. The Lakota believes it is sacrilegious to say the name out loud of someone who has passed. The company agreed quickly to change the name.
2002 – Calvert Investments files a shareholder resolution at apparel designer Liz Claiborne over the company’s use of the Crazy Horse name, which was offensive to the Lakota Tribe, to market a line of clothing. This followed engagement from a coalition of shareholders from ICCR that sent a letter signed by over 800 institutional investors. After being unable to reach an agreement with the company, Calvert eventually sold its shares in the company.
2002 – Trillium Asset Management files a shareholder proposal asking IDACORP to report impacts of Hells Canyon on Native Americans, garnering 35% support.
2002 – Calvert Investments calls on IDACORP to adopt a formal policy on the rights of Indigenous Peoples in a shareholder resolution. The vote drew 12.8% of votes cast.
2002 – Trillium Asset Management files a shareholder proposal to ChevronTexaco. “THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the shareholders request the Board of Directors of ChevronTexaco Corporation develop and adopt a comprehensive and verifiable human rights policy which shall include an explicit commitment to support and uphold the principles and values contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
2003 – Boston Common Asset Management on behalf of the Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust files a shareholder proposal with Newmont Mining, asking the company to prepare a report on the risk to the company’s operations, profitability and reputation from its social and environmental liabilities. The proposal notes community protests against current or proposed Newmont projects in Peru, Indonesia, Ghana and the U.S. It was withdrawn after Newmont agreed to dialogue on their approach to community consultation and Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) globally.
2003 – Boston Common Asset Management on behalf of Church of the Brethren
Benefit Trust files a shareholder proposal with Burlington Resources asking the company to adopt an Indigenous Peoples policy due to concerns about its operations in the southern Amazon region of Ecuador. In 2004, the proposal is withdrawn after the company publishes a policy. In 2004, the company also commits not to use force to enter territories of Indigenous Peoples and to get their approval. Later, other investors join them in co-filing proposals in 2004 and 2005 until ConocoPhillips acquires the company in 2006.
2003 – US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investing establishes the Indigenous Peoples Task Force, later to become the Indigenous Peoples Working Group (IPWG) in 2008.
2003 – Calvert Investments files a shareholder resolution asking Calpine to develop, implement and publish a formal written policy on Indigenous Peoples’ rights and to cease geothermal development in the Medicine Lake Highlands of California, which local Indian tribes consider sacred land. The proposal wins 4.3 percent of the votes cast. Calvert later divested its shares over concern about the violation of a sacred site and because Calpine no longer met the applicable investment criteria. In 2006, an appellate U.S. court overturns a lower court decision on Calpine, finding the government agencies violated their regulatory duties by failing to complete an environmental impact statement before extending Calpine’s leases in 1998, and that the agencies never took a “hard look” at whether the Medicine Lake Highlands should have been developed for energy in the first place.
2003 – Trillium Asset Management files a shareholder proposal with ChevronTexaco. Through its “TexPet” subsidiary, Texaco extracted over 1.5 billion barrels of oil from the Ecuadorian Amazon between 1971 and 1992. (Texaco was acquired by ChevronTexaco in 2001.) An estimated 16.8 million barrels of oil were spilled from the pipeline during this time, contaminating land and water. None of the hundreds of oil spills from Texaco operations were adequately remediated. It is estimated that in over 20 years of operations in Ecuador, Texaco systematically dumped 18.5 billion gallons of toxic waste waters into open unlined pits (New York Times, 10/24/03), or directly into streams, rivers, or swamps although it was standard practice at the time in the U.S. to re-inject formation waters into the ground in the oil production process.”
2004 – 2006 – Boston Common Asset Management leads investor coalition that asks Newmont Mining to explore adopting FPIC policy for its global mining operations. In depth dialogue covers Newmont’s operations and specific projects in Nevada, Australia, Peru, and Ghana. As a result, Newmont improved its policies on Indigenous Peoples and community consultation by bringing lessons learned from Peru to pre-site development in Ghana and with the Western Shoshone in Nevada. Engagement includes an investor visit to a Newmont mine in Nevada and meetings with the Western Shoshone.
2004 – Boston Common Asset Management initiates direct investor dialogue with Indigenous federations in the southern Amazon region of Ecuador regarding their positions on oil development sought by Burlington Resources. The Comite Inerfederacional FINAE, FPSE, FISH, an interfederational committee of Achuar and Shuar Indigenous federations in Ecuador writes report for shareholders showing 80% opposition to oil development in the company’s Block 23 and 24 in Ecuador. The company claims 95% of the Indigenous Peoples in those oil blocks are supportive.This leads to a multi-year dialogue led by Boston Common and the Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust whose success was featured in the 2009 academic journal Global Environmental Politics article “Corporate Boomerang: The Role of Shareholders in Ecuador’s Transnational Advocacy Networks”. Leaders of the FINAE, FPSE and FISH Indigenous federations plus the Sarayaku Community meet in 2005 with representatives of Boston Common Asset Management, the Office of the State Controller for the State of California and ICCR in Puyo, Ecuador to share directly with investors in Burlington Resources their views on oil development. The Ecuadorian Army provided security for the meeting due to death threats against the Sarayaku leadership
2004 – Occidental Petroleum includes Indigenous Peoples in its new human rights policy at the urging of Boston Common Asset Management, in a human rights dialogue led by Christian Brothers Investment Service.
2004 – Representatives of the Klamath Tribes speak at the Scottish Power annual general (AGM) about negative impacts of Pacifcorp’s dams on their salmon fisheries, with assistance by Boston Common Asset Management. Later dialogue led to company resolving the situation.
2005 – Trillium Asset Management files a shareholder proposal with Costco on a land procurement policy. In 2001, Costco and a Mexican partner, Comercial Mexicana, purchased public land in Cuernavaca, Mexico and plan to build two megastores, provoking strong community opposition because the site contains an architecturally significant hotel, the Casino de la Selva, a long-time an artistic center and with renowned murals. Residents were also concerned about the loss of the hotel’s wooded grounds, the presence of pre-Columbian artifacts at the site, and the project’s impact on traffic.”
2005 – The World Bank updates its 1983 Indigenous Peoples safeguard policy to include Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC). The World Bank’s new policy (OP 4.10 – Indigenous Peoples) states: “The Bank provides project financing only where free, prior, and informed consultation results in broad community support to the project by the affected Indigenous Peoples.”
2005 – NCAA excludes from championship play 18 teams with mascots named after Indigenous tribes or leaders without their permission.
2005 – 2007 – Boston Common Asset Management leads U.S. shareholder dialogue with BP on its community consultation process with Indigenous Peoples and local communities regarding BP’s Tangguh LNG pipeline project in Indonesia. As a result, BP includes a formal grievance process in its policy.
2005 – Investors conduct a fact finding trip to Ecuador and meet with five Indigenous communities, Indigenous leaders, government officials, NGOs, and others regarding proposed oil development in southern Amazon and oil pollution in northern Amazon. The trip organized by Amazon Watch includes representatives of the Office of the Controller for the State of California, ICCR and Boston Common Asset Management. Boston Common meets with CEO of Repsol Ecuador and other staff in Quito regarding the company’s operations in the Amazon and relations with the Waorani People.
2005 – Walden Asset Management writes FedEx Corp. questioning FedEx on its corporate sponsorship of the Washington DC football franchise via naming rights to the team’s FedExField stadium.
[Additional information dated from 2006-2015 in Part 2 of this compilation.]
(This list was completed in July 2015)
Footnote: The information in this article should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. All investments involve risk, including the risk of losing principal. Best efforts have been made to include accurate information, please contact US SIF Foundation’s IPWG for any corrections or comments at- www.ussif.org/ipwg
Reed Montague is a Sustainability Analyst at Calvert Investments, Inc. (www.calvert.com) where she specializes in Indigenous Peoples’ rights, particularly around offensive images, and product marketing issues. She also specializes in the healthcare and media industries and her advocacy activities have focused on increasing sustainability disclosure and Indigenous Peoples’ rights. In addition, she works on a variety of projects that further the company’s sustainability. She is also a long-time serving member of US SIF’s Indigenous Peoples’ Working Group Steering Committee. Previously, she managed the company’s relationship with the Calvert Social Investment Fund Advisory Council for many years, handled strategic partnerships and helped launch the Calvert Foundation. Prior to joining Calvert, she worked in the fields of business ethics and international trade. She earned a BA in Psychology and Yugoslav Studies from Connecticut College and is FINRA Series 7 licensed.
Steven Heim is a Managing Director of Boston Common Asset Management (www.bostoncommonasset.com), a globally recognized sustainable investment firm. Steven has over 24 years of experience in the responsible investment field. Steven has worked to promote corporate transparency, accountability, and attention to sustainability issues. His efforts to protect the human rights of Indigenous Peoples have helped catalyze positive policy changes at U.S. and international companies including ConocoPhillips and Repsol that included direct engagement with Indigenous Peoples in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Since 2007, Steven has chaired the advocacy subcommittee of US SIF Foundation’s Indigenous Peoples Working Group and he serves on the Board of Directors of Cultural Survival.