Indigenous Peoples and Engagement Timeline for Sustainable and Responsible Investing (2006 – 2015)
[Additional information dated from 1971-2005 is in Part 1 of this compilation]
The list is based on an earlier timeline created by First Peoples Worldwide (www.firstpeoples.org )
2006 – 2009 – Joined by over a dozen investors, Boston Common Asset Management on behalf of Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust files shareholder proposals with ConocoPhillips. Representatives from Boston Common and/or BBT speak at the ConocoPhillips annual meeting for 10 consecutive years. They, along with Amazon Watch, facilitate participation by Indigenous representatives for the 2006, 2007 and 2008 ConocoPhillips annual meetings. The Resolved clause for the 2007 Proxy states: Shareholders request that the Board prepare a report at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, on ConocoPhillips’ policies and procedures regarding: 1. Host country laws and regulations with respect to their adequacy to protect indigenous rights. 2. Process and practice for obtaining consent of Indigenous Peoples affected by our operations, through their recognized and official governance structures. Resolved clause for 2007 and 2008 Proxy Statement also references Indigenous Peoples Living in Voluntary Isolation who face extinction from diseases, and shareholders request that the Board prepare a report by November 1, 2009, at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, on ConocoPhillips’s policies, procedures, and practices for obtaining consent of Indigenous Peoples affected by our activities – whether as operator or minority partner – through their recognized and official governance structures; and its policies to avoid contact with Indigenous Peoples living in voluntary isolation. In 2009, shareholders withdrew the proposal after the company committed to expand its reporting per the proposal and meet in New York, which leads to twice yearly dialogue meetings from 2010 to 2014 with ICCR members and other investors.
2006 – Representatives from the Western Shoshone in Nevada and the Colville Tribe attend the AGM of Newmont Mining, along with Indigenous representatives from Australia, Ghana, and Peru. Investors, led by Boston Common Asset Management, urge Newmont to respect the rights of the Western Shoshone.
2006 – Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS) picks up the lead from Boston Common Asset Common on Newmont Mining after shares sold. CBIS files shareholder proposal asking Newmont to prepare a report on its community consultation practices that its board supports. At Newmont’s 2007 AGM, over 95% of votes are in favor of the proposal.
2007 – The UN establishes The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) as a subsidiary body of the Human Rights Council, the UN’s main human rights body. EMRIP provides the Human Rights Council with thematic advice, in the form of studies and research, on the rights of Indigenous peoples. In 2012, EMPIP submits a report on Indigenous Peoples and the right to participate in decision making with a focus on extractive industries.
2007 – The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration) is adopted with widespread support from UN General Assembly following a 30-year struggle by Indigenous Peoples from around the world.
2007 – The Ethical Investment Research Information Services (EIRIS) and the Center for Australian Ethical Research (CAER) rate 250 companies’ risk exposure to Indigenous Peoples’ rights in their October 2007 report “Indigenous rights, indigenous wrongs: risks for the resource sectors”.
2008 – First Peoples Worldwide publishes “The Histories of Social Investing & Indigenous Peoples: Using the Tools of Diverse Cultures to Restore Balance to a Fractured World”, noting that Indigenous Peoples have practiced social investing for eons.
2008 – Boston Common Asset Management and other investors urge Repsol YPF a major Spanish oil & gas company to adopt an Indigenous Peoples policy that include FPIC. They also ask Repsol to withdraw from Block 39 in Peru, an area with reports of the presence of Indigenous Peoples Living in Voluntary Isolation. Intermon Oxfam (Oxfam of Spain) represents Boston Common at Repsol’s 2008 AGM in Madrid. Their intervention leads to front page press coverage in Spain. Intermon Oxfam prepared a critical report the previous year and submitted a petition with 10,000 signatures to Repsol. The company then consults with 24 national and international groups including Intermon Oxfam to develop its Indigenous Communities policy, adopted in 2008. The policy includes reference to FPIC, ILO 169 and the UN Declaration.
2008 – U.S. investors organized by Boston Common Asset Management send a letter to Barrick Gold that supports the Western Shoshone in Nevada. Boston Common helped arrange for representative of the Western Shoshone to participate in the 2008 AGM. Boston Common co-filed a shareholder proposal by NEI Investments that received over 16% vote in favor at Barrick’s 2009 AGM
2009 – 2011 – ConocoPhillips makes initial commitment for its Peru operations: “For our exploration and production projects, we have publicly pledged to indigenous inhabitants in our areas of operations in Peru to obtain complete understanding and agreement of our activities with all communities prior to conducting operations.” The company later in 2011 amends its corporate human rights position to include Indigenous Peoples: “The Company’s approach to engagement with indigenous communities, in locations where they are an important stakeholder group for our operations, is consistent with the principles of the International Labour Organization Convention 169, concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” These actions followed five years of investor engagement led by Boston Common Asset Management and Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust.
2009 – The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) adopts its first position statement on Indigenous Peoples and mining.
2009 – First Peoples Worldwide becomes the first Indigenous representative on the Global Reporting Initiative’s technical committee.
2009 – Wilmar International, a major palm oil company, returns disputed land and pays compensation to Indigenous Peoples.
2009 – Batirente and Ethical Funds launch a three year investor collaborative engagement on Indigenous Peoples’ rights with investor signatories to the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and engages over 10 oil & gas, mining and timber companies worldwide. Since 2012, a group of international investors continue quarterly conference calls to coordinate engagements and hear from experts and indigenous leaders.
2009 – Investors affiliated with US SIF Foundation’s IPWG and led by First Peoples Worldwide submit joint comments to Global Reporting Initiative advocating for FPIC and Community Well-Being Indicators in the GRI’s reporting standards for mining companies for the GRI G3 Metals & Mining Sector Supplement (MMSS).
2009 – Twenty-six investors sign a letter from ICCR to FedEx questioning FedEx’s corporate support of the Washington, D.C.’s NFL football team as it owns the stadium’s naming rights. Due to the company’s disappointing response, some investors file a shareholder resolution with FedEx. The resolution was ultimately disallowed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2009 as “ordinary business” for marketing practices. FedEx executives meet in person and via telephone with a large group of investors and others: Oneida Trust of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin (Oneida Trust), Mercy Investment, Boston Common Asset Management, a commissioner of Tennessee Commission of Indian Affairs, Calvert, ICCR, US SIF, Trillium, Catholic Healthcare West (Dignity Health), First Affirmative Financial Network, First Peoples Worldwide, and United Methodist Church General Commission on Religion and Race.
2009 – A Western Shoshone representative speaks at Barrick Gold’s AGM with help from Boston Common Asset Management.
2009 – The Calvert Social Investment Fund announces it will sell its shares in Weyerhaueser after engaging the company since 2003 as it has strong concerns over the company’s influence on treaty implementation negotiations between Grassy Narrows First Nation and the Province of Ontario.
2009 – Trillium Asset Management files a shareholder proposal with Chevron – Global Environmental Standards Report. The Chevron Business and Ethics Code places the highest priority on the safety of its staff, community members and the environment where it operates. Corporate Policy 530 “commits Chevron to comply with the spirit and letter of all environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, regardless of the degree of enforcement.” Our company operates in 180 countries, including African, Asian and Latin American nations where environmental regimes may be less protective of human health and the environment than in other countries where Chevron operates.”
2009 – Investors coordinated by Boston Common Asset Management sign an Amici Curiae brief of the Social Justice Advocacy Group for the 2009 appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court for Harjo et al. v. Pro-Football Inc. The case sought cancellation of the Washington NFL Team’s trademark on disparagement grounds. The case was not heard and due to the issue of “laches” ended. A second suit with different plaintiffs led by Amanda Blackhorse, which had been on hold until the first case was resolved, then continues to proceed through the courts.
2009 – Talisman Energy commissions a report by Foley Hoag, “Implementing a Corporate Free, Prior, and Informed Consent Policy: Benefits and Challenges”, published in July 2010 at the request of shareholders Batirente and RRSE (Regroupement pour la responsabilite sociale des entreprises), who continue to raise concerns over the Achuar’s opposition to Talisman’s operations in Peru. Batirente staff conducts a fact finding trip in Peru. Talisman leaves the country in 2012.
2010 – In December, President Obama announces support by the U.S. Government for the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration). Earlier in 2010, 20 institutional investors led by Boston Common Asset Management sign a letter to the U.S. State Department encouraging unqualified endorsement by the U.S. for the UN Declaration. Calvert Investments speaks at a U.S. State Department hearing on the UN Declaration. ICCR and the Indian Law Resource Center brief investors on the status of the U.S. Government support for the UN Declaration.
2010 – US SIF Foundation publishes a guidebook, “Creating a Sustainable World: A Guide to Responsible Stewardship of American Indian Assets”. Download link: www.ussif.org/files/Publications/TribalAssets.pdf
2010 – Native American Finance Officers Association conference holds its first panel on SRI, titled “Shareholder Advocacy and Due Diligence When Choosing Your Investments”. The panel description states: “Money Talks!” A Tribe’s fiduciary duty extends to making responsible and informed investments in companies that help — and not harm — Indian Country and Native peoples.” Speakers are from Pueblo of Laguna, Milberg LLP, Trillium Asset Management and Boston Common Asset Management.
2010 – The Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin hosts the SRI in Oneida Conference, called “Engaging in Socially Responsible Investing (SRI): Building Collaboration Among our Nations”. US SIF Foundation’s IPWG members present on the power of shareholder advocacy to representatives of several tribes.
2010 – The Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin wins an Honoring Nations award from the Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government for its management of tribal assets using a socially responsible investment (SRI) strategy.
2011 – Devon Energy adds an aboriginal relations policy to its Canadian Code of Conduct following engagement by Calvert Investments.
2011– IPIECA, the global oil & gas association for environmental and social issues, publishes the report, “Indigenous Peoples and the oil and gas industry: Context, issues and emerging good practice”.
2011 – ConocoPhillips adds Indigenous Peoples rights to its corporate human rights position statement with references to ILO 169 and the UN Declaration. This follows five years of engagement by investors led by Boston Common Asset Management and the Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust.
2011 – Over 40 institutional investors and Native American organizations (including the National Congress of American Indians) petition the FedEx Board of Directors regarding the company’s corporate sponsorship of the Washington, D.C. NFL football franchise and its disparaging name. The Oneida Nation and other investors present a floor motion based on the petition’s text at the annual meeting. By the 2014 FedEx AGM, support grows to over 100 organizations for the petition, including tribes in the Pacific Northwest.
2011 – The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) passes a resolution following encouragement from the U.S. SIF Foundation’s IPWG encouraging tribal governments to adopt an SRI policy regarding their investable assets. NCAI also adopts SRI as its own standard practice.
2012 – The International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank updates its social and environmental performance standards relative to Indigenous Peoples, Performance Standard 7. It explicitly requires that “the client will obtain the FPIC of the Affected Communities of Indigenous Peoples in the circumstances described in paragraphs 13–17 of this Performance Standard.” Investors including NEI Investments provide comments and recommendations to the IFC.
2012 – First Peoples Worldwide publishes “Investors and Indigenous Peoples: Trends in Sustainable and Responsible Investment and Free, Prior, and Informed Consent” identifying environment and Indigenous sacred places as two top investment issues.
2012 – ConocoPhillips announces suspension of its operations in the Peruvian Amazon as part of its global asset realignment. ICCR members led by Boston Common Asset Management and Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust continue to engage with the company on its corporate wide implementation of its Indigenous Peoples policies, including in consultation with ConocoPhillips on its development of social indicators for internal and external reporting.
2013 – Spectra Energy publishes an Aboriginal Relations statement following engagement by Boston Common Asset Management.
2013 – Twenty-one investors led by Oneida Trust and Boston Common Asset Management send a letter of support to the original Congressional sponsors of H.R. 1278, the Non-Disparagement of Native American Persons and Peoples in Trademark Registration Act of 2013. The Bill would remove federal trademark protection for the “R word” in reference to Native Americans, as it is a disparaging term and cannot be trademarked. Rep. Mike Honda reintroduces the bill in 2015 with 26 co-sponsors.
2013 – Batirente, Boston Common Asset Management, and Storebrand Investments staff serve as Expert Advisers for the UN Global Compact for its report “United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: A Business Reference Guide”, designed to help businesses respect and support the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Other investors also provide comments.
2014 – Apache Corp. adopts an Indigenous Peoples statement following engagement by Boston Common Asset Management. The statement includes references to the UN Declaration, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability, the ILO Convention 169, and the World Bank’s Operational Policy and Bank Procedure on Indigenous Peoples.
2014 – First Peoples Worldwide publishes “The Indigenous Peoples Guidebook to FPIC and Corporation Standards” and coordinates with the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to offer training in corporate engagement and responsible investment.
2014 – Repsol announces its withdrawal from Block 39 in Peru in the Amazon following years of questioning by NGOs and investors, including Storebrand Investments and Boston Common Asset Management, regarding potential harm to Indigenous Peoples Living in Voluntary Isolation that may live in the territory.
2014 – The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office cancels trademarks for the Washington, D.C. NFL team name, as its name and logo are disparaging.
2014 – The Oneida Trust and other investors for the second year in a row present a floor resolution at FedEx’s annual meeting on the company’s corporate sponsorship of the Washington, D.C. NFL football franchise’s 2014 annual meeting. They file a floor motion after the SEC allows FedEx to omit a shareholder proposal on the topic from the 2014 proxy statement. Oneida Trust and other investors file a new floor proposal in 2015 in case the SEC also disallows the new shareholder proposal to FedEx.
2014 – First Peoples Worldwide publishes its “Indigenous Rights Risk Report” that analyzes 370 oil, gas and mining sites on or near Indigenous land operated by 52 U.S.-based companies, finding that “92% of these sites pose a medium to high risk to shareholders and investors. Yet only 5 companies have Indigenous Peoples policies to guide the company for how to positively engage and work with Indigenous Peoples.”
2015 – Investors led by Boston Common Asset Management, Calvert Investments and NEI Investments send a letter to the World Bank urging it to refrain from weakening its Indigenous Peoples safeguard policies in its draft environmental and social safeguards framework for new lending. As of April, investors with over $900 billion in assets under management support the request.
2015 – Investors affiliated with ICCR and led by Christian Brothers Investment Service submit joint comments to the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) for its updated Indigenous Peoples and Mining Good Practice Guide.
2015 – After nearly a dozen American Indians walk off the movie set of Adam Sandler’s latest movie due to the offensiveness of the script, Calvert Investments and other investors send a letter to Netflix over the issue.
2015 – The Federal District Court issues summary judgement in favor of Amanda Blackhorse et al. to overturn six trademarks held by Pro-Football, Inc. owners of Washington, D.C. football franchise. While the owners may appeal, it is a major victory in the long-running legal battle that started in 1992 in the Harjo, et. al v Pro-Football case.
[Additional information dated from 1971-2005 is in Part 1 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.