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Article

13 Jun 2022

Author:
Stanford Social Innovation Review

Global: Companies should adopt more robust due diligence in accounting for Indigenous and tribal people’s rights

"The Business Case for Indigenous Rights", Summer 2022

...One crucial factor that businesses and investors may overlook in assessing climate risks is Indigenous and tribal peoples’ rights. Studies have proven that biodiversity preservation and climate stability are best ensured when Indigenous and tribal people’s rights—especially land rights—are respected...

However, when Indigenous and tribal peoples attempt to defend their land rights, they are often threatened, attacked, and even killed...

Even within the narrow interpretations of the business mandates to maximize profit and protect investors, the failure to respect Indigenous and tribal peoples’ rights exposes companies and their investors to pervasive legal, political, reputational, and operational risks...

...[C]ompanies should adopt more robust due diligence in accounting for Indigenous and tribal people’s rights...[B]usinesses should adopt corporate policies and their regulators should formulate concrete rules to require companies to disclose their involvement in activities that affect Indigenous and tribal rights....

The transnational nature of these projects demonstrates the need to identify, assess, and mitigate risks at all levels to ensure protections for Indigenous and tribal peoples, as well as to effectively diminish risk for shareholders and investors...

Because companies often cannot rely on the government in the countries where they operate to protect Indigenous rights, their alignment with international standards and norms is necessary. Investors, therefore, should have full knowledge of the risks posed by lack of respect for the rights of Indigenous and tribal peoples...