Indigenous peoples - an introduction

Below are select introductory materials on business and indigenous peoples.  Further reports from a wide range of sources are in the "Indigenous peoples" section of our site.

Key reports & guidance

Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, Extractive Industries and Transnational and Other Business Enterprises: A Submission to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, Forest Peoples Programme & Tebtebba Foundation, 29 Dec 2006

Mining and Indigenous Peoples Issues Roundtable: Continuing a Dialogue between Indigenous Peoples and Mining Companies, World Conservation Union (IUCN) & International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), 30-31 Jan 2008

Earth Matters: Indigenous Peoples, the Extractive Industries and Corporate Social Responsibility, Edited by Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh and Saleem Ali, 5 Dec 2008

Transnational governmentality as resource extraction: indigenous peoples, mutlinational corporations, multinational institutions and the state, Suzana Sawyer & Terence Gomez, UNRISD, 1 Sep 2008

Company-Led Approaches to Conflict Resolution in the Forest Sector [PDF], International Institute for Environment & Development, for The Forests Dialogue, Apr 2009

Concerns, company responses & non-responses

The Resource Centre invites companies to respond to allegations of misconduct.  Below are examples of allegations and company responses regarding indigenous peoples.  We also indicate when a company has not responded.

Global: London Mining Network says BHP Billiton failed to respond to social & environmental concerns at annual meeting - cases from Philippines, Indonesia, Guatemala, Colombia, Nov 2008. Response from BHP Billiton.

Global: London Mining Network publishes "alternative report" to BHP Billiton's annual report - concerns over impacts on environment, indigenous peoples, human rights in Asia-Pacific, Americas, So. Africa, Nov 2009. Response from BHP Billiton.

Global: Joint NGO report “True Cost of Chevron” raises concerns about its social & environmental impacts worldwide Jun 2009. Response from Chevron.

Global: Calvert removes Weyerhaeuser from social index for failing to meet standards on indigenous peoples' rights, Jul 2009. Response from Weyerhaeuser.

Global: Report raises concerns about projects by Canadian-owned companies in Asia & Africa, including endangering the rights of indigenous residents, May 2007.  Responses from TVI Pacific, Nortel.  Previous Doe Run statement provided.

Botswana: Survival Intl. says De Beers returns to mine Central Kalahari Game Reserve while Bushmen are still displaced – also refers to Gem Diamonds, Oct 2008. Response from De Beers. No response received from Gem Diamonds.

Botswana: BHP Billiton exploring for diamonds in Kalahari reserve without Bushmen’s consent, according to Survival International, Mar 2005. Response from BHP Billiton.

Colombia: Colombia Solidarity Campaign submission to UK Parliament Joint Committee on Human Rights alleges negative impacts on the Mandé Norte/Murindó mining project on indigenous people, Jul 2009. Response from Muriel Mining.

Ecuador: 40 indigenous communities call on Petroecuador to make certain social & environmental measures in “Bloque 15“ (formerly operated by Occidental), June 2006. Response from Petroecuador. [in Spanish]

Guatemala: Indigenous farmers protest against displacement, environmental damage by sugar ethanol companies - Alleged violent repression of protestors by security agents working for Ingenio Guadalupe, Aug 2008.  Response from Ingenio Guadalupe.

India: ActionAid raises concerns about impact of Vedanta Resources alumina project on indigenous groups & environment, Sep 2007. Response from Vedanta Resources.

India: Residents oppose proposed Utkal bauxite mining & alumina refinery project over environmental, displacement concerns, Apr 2005.  Response from Alcan.

India: Indian People’s Tribunal report on alleged human rights and environment violations involved in Utkal aluminium project, Oct 2006.  Response from Alcan.

Panama: Changuinola dam project - Cultural Survival says AES "using unscrupulous methods" to take indigenous people's land, "breaking up communities", Apr 2009. Response from AES.

Peru: 8 NGOs write to Peruvian Govt. expressing their concerns about the potential impacts of Repsol's "Lote 39" project over indigenous populations & biodiversity, May 2007. Response from Repsol. [in Spanish]

Peru: Survival Intl. names "unholy trinity - the three worst companies abusing tribal peoples' rights", Aug 2008. Response from Perenco, Vedanta Resources. No response received from Samling.

Peru: NGO report alleges Occidental's former operations caused serious harm to environment & health, May 2007. Response from Occidental.

Philippines: Report by coalition of indigenous, environmental, human rights & religious groups finds mining in Philippines is “destructive” of environment & livelihoods, Feb 2007. Responses from TVI Pacific, Crew Gold.

Philippines: Govt. approves Intex Resources' nickel project in Mindoro despite strong opposition of NGOs, local authorities & communities over food security & environmental concerns, Nov 2009.  Response by Intex Resources.

Suriname: Indigenous peoples NGOs’ submission to UN Special Representative raises social & environmental concerns about Bakhuys project, Dec 2006.  Responses from BHP Billiton, Alcoa.

Positive steps by companies

Global: China National Petroleum Corp. subsidiary SAPET pledges not to drill on lands belonging to isolated indigenous people.

Global: Google partners with Amazon tribe to highlight impacts of mining, logging on indigenous peoples.

Global: Intermón Oxfam says Repsol’s indigenous people’s policy is “positive”, although “there are still some elements to improve”. [Spanish only]

Global: Report urges forestry industry to address conflicts with local people - provides examples of steps taken by companies including APRIL, Aracruz, Congolaise Industrielle des Bois/DLH, Mondi,  Sappi, Stora Enso, Weyerhaeuser.

Global: Stratos analyses 7 leading sustainability reports by Canadian companies:  Telus, BC Hydro, Enbridge, Syncrude, Suncor, Transalta, Vancity. [French only]

Global: World Resources Institute & NewPage Corp. join to preserve forests, reducing greenhouse gas emissions & protecting traditional livelihoods.

Bolivia: Transierra commits $4 million to education & health projects along its pipeline, including 30 indigenous communities. [Spanish only]

Brazil: JBS commits to stop sourcing cattle from farms linked to illegal Amazon deforestation & occupation of indigenous land.

Chile: Codelco supports an initiative for higher education for young indigenous people. [Spanish only]

Peru: Converse forms partnership with indigenous embroiderers to create jobs & combat poverty.

Philippines: Companies & govt. to hold meeting on responsible mining - Natl. Commission on Indigenous People will present "how Berong Nickel Co. partnered with indigenous communities in pursuing responsible mining".

UK/ Indonesia: Lush Cosmetics launches protest against palm oil company Sinar Mas over alleged impacts on indigenous peoples in Indonesia.

Venezuela: Edelca exhibits environmental management & social development achievements in indigenous communities. [Spanish only]

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Related stories and components

4 November 2009

Furious about Environmental Authorisation on Mindoro [Philippines]

Author: Pia A. Gaarder, Norwatch [Norway]

Intex Resources has received environmental authorisation for its nickel project on Mindoro. The central authorities on the Philippines have thereby run over the local authorities, which are strongly opposed to the mining project …There are strong...

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18 October 2009

Tribe teams with Google to make stand in Amazon

Author: James Temple, San Francisco Chronicle

The chief of an endangered Amazon tribe will unveil today the product of an unusual partnership with Google Inc... Almir Surui…plans to showcase Google Earth images...that throw into sharp relief the rapid encroachment of illegal mining and logging...

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1 October 2009

[PDF] BHP Billiton: Undermining the future - Alternative Annual Report 2009

Author: London Mining Network

This report examines a number of BHP Billiton’s operations around the world. The collection of case studies highlights the disparity between BHP Billiton’s ‘Sustainable Development Policy’ and the reality of its operations. A number of recurring...

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29 September 2009

JBS commits to Amazon deforestation moratorium [Brazil]

Author: Meatinfo UK, Online Meat Trades Journal

Brazilian beef giant JBS has agreed to stop sourcing cattle from farms responsible for deforestation of the Amazon rainforest…JBS has finally followed rivals Bertin and Marfrig in adopting moratorium …A spokesperson for JBS said… “JBS has agreed to...

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31 July 2009
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Author: Europa Press [España]

Intermón Oxfam (IO) calificó hoy de "positiva" la Política de Relación con Pueblos Indígenas de Repsol YPF aunque, en su opinión, deben subsanarse algunos aspectos "si quiere ser verdaderamente efectiva"...La ONG reconoce la importancia de que Repsol...

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28 July 2009

Lush Cosmetics starts protest against palm oil company [UK]

Author: Vicki Foster, News Shopper Online [UK]

[Lush Cosmetics in Bromley High Street] is inviting residents to take part in a protest to help...the Orang Indonesian tribe whose way of life and survival is under threat by increasing palm oil plantations...[An] interactive petition.....

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8 July 2009

Report Urges Forestry Industry to Tackle Conflict with Local People

Author: World Business Council for Sustainable Development

Conflict between companies that profit from forests and local people who depend on them could be tackled by industry-led approaches but too few companies use them, says a report released today by The Forests Dialogue. The report, written for TFD, an...

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24 June 2009
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Author: Lo Actual [Chile]

Un importante impulso a la Educación Superior para Jóvenes Indígenas contempla el nuevo acuerdo…entre Conadi [Corporación Nacional de Desarrollo Indígena] y Codelco Norte… Patricio Cartagena, Gerente de Sustentabilidad de Codelco Norte…aseguró que...

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15 June 2009

Calvert Divests Weyerhaeuser

Author: The Indigenous Portal [press release by Rainforest Action Network, Earth Justice Initiative]

Today Calvert Investments [part of Calvert Group] removed Weyerhaeuser from the Calvert Social Index of sustainable and responsible companies due to Weyerhaeuser’s failure to meet the Index’s standards for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights...[also refers to...

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16 April 2009

Stakeholders to conduct 5th Mining Summit in Caraga [Philippines]

Author: Philippine News Agency (PNA)

Collaborative efforts by public and private stakeholders to ensure sustainable and self-reliant mining communities will be the highlight of the…5th Caraga Mining Summit…Plenary sessions will be held on mining-related local revenue and taxation, as...

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